Cleaning & Establishing Routines

So, now that I’m feeling more like my old self, I’m more . . . . interested in making my place livable: cleaning, getting rid of trash, organizing.

When I lived alone, before C was born, I was good at this. When C was small, especially during the time that it was just the two of us, I was good at this.

But for most of the time C remembers, most of her growing up time, I wasn’t. I would ignore things until they were totally out of hand and then do just what I needed to do to get by.

Now she’s almost 15, and she doesn’t know how to establish these routines and it’s all my fault. I keep comparing her life to mine at her age. I had a chore list, with something to be done every day before mom came home from work, plus dishes daily, and most days, cooking dinner, too.

If things weren’t done on the right day, or not done to Bill’s satisfaction when he came home at midnight, I would be dragged out of bed to complete the task properly. Ok, this only happened a couple of times, but it was enough for me to know he really meant it.

Housework was a constant source of argument between us, almost as long as I can remember.

There was a point, when we lived in this white house on a quiet suburban street (my favorite place we ever lived, and I never got over us leaving that place), when my mom worked on Saturday mornings, and Bill and I were alone. I was about 6 or 7.

I wasn’t allowed to watch the Saturday morning cartoons or anything until we were done cleaning. We hung laundry on a clothing line outside, swept and mopped the hardwood floors, I had to clean my room and make my bed.

Then he’d make lunch. Since he didn’t usually make the food in the house, he didn’t know my preferences and would often make something I didn’t really like. My clearest memory was tuna sandwiches with tomato soup. I don’t like tomato soup. He would make me eat it anyway. And he’d have this silly polka music on the little transistor radio in the kitchen. Whenever I eat tuna sandwiches on soft white bread, I’m right back in that hideous orange kitchen. Hmmm, maybe that’s why I prefer to eat it on toast?

Wow, this post didn’t go where I originally thought.

Anyway, I resented the routines established by someone else imposed on me. I fought against it for my whold childhood and teen years.

I’ve allowed my kid to grow up without any sense of these routines. I’m horribly embarrassed by this.

Now that I’m feeling like my old self, I’m wanting the . . . comfort of those routines. I want a clean house. I want things done in a timely way. But it’s hard. It’s hard to make myself do it, but I’m starting to.

The problem is that I’m upset C isn’t jumping enthusiastically on the bandwagon. I know this is not rational. It’s my fault she doesn’t know these things. But I get upset when she doesn’t jump up to help out when I’m doing something.

So, I’m trying to enforce a “15 minutes a day” rule for both of us. I hope this helps us both get better about this.

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