I am AJ, Mother of Trash Pandas

Last night I had a conversation with my children in which I called them trash pandas and highlighted how they treat our apartment as if they live in a dumpster. I informed them that we’re going to be enacting some new standards for cleaning, and pointed out some specific problems that they’d been contributing to:

Not throwing away trash

–all four will leave used bandaids wherever they remove them (SO FUCKING GROSS)

–daughter that was commended by her school for helping clean the lunch room just drops her wrappers on the floor when at home

–oldest son leaves used kleenex around

–all four simply fail to use trash cans and leave misc. trash around

Disposing of waste in the wrong receptacles

–lizard poop in the boys’ trash can, where it makes the whole bedroom smell

–lizard poop in my bathroom trash can, where it makes the whole bathroom smell

Leaving wet towels on the floor

Failing to wash hands and getting grimy hand prints on the walls and doorways

Getting grimy footprints in doorways from trying to shimmy up the sides of said doorways

Refusing to rinse dish cloths and place them in the laundry, until a pile of dish cloths full of food and mildew are stashed around the sink

Leaving a billion small toys on the floors all over the entire apartment

Tracking dirt onto the carpet

That was just a start. I never wanted to be a hardass mom or a nag, but asking them calmly has so far not produced results – so, now I’m going to undertake what I’m thinking of as a short term project to train my children in the art of caring for their home environment.

We’re enacting a 15 minute bedroom cleaning time every evening. What remains on the floor after 15 minutes will be confiscated, and they may have to ransom their possessions using their allowance.

Shoes have to be removed at the entry way. Hands have to be washed whenever they come home, and any time they’ve been handling anything greasy or dirty. (We have TRIED to get them to care more about hygiene, but so far we’re lucky to have achieved the success of getting them to wash their hands after using the toilet.)

Supposedly it takes 6-8 weeks to establish a habit, so I’m going to think of this as a short term project in order to make it seem more manageable. I’m going to start now, at our current location, so that I can try to have these habits established BEFORE we get to our new apartment.

When I was a child I disliked cluttered, filthy environments, to the point I disliked going to my maternal grandparents’ house, and the house of a family we were friends with. Apparently my children did not inherit my innate appreciation for order and relative cleanliness. Hopefully I can gift it to them this summer.

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