Someday my children will be adults or close enough, and I have no doubt that they will maintain a lovely, spotless home. This will either be because they do not yet have children, keep a maid, or run a tight shift of sanitary misery in their family.
OR it will be due to the thousands upon thousands of times in a row that I told them to clear dishes, put away shoes, and pick up toys and dirty clothes as they were growing up.
Apparently, parents must tell their children these things thousands – perhaps millions - of times for the kids to finally form good, cleanly habits. Someone should research exactly how long it takes, so we parents can better prepare for the frustration. Then we can compassionately intone, “Oh I understand, honey. I have to tell you at least 2,483,210 more times before you can finally learn to do it on your own, but I still want you to clear that cereal bowl. ”
Or perhaps, quite simply, our admonishments will only stick after they have left our homes, entered their own spaces, and finally decided that they care to live in decent, socially-acceptable conditions.
But, I assure you, all that cleanliness will go to pot when I come to visit my mature children for three weeks every year.
I will pointedly leave my dinner dishes on the table every night, deposit my stinky knee-highs wherever I please and – while visiting our sons -strongly encourage their dad to miss the toilet when he pees. Every single time.
That is called sweet revenge, and I’m looking forward to it.
Each week as I gaze upon the yellow puddles at the back and bottom of the guest commode, my gripes fester as I recall my boys’ cries of, “It wasn’t me! It’s him. Really!”, as they point toward their brother.
Each evening post-bedtime and every morning after school drop-off, I survey all the littered clothing and errant dishes and sticky surfaces, and I contemplate a future reversal of roles.
I think of my children asking me sweetly, as I have surely asked of them all these years, to please clear my dishes and put my smelly footwear in a hamper and ask their father not to make such a mess of the restroom. Then I dream of the selective hearing I will have, the dumb stares of incomprehension I will turn their way, and the many tired answers – after their fifth or sixth time of asking – I will give of, “Oh, I forgot.”
Am I a bitter mother? Oh, no! I love my little Punky Pants, each and every one of them. But if it weren’t for their handmade cards and notes of appreciation, insane ability to make me laugh and smile, and the fact that they do sometimes pick up dog poop, I would have given them notice years ago for not pulling their weight around here.
As it is, I must look to my revenge.