Let me start by saying this is not a complaint in any way. It is more a statement of things that happened today in case some other parents reading might have this same struggle.
I decided today since it was pouring rain outside that the rooms would be cleaned with my help. Now both my kids struggle with organizational skills, planning and sometimes how their actions can have consequences. Yes it is part of their disabilities and I know this which is why I do not get overly upset and on occasion agree to help them clean up their disastrous rooms.
I started with N’s room because it actually smelled. N has a serious issue with food and stealing. Yes I do make regular checks on her room but of course she is also pretty good at hiding things. N had actually had a bunch of really moldy objects in her garbage and mold behind her night stand. Ugg it smells gross so I have N clean with bleach wipes to kill the mold. I have her collect up the dirty dishes, empty bottles and and garbage. She has to wash the dishes, take out the garbage, sweep her floor, clean the clothes, fold them and put them all away. In the past I have done a lot of this but it does not seem to work so maybe if she has to struggle with it she will think more about it. I find a bunch of stolen food most of which had been eaten. I say nothing, I get it kids steal food when under stress and this COVID crisis is a source of stress.
When it is all said and done, some 2 hours later, I asked her how it felt to have the room clean for real. She agreed it smelled better but said she was tired from all the work. I asked what she might do to prevent having to do this much work again and she said “keep it cleaner”. Well yes and stop stealing food and then leaving it to rot in your room. Ugg no I don’t say that but boy did I think it. I reminded her that stealing food in my home is a no no and needed to stop. I know it won’t but feel like she might need the reminder. She has gained a ton of weight as of late so I have also ordered several locks for the cabinets and refrigerator. I am pretty sure she cannot help herself to some extent so I do need to take additional steps.
Next up is M2 and her room is just a HUGE freaking mess. I mean it looks like a crime scene and tornado all in one. I have asked for a month to have her clean it and she has not and appears to refuse to do it. It dawned on me she might be overwhelmed by such a mess. In fairness her and her friend had made the mess together and now the friend is away for a bit due to a family situation so M2 was left as it was and unable to clean because she has no idea where to start or what to do. Now the good news is that M2 typically does not hoard food but unfortunately becomes overwhelmed when faced with a situation that is clearly out of control.
We spent another 2 hours cleaning, organizing and figuring out how M2 could maintain it. We talked about how it cannot be messed up again like this because her friend did not help clean it and left it for her to deal with (not intentionally). M2 organized her stuff and I followed her lead, she will have to maintain it. It took so long because M2 has the hardest time deciding what to do with the stuff. I made some suggestions, such as all the drawing, coloring and erasers can go in one bin. All her folders, journals and binders can go on a shelf. Hygiene items go on the top of dresser or shelf where she could see it to remember to use it. We piled dirty clothes up and of course I started to wash it. Eventually we went through what could be given away and what needed to be put away. M2 helped fold the clothes and put them away in drawers this time.
While I need a mask to clean up N’s room I need a crap load of patience for M2. Finally we get it mostly done and I needed a break. The Baby had been a good sport up to this point but she was tantruming now and demanding some attention and yep I get it so I went to be with her. M2 helped by making dinner and we did all eat dinner together. I am exhausted, I need a shower in the worst way and yet the baby needs some attention.
Meanwhile the washer and dryer have been going for about 7 hours with all the freaking dirty clothes, sheets and comforters. I talk calmly to both about how I spent time today cleaning up messes I had not made. I asked them both if I complained when I was doing it and they said no. I pointed out that I expected their help around the house in return and without complaints as nothing I ask them to do takes 2 hours. I remind them that only people who work get breaks so I did not want to hear any more excuses about why they could not help. I also reminded them that summer break only means they don’t have school work but they do have home responsibilities such as cleaning rooms, helping with the housework and cooking dinner from time to time.
I get it I have kids with disabilities and have to remind them about many different things. They both need something concrete, not just help around the house but take out the garbage, sweep the floors and cook meals. One gets overwhelmed with chaos. One has stealing and food issues. I need to help both but NOT get angry and NOT hold it against them. I know to some extent they cannot help it and it is MY job to help them both learn and of course get the job done. I also have to put some things in place so that I don’t go through a crap load of food in a week.
So when all is said and done one room is clean and one is mostly done. All the laundry is done and folded. Most of the laundry is put away. I have recovered most of my plates (still missing 2), all of my cups, all my forks and more water bottles then any of us can use. Now where all the spoons went is still a mystery but oh well at least most of the stuff is back LOL. I feel accomplished but tired. I hope the kids feel better about getting it done and even though they are in their rooms now doing whatever they did put in a good days work.
Yes I had a wine cooler tonight, after all this craziness I am pretty sure I earned it.