Do you remember when you were a kid and your parents would do things you didn’t like, and they’d say “some day you’ll do this to your own kids”? Yeah, that ship has come and docked.
My dad is a neat freak. I’ve told him plenty of times that I think he has some OCD issues. He’s always blamed this on his time in the Navy. Having to keep quarters clean and inspection ready. I hated to clean the house when he was home. You know, there is a difference between Saturday morning cleaning and spring cleaning, but to my dad there was no difference….you better dust the entire door frame and moldings throughout each week. If you can’t reach, stand on a chair. If he ever knew sometimes mom dusted without the Pledge….
Well, when I was a kid and my room was messy, as it inevitably always was, he would say I had to have it clean by the time he got home from work the next day. So I basically had that evening to get stuff done. He got home from work before I got home from school.
If my room wasn’t clean to his standards, he would make his statement, loud and crystal clear. Everything would be removed from my room. My drawers would be empty. My closet would be empty. If he was angry enough, perhaps my clothes would be flung out my bedroom window and laying on the lawn…at this step my mom would intervene.
I’d then have the task of cleaning it all up. I would guess by many of today’s parenting standards, this would be considered over the top. I would have to say, I disagree. Out of my own desperation, I’ve employed some of these methods myself. Minus throwing stuff out the window.
Last year there was an incident where something one of the kids needed was missing. There was little time to find it. There room was a disaster, a category 5 hurricane level disaster. There wasn’t even paths to walk. At that moment I understood what irritation my messy room had caused him [dad]. I felt like Patrick Dempsey in Sweet Home Alabama when Reese Witherspoon left him at the alter, when he said “that’s what this feels like…”. My reaction was….my dad’s. Everything was overturned. Drawers were emptied. Closets were emptied. Beds were stripped. Every article of clothing went through the washer before being put away properly. And I most certainly didn’t help clean any of it up.
So now, occasionally, I ask the kids, “are your drawers inspection ready” as their warning. And they will fix them because they know an inspection is coming, and if items aren’t placed in their drawers neatly, they will be emptied so they can be folded and put away properly.
I wonder if they will follow suit with their own children someday.