Monday, June 24, 2019

Life of A Vacuum - and other clean up tales

 A drama about cleaning your child's room
Written by: M.B.Varville-Rodriguez

 Calvin & Hobbes

I truly feel bad for what we have put our vacuum cleaner through lately.  My children are not of the ordinary, simple, garden variety species.  They create, play, and make messes like nobody's business. I don't know where to begin when I enter their rooms.  Yes, I do expect them to help, but sometimes the room begs for my version of "Mom approved clean."  You know what I'm talking about!

 They look so sweet and incapable of the exploits I share.
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Kids version of cleaning up is as follows:

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Basic surface level only clean up. (The superficial, fake clean.)
 Anything fits into a garbage bag.  No sorting required.  
No need to throw away wrappers, empty containers, or papers.  

It's perfectly acceptable to throw away dirty socks, underwear, & items that have become ripped when you don't want mom to find out. (Even though she already knows when you complain there are no underwear or socks in your room.)
 Mixing of items in a bag is okay.  In fact, mixing wrappers with clothing is ideal.  No time to decide what goes where anyways!
 Small items not easily seen (but able to inflict pain upon impact) are to be left on the carpet.  It's more fun to watch the vacuum wheeze, smoke, and grind to a halt.
 Dirty dishes, glasses with toxic sludge, and dinner plates that won't be missed (according to a child's point of view) might end up in the throw away bag if you can get it out the door quickly. 
 It is assumed that Mom will forgive the nails (toe, finger, and picture hangers), push pins, tacks, screws, and miscellaneous home improvement tools on the floor if she is able to safely extricate them from her feet, hands, and fingers. 
 (Mom chuckles maniacally at the idea of "home improvement" items entering a child's room unaccompanied by a responsible adult.)  Yet, that is exactly where these items magically navigate by none other than "Not Me"  and "I Don't Know."
 Tools find their way to the room, probably out of loyalty to the push pins, nails, and screws in the carpet.
Spare change has an amazing ability to end up in corners, under furniture, and even inside clothes baskets.  

I have a nice jar started toward my future retirement.

 Mom's Version of Clean-Up is as follows:

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 Enter room to assess the damages. This involves looking 
in  the closet too! 

Take your anti-anxiety medication to reduce the heart palpitations and quell that dizzy, nauseated feeling.

 Affix large garbage bag to the door knob. (Throw out 90% of what you find.)

 Begin piles for clothing in the hall or living room, which ever is the nearest place to toss darks/lights/whites/towels, etc...

 Start sorting!  Be prepared for the stench of ass and frustration.
It's best to let your mind wander to your happy place as you scrape gum off the base boards, pull sticky candy from the carpet, and carefully remove nails, push pins, screws, and pennies (Oh, soooo many pennies!) from the floor.

 Assign each item a new "home."  

 Put aside any items that require a "follow up" conversation with your child/children.  (You'll know what I mean when you find it.  No other explanations necessary.)

Leave the clean clothes in a pile for your children to fold and put away.  They at least need to do this!  (Once you have conversations regarding #8, it's unlikely you'll get too much resistance.)

Children old enough to wash their own clothing should do so.  If you're like our family, have the kids carry the laundry to the car and load it for a trip to the laundry mat.  

Have them help with all other aspects of this family adventure once you get there.

Hope these lovely lists help.  
Hope you at least laughed and found comfort 
 in the fact you are not alone.

I'm sure most parents struggle with the clean room dilemma. 
Hope your week is going well and your troubles are limited
 to whether or not your vacuum will survive. 

Shopping Cart inserts for baby! Click picture for link to purchase.…

Wishing all of you a week of adventures,
solutions to your challenges, peace,
and answers to your prayers.
Happy Summer!

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Kindest Wishes,

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Dear Humans on the Road

Dear Humans with whom I share the privilege of driving each day, 
Please accept my apologies for the following comments, 
lightly dusted with sweet sarcasm. Enjoy!

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1. I tend to stop at all red lights prior to turning right. It's not something I made up just to make you irritated while you are on your way to work. I'll assume that the kind gesture you offered as you zoomed past me was a "Hey, girl. How ya doin?" 

2. When there is a shirt load of construction going on as I try to exit my building, it can be difficult to see around the gates, cones, and barricades that have been erected. Additionally, I need to watch out for the students who need to cross the 4 lane road to get to school across from my exit. When I finally see some clearance and have my turn signals on, that is NOT a sign for you to speed up, hug my arse, and honk that I have gotten in your way. (Yes, I intentionally spelled arse that way.)

3. When I need to change lanes to avoid missing my exit, I would appreciate it if you took notice, stopped tailing the cars so closely it is impossible to merge into traffic, and did not take it as a personal challenge to compete with me for road space. I have enough challenges without that extra stress.

4. Pay attention. PLEASE! Get off your cell phones and just...DRIVE! I'm tired of watching out for you as you swerve into my lane. 

Finally, please help me understand how honking at me and showing me your "special" communication finger is making the world better, safer, kinder? 

This post is dedicated to the wonderful people who provided three horn honks and two finger gestures this week. (And it's only Tuesday.)

Now...Go buy something nice for your mamas!

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Art and Science of "Right" Resistance

My days typically begin and end in similar fashion.  I have two sons who are opposite in their ability to process sensory cues, concepts, and behavioral expectations. They often clash as they vie for position and power in their shared room. 

  Here's evidence from one of the peaceful moments I treasure.
When these two are at odds,
it's important to remember it's not 
all stress and trauma.
Bring out the photo books as needed!
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Today my two characters (now ages 12 and 10) decided to argue over who leaves the room in the most disarray. (Disarray sounds so much better than effed up mess.)  

Child #1 "You always leave your clothes everywhere!  Why don't you ever make your bed?

Child #2 "What are you talking about? You leave your stuff all over the apartment!"

Child #1 "I'm tired of cleaning up after you! Make your @&*# bed."

Child #2 "Stop telling me what to do all the time! You're not perfect!"

Me:  "OK it's time to go to school." (Edited to spare you the mom speak that transpired.)

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When I got my 12 year old into the car to drop him off at school, we had this conversation.

Me: "You know, there is a way you can put out that fire before things get so out of control."

12 year old:  "What do you mean, mom? (elevated voice)  Do you know what he said? He's always complaining about something! I'm so tired of it!"

Me: "I know. But at some point one of you is going to have to be okay with letting things go. What if you just told him, ' Okay, I'll pick up my clothes and make my bed. I know it bothers you' ?"

12 year old:  "That's never going to work."

Me:  "You're right. It probably won't work the first time. It may not even work the second or the third time. But if you want things to change for the better, then it has to start somewhere."

Copyright 2018 World of Writer Mom

The issue between my sons is a great example of how many of us, even as adults, have a hard time backing down or admitting someone else may have a valid point.  We get so caught up in wanting to be right and relevant that the nuances of language and interpersonal communication get forgotten.  

Here are a few points to consider:

1.  You have permission to let go of an argument, especially when it begins to affect your personal health and well being. It doesn't make your opinions or views any less valid if you chose to take a break and rethink your position.  Let go of your need to be validated by someone with an opposing statement.

2.  If you realize that another person has a valid point, go ahead and acknowledge that point.  It may open the door and encourage others to do the same for you. Setting up camp is wonderful, but don't overlook the benefits of making your camp more comfortable and welcoming to visitors.  (Metaphor alert.)

3. Admitting you are wrong is actually a very mature skills, and too often we overlook the value of this skill.  It doesn't make you any less of a valued human being. Conversely, admitting fault has the potential for others to realize the same in themselves and create pathways toward communication.  We can all benefit from more ways to reach out and connect with others.

4.  Recognize that how we communicate, when we communicate, and the reasons we want to communicate have an impact on our ability to convey a message.  Consider your timing, strategies, and desired outcomes. Be okay when things do not go as planned with an initial attempt. Change is a process that requires time, patience, and perseverance. 

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There are so many reasons we seek validation as humans. We desire to be acknowledged. We hope our ideas will be accepted. There is an on going quest for that stamp of approval from those in positions of authority.  Learning how to navigate that need for approval is an ever present challenge. If you want to gain valuable insight into acquiring self acceptance skills and figuring out how to communicate your concerns, here are a few articles I found that might be helpful.  


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More Resources to Read
Note: Excerpts taken directly from article in posted links.

"The tendency to look at new evidence in a certain way, that confirms your existing hypothesis and conveniently ignore the facts that clash against your ideologies, has a fancy name in psychology:
Confirmation bias. Even the best of us have fallen for this bias."
* This author does drop a few "F" bombs in the article, so be forewarned.

"There are people whose minds are dead set on “I am right and you are wrong.” They are profiled as ones with big egos and very little empathy, specialists in continually raising disputes, capable craftsman in destabilizing harmony in every way.
Being right is something we all find satisfying, we can’t deny that. It reinforces our self-esteem. But most of us understand that there are limits, we know that it is vital to develop constructive attitudes, a humble outlook, and an empathetic heart capable of appreciating and respecting 
the views of others."
* This author provides stories to illustrate concepts.

"Take a moment and reflect on your relationships at work and at home and ask yourself, "how much does the 'I’m right, you’re wrong' dynamic play out in my everyday interactions?"
Most of us, if we’re honest with ourselves, will find this dynamic a familiar companion in face-to-face conversations, on the phone or in emails and (especially) online. Either unconsciously or consciously, we often find ourselves in situations where we feel we need to be right. And not only do we need to be right, but to be right we need to make the other party be or feel wrong."
*This author discusses our need to feel safe and secure.

I invite you to share your resources, experiences, and strategies here at World of Writer Mom.

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Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend filled 
with challenges, adventures, &
plenty of resources to tackle your goals!

Kindest Regards,
~ Mary