Just the other day I was thinking about the evolution of my OCD. When I was sans husband and children, I had to have everything in a specific order. I had to do everything in a certain sequence. I had a routine for almost everything. I wasn’t too bad though, right?
But now, 12 years into marriage and 2 little boys later, I have learned to quell most of my OCD tendencies. It took a while for them to break me, but they did it. It all started years ago when my husband got a hold of my pristine 90s CD collection perfectly housed in the 200 CD binder, he unintentonally scratched them up and took them out of alphabetical order. I hated even looking at them after that. They were just wrong. Bye Bye Aaron Hall. Bye Bye Aerosmith. Bye Bye Jodeci. Bye Bye Brian McKnight.
I have had to resign to the fact that a mess will be left on a minute to minute basis and no one but me will care that the mess exists. Instead of immediately cleaning it up, I let it stay there for a while because guess what? Another mess will be added to it approximately 2 minutes later. And guess what? No one will care about that one either. I have decreased my frequency of mess cleaning to about twice a day, which is good for me. I stress out less and the mess still gets cleaned. I have had to convince myself that I am not the only one who can get things done “right”. I have even allowed my 11 year old to wash the dishes and clean his room, although I do straighten up his room while he’s sleeping every night. I don’t fight with the hubby when his head hair is in his sink from shaving, although I probably would if we shared sinks. I let the little one play and make a big mess with the intentions of helping him clean it all up at the end of the day. All of the above is very hard for me. It has made me more patient and has decreased the fights or at least me yelling at everyone about how clean they’re not being. Trying to teach these guys the “clean up as you go” concept is a slow and gradual process. I may start seeing some progess in a few years.
I have found that the key to keeping everyone sane and not ending up in divorce court over a messy home, is to take ownership of that which gets on my nerves. I can’t hold everyone else accountable for how I like to have things. If I want the kitchen to be clean right after my husband cooks (and not 3 hours later), I’ll have to go in there and clean it right away. AND I must not complain about it while I’m doing it or it defeats the purpose owning it. If I want my cabinets to stay organized, I must keep it organized because the men in my household will never care about labels facing front and having the taller items in the back. Not that they don’t care in general, but that’s just not important to them and it’s not my job to make it important to them. I recognize that it’s my crazy rules, so I must treat it as such.
There are still a few things I obsess over and that’s only because I have volunteered myself to be in charge of those things. I do laundry everyday only because I have banned anyone else from touching my washer and dryer. I still have to constantly vacuum everyday because I hate feeling any crumblies on the floor and because no one else likes to vacuum. I put all of our DVDs in alphabetical order only because I convinced everyone that they’re easier to find that way. I like to hand wash the tile floors because I can’t stand the idea of a mop continuously sloshing dirt across the floor. I keep my closet organized by garment type, color, season, and style only because I don’t have to share with anyone else…anymore. The labels in the fridge and kitchen cabinets must face front for the look and convenience. There are probably a thousand other things that I feel I must do in order to satisfy my inner OCD, but it not as bad as it used to be.
Having a house full of boys has been difficult when trying to deal with cleanliness, but I have learned not to obsess as much. And a big plus- my boys help out significantly around the house. But I do have one thing to say- Guys, stop denying you don’t leave pee on the floor around the toilet, that’s not dried lemonade I’m cleaning!
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