The other night when Ryan and I were cleaning up after we put the kids in bed, I happened to walk in on Ryan - lifting up the ottoman just enough to shove a bunch of toys under it to "clean up" the living room. As he put it down, he looked up, saw me standing over him with raised eyebrows, and attempted an innocent, "What??" Which was met by an incredulous, "Are you KIDDING me??"
I have now decided I am looking forward to the time when these boys are old enough to understand scrubbing down the bathroom faucets with a toothbrush, the concept of everything having it's place, closing a drawer with everything pushed in, and what it really means when I say clean up. And I'll pull the old BYU resident assistant cleaning checks on them. Until this place shines like the top of the Chrysler building... (ok, ok.) But I'm going to make sure they understand the meaning of doing something and doing it well. (Which, I am quite certain Ryan believes in every area that involves, um, work.)
But this brings me to my next point: my nemesis. Why is bedtime and the cleanup routine so doggone awful? Why do I dread that time every day? What can I do to make it more bearable? I've tried a few things lately - like starting dinner in the afternoon, or while the kids nap. I've tried (sob) weaning myself from my naps so I can get stuff done during the afternoon so things will go more smoothly at bedtime. I should even probably admit to the fact that my kids don't even wake up that early and I usually get to sleep in. I'm trying to start using that time to get my rear end out of bed and exercise. Baby steps.
But the evening usually goes like this: I'm making dinner, the kids are destroying the house, Ryan gets home, we eat, we give the kids baths and get them ready for bed (which is such a process), wrestle the babies (and I mean wrestle, chase, curse and whatever else you do to get a one year old to hold still for what should take 60 seconds while you diaper and dress them), fight the tooth-brushing, put the babies in bed only to listen to them scream and bang on the walls for the next half hour until they finally give up, while we crash on the couch and survey the damage. Dirty dishes, food on the floor, food still out from cooking, three high chairs smeared in food, clothes out everywhere that we took off before baths, dirty diapers waiting to go out to the garbage, mail to go through, laundry to do, an elliptical machine reminding me that I still haven't exercised because of course I didn't get up early, and every toy in the house scattered over every inch of floor. Sigh. We're so tired and have so little energy to tackle any of this, and we cringe knowing that once again we're kissing goodbye to any amount of down-time we thought we might have before we crash for the night.
So really? What works? I realize I need to start making Cash more responsible for cleaning up. We're usually so anxious to be done with the kids that we just want them in bed. And having him clean up usually leads him to just playing with more things as he's attempting to help pick them up...which leads to nagging...which I just don't have the energy for so I say let's just throw them in bed and do it ourselves. So yes, I think I just need to stick to it and make him help. Like I said, trying to get dinner started in the afternoon seemed like a good idea, just not always possible. Is it just like this for everyone? Or do I just wait it out, and know that when my kids are older and more capable I will feel less loathing for bedtime?
(And I should mention that yes, I feel guilty that this is what my hard-working husband comes home to every night, and I realize I am lucky that he helps out so much!)