My house is a disaster, yet again - Monday's are always the worst because it's after Dave's been home for the weekend and all routine goes out the door to spend the greatest amount of time with Daddy. I look around, and granted there are a COUPLE of messes due to me (like my gym shoes out and my jacket draped over the chair) but the mass of the disaster is due to our little tax exemptions.
In my futile mind I think, "If you make it, you clean it."
Apparently, I am incorrect in my logic since reality at my home is, "If you make it, Mom will clean it."
So, this is how it typically goes - regardless of what clever idea or strategy I have up my sleeve, it always ends up here:
"YOU MADE THIS MESS! CLEAN IT! I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO CLEAN UP YOUR MESS! (please be aware that this is after at least thirty minutes of trying to persuade my children that cleaning will better their lives and they may become president if they know how to clean their home...they don't buy it either)"
"But you are our mommy, and this mess is too deep and too high for us to clean. Maybe the Cat in the Hat could help us clean."
"Ya cute, but the Cat in the Hat is pretend, and your little hands need to start picking up. Besides, why is it always this messy?"
"Because we love to play. We love to have fun with each other. We are all best friends. Isn't that good, Mommy?"
"Well, yes it's good - but it would be even better if you could love each other, play and be best friends in a clean home."
"It's just too much. Will you please help us? (Which let me translate for you - Will you please do it ALL while we follow you and make a mess in your trail?)
"I AM HELPING - I AM DOING IT ALL!"
"Well, you are our mommy, and you love us."
So, here's my debacle. What is a reasonable expectation for four year olds when it comes to cleaning? I don't feel like I'm asking them to do anything unreasonable by picking up all their messes. But perhaps I am.
Perhaps, in many areas I have unrealistic expectations with my kids.
We all know (whether or not we actually do this, who knows) that unrealistic expectations in marriage is a relationship killer. If I expected my husband to get me a card and roses and perhaps a nice gift for every meaningful event during the year, I would be thoroughly let down all year long (um, Dave...if you are reading this - I have officially put it in writing, please refer to this post on Valentines. Moving on...) So, in my immense maturity, I have come to understand that it's just not likely and to try as hard as I can to be grateful that my hubby is coming home to me after working for me all day to love me and our kids. I suppose that should be enough, but I digress...
With unrealistic expectations, their is constant frustration and struggle and hurt feelings and even anger. With unmet expectations, a disconnect can happen and a thought of, "You don't meet my needs," can creep in.
So, what about those expectations with kids?
I admit, I have no expectations for Will. He's the baby. Ya, ya, I know he's almost a year and a half but he's my baby so I tend to treat him like he's a helpless infant. I know this will get me in trouble later, but lay off people...But at 16 months, he seems like a baby. At 16 months with the twins, I was about to have Lily and they seemed so much bigger. They seemed so much older. I think I required more of them, definitely more of them than Will and perhaps even Lily.
Why is that? Do I expect them to act like 4 year olds, or do I expect them to act like peers and get frustrated when they act like children?
Well, I would like input people. Do you think you expect what is age appropriate from your children? Or do you secretly expect maturity out of your kids, and get disappointed when your expectations aren't met?
I would like to say I am the former, but the more I really put the magnifying glass up to the issues we face daily, I must admit that I am the latter.
Ok, off to clean...again.