Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

This is what I have to repeat to myself. It’s my mantra, every time I walk by her bedroom, my bedroom, the living room… toys EVERYWHERE. Clothes everywhere, because my little diva has multiple outfit changes in a day. She also likes to “fold” her own laundry that I’ve already carefully organized. There is always crap everywhere. And some days I literally can’t worry about cleaning it up. So it’s not mess, right?

So instead, I tell myself what fun Hallie had today.

It sounds ridiculous, but it works for me. Otherwise, I get all sorts of stressed out thinking about everything I have to clean. It can be overwhelming when I’ve already got a long list of things to-do, but somehow putting a positive spin on it makes it easier.

I also ask Hallie to clean the “fun” with me.

Towards the end of the day, Hallie and I talk about what fun we had. We talk about all the coloring we did, and then we put away the crayons. We talk about everything she cooked while I worked, so we name each plastic food as she puts it in her grocery cart. We name the colors of the blocks as we put them back in the bag for tomorrow’s building adventure.

Sometimes, I just shut the door.

Although I make every effort to give Hallie a clean canvas to destroy (or create?) each day, there are days where the to-do list was too long, and I just don’t care. I simply tell myself what a fun time Hallie had today, and how we will just worry about it tomorrow. It’s not going to matter if her room is clean every day. It’s not going to matter if the laundry is folded. And it’s really easy to just close the door.

What does matter is when I choose to read my daughter a few extra stories before bed instead of worrying about the clean-up. We decide a dance party is more fun than stacking books neatly, or perhaps we need to draw just one more picture without worrying about putting crayons away.

Even Hallie will walk around and claim what a mess she’s made, which is a little funny and slightly sadistic on her part. Regardless, I point out to her how much fun she has had instead, and that we will clean it later. Later sometimes means the same day, and sometimes it means the weekend. I’m teaching her good habits, but I’m also teaching her that the time we spend together is more important than anything else.