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On page 6 of The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, Tracy Hogg talks of a two year old girl she met. She describes the girl as particular and afraid of playing with other children because her mother was too clean.
This story comes out as she is talking about the need to be a PC parent.
Okay, so here is my stream of consciousness that happened after reading that.
I am a clean person. Hogg describes this toddler’s house as not looking like a toddler even lived there, which you couldn’t say of my house today, but definitely could have back when it was just Brayden around (there is something about three children that really takes up your time 🙂 ). My mom would even comment that it was too clean. She was concerned Brayden would develop allergies because he wasn’t being exposed to dirt enough.
Which leads me to thinking about my upbringing. My cleanliness is simply ingrained in me. It is who I am. My mom is not a particular house keeper and never has been. I have determined that it is a good thing I was raised by her. If I had been raised by a particular house keeper, I probably would be a little bit…crazy…about a clean house.
Now I am back to the Hogg’s story. What was Brayden like? What is he like?
Admittedly, he did not and does not getting dirty hands if he is inside. The first time we did a shaving cream activity, Kaitlyn happily played away with the dirty hands while Brayden played for a bit then wanted to stop because he didn’t like his hands dirty. If he is outside, however, he doesn’t mind dirty hands.
He is very clean and has always been one to clean up after himself. Even at the end of roomtime as a two year old, he would clean up just before I went in to get him.
Then came Kaitlyn. She doesn’t mind messy hands at all. She does, however, want her room clean before she can sleep. She doesn’t mind making huge messes, but she doesn’t want to sleep in one.
And how about McKenna? She is a nice mixture of both. She loves making messes, but is also very obsessive about cleaning up messes. She doesn’t mind a dirty hand…even in the grossest of situations…ew.
My children all want their hands clean before they leave the table. I think that is great.
So while my little sister would (and does) describe me as OCD, have I created OCD children?
No. I don’t think so.
And this brings me along back to Hogg’s point. The point is to find some balance and allow for messiness to happen. How do I do that?
I have certain standards in the home, like cleaning your hands after a meal. I don’t want sticky fingers going through the house. We also clean up our messes at the end of the day. I also try to teach them to not make huge messes–try to clean up something before moving on to something completely new.
But we also have some leniencies. For example, notice I said that we clean up messes at the end of the day. I used to stay on top of messes all day long, but with three kids, I can’t do that unless I clean all day long. So we have one time of day we clean up toy messes, and that is before bed. This makes everyone happier 🙂
I am also rather lax outside. I plan on children getting dirty outside. I expect dirt, sand, and grass stains. That is okay. I know better than to have them play in clothes I would feel sad about getting stained. I also have done some reading and testing for getting stains out :).
We go camping and get ridiculously, ridiculously dirt.
I guess in general, I am not very particular outside. We were petting some baby goats at a local farm. McKenna was feeding the goats a cob of corn. She would then try to take a bite herself and go back to sharing with the goats. My sister-in-law was totally grossed out and couldn’t believe I would let her do that, but it really didn’t bother me. So I have my things (like animals) that I let slide more than a lot of people would.
So, at the end of this stream-of-consciousness post, the point is to try to keep things balanced so your child can be clean and organized as necessary, and also so your child can be relaxed and willing to live and try new things.
And I also have a point of my own. Try to not stress out a lot over this. I think children are sent to the parents they are sent to for a reason. Like I said, I think it would have been bad news for me to have been raised by a particular mother. But that doesn’t mean it is bad news for my kids; I am their mother for a reason. So trust in yourself and who you are.
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