Cleaning Up Life’s Little Messes with 6 Kids

Just so you know, I did receive an O-Cedar EasyWring Spin Mop and Bucket System to facilitate this story about cleaning up life’s little messes, but all opinions, ideas, and photos are entirely my own. #OCedarB2S

Dealing with life's little messes 1

As the mom of six kids, I’ve gotten pretty good at cleaning up life’s little messes. Having the right tools is absolutely paramount to success with cleaning and your sanity! I’m sure you can image that my entire adult life has been full of life’s little messes. Crayons and markers on the walls, nail polish on the carpet, crumbs a plenty, and of course many, many spills on my tiled floors. This mom of six rarely rests, especially during back to school time, because there’s always something to buy, someone to pick up, meals to fix, homework to “help” with, and messes to clean.

dealing with life's little messes

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change my life, or my mom status, for anything, but sometimes it all gets a little overwhelming and that’s why I surround myself with the best tools to get the job done during the busy back-to-school rush. I like a clean house, I really don’t even mind cleaning (actually enjoy it when I have the time), but there are two things that I really don’t like to do in the cleaning department…windows and mopping. Gosh, I hate them both and I’ll do anything to avoid them.

dealing with life's little messes

But when life’s little messes present themselves (almost daily here), mopping is certainly one thing I can’t avoid. On these occasions (have I mentioned how often spills happen?), I pull out my EasyWring Spin Mop and Bucket System and get the job done without all of that nasty mop mess, and I get it done quickly because the bucket system and design of the spin mop make it easy! The exclusive bucket design has a built-in, foot-activated pedal for hands-free wringing, and the mop has a unique design that makes corner cleaning a snap.

dealing with life's little messes

Quickly cleaning up life’s little messes, one spill at a time, just got a little simpler in my house. This no mess, no fuss system is saving this mom’s sanity, and believe me, it needs all of the help it can get!

dealing with life's little messes

Look, all of us moms and dads knew life would be messy once we had kids. It’s one of the tradeoffs for all of the many joys that these mess makers bring to our lives; and sometimes the messes (remind me to tell you about the time Bug made a collage on my kitchen cabinets, all of them, with a Sharpie sometime) can even make us laugh as the years pass. Don’t let life’s little messes get you down. Just arm yourself with the right tools, like this O-Cedar EasyWring Spin Mop and Bucket System, and you, and your house, can sparkle on and stress less! But seriously, who wants to wash my windows?

Dear Step Son, You’re Right, Today You’re an “Equal”

Being a “step” parent is rough. Today, after reading a dissertation of a text from my 18-year-old step son last night, I realized that I don’t treat him as an “equal” to my own kids. Today, everything will change, for him, and I hope he’s happy that he’ll actually finally have to follow rules for the first time in his life.

matt cozumel

Dear 18-year-old step son,

I’m sorry. I read your 500-word text to your dad last night (yes, he showed me, you knew he would) and I can’t say I disagree with you. You’re right. We do NOT treat you as an equal to our “real” kids. You live by different rules. You are treated differently. In fact, you are treated way differently. Thanks for pointing it out so that I don’t have to anymore. You did us all a favor and, thanks to you, your life will change today and you’ll finally be “equal”.

You see, my “real” kids have a lot of rules. They live on a budget (yes, a budget, we’re not made of money). That’s why we have stuff. We work hard, I budget our money, we get stuff. Like that cruise you just went on? Yea, that didn’t pay for itself. I did. With my budgeted savings. You’re welcome, even though you never said thank you.

But back to the inequality.

You aren’t treated as an equal. You’re treated way better than them in fact. You’re treated like a king, actually, and I’m sorry you felt the need to point that out because it’s about to change, for you, today. You’re welcome. I do listen to you even though you think I don’t.

You see, my “real” kids are expected to come home from school daily, right after school, and do their homework, eat dinner when it’s put on the table between 5:00 and 6:00 every night, then to sit as a family before bedtime. You don’t have to do that, right? Sorry, I should have required that of you instead of allowing you to skip school, not do your homework, let you go to the skate park, then come home at whatever time you’d like and eat dinner before (or after) I put it up. I should have put my foot down, as I would have with my “real” children before I allowed you to mess up the kitchen after I cleaned it up. I should have put my foot down when you took those 45 minute showers, twice a day, when I politely asked you not to. I should have, I could have, I will, starting today because I want you to be “equal”.

My “real” kids get exactly three drinks per day. One with breakfast, one with lunch, one with dinner. Sorry the open fountain will be closed for you starting today too, but it’s all in the name of equality. You’re welcome.

And speaking of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, that’s about to be equal too. I did the math, and I spend exactly $3.00 on both of the babies for breakfast and lunch daily, combined. That’s right, a total of $3.00, that’s $1.50 each. They eat breakfast at home (because I make them get up early enough to do that), a Pop Tart or a bowl of cereal. That’s 50 cents a piece. They bring their lunch. Literally, $1.00 each per day for lunch. You’re smart, do the math.

How much do you spend?

FORTY DOLLARS PER WEEK…on breakfast and lunch. Way more than your dad and I spend weekly, together. Sorry we’ve been so unfair to you.

A breakfast burrito costs $2.50. Your coffee costs $1.00. Your double lunch costs $4.oo. Your extra cookies cost $1.00. That’s $8.50 per day. That’s $42.50 per week. Then there’s dinner. That dinner I cook from scratch. All day, every day. I’m sorry we’ve been so unfair. I’m sorry “our” kids have it so much better than you.

I’m here to rectify that. Starting tomorrow, well really Monday morning, you have exactly $20 going into your school account per week. That’s way more than “my” kids get, more than double their combined daily allowance in fact. Consider yourself lucky and thank you for pointing out “your” inequalities. I feel like I’m winning. Anything you want beyond your double lunch, get a JOB.

You can eat breakfast at home like they do. Get up on time. It’s all about equality.

You don’t need coffee and cookies. If you do want them, get a JOB. We’re all equals here…now.

Oh, and the lying. That won’t fly anymore either. If “my” kids lie, they get punished. The end. You do not. You’ve skipped school a total of 23 periods this year (I have letters from the school…stop lying). Kylee wouldn’t be allowed out of her room if she’d done that. I’m sorry I was so unfair to you (her) by fussing at you about that and thinking that perhaps you should be grounded. Shame on me for being so unfair.

Speaking of that job, everyone on the island is hiring. Everyone. Always. Stop coming home (5 months after you were told to get a job – that you were required to have when you lived at “home”) saying no one is hiring. I could get a new job tomorrow morning. So can you. This time, all sarcasm aside, I’m sorry I’ve been so lenient and haven’t held you to the standards that I hold “my” children to. GET A JOB.

So, in summation, we’re finally all “equal”. You get $20 for food at school this week, and every week thereafter, which is more than double what “my” kids get, combined. Use is wisely. If you don’t like that, we have breakfast at home and lunches you can bring. You’re welcome. You need to get a job for the extras. Again, jobs are plentiful here on the island. Look, you’ll see. My “real” older children were held to this standard when they lived here and they got them within two days, not six months. You’re welcome for the extra time…months…you were afforded. I’m sorry we have rules (I’m not), I’m sorry that I will now hold you to their rules (I am not).

Thank you for pointing out the inequalities around here. Thank you for telling your dad. Thanks for the money and aggravation savings. Thank you for the dissertation via text. You saved me a lot of words. I appreciate you.

With love,

Your “all about equality” step mom,

1st Day of School 2015: The Making of a Meltdown

The first day of school is a joyous occasion for many, a new year of learning and making new friends. But in our house, it’s often the making of a meltdown. I’m never sure who is going to breakdown, be it me or one of the kids, but I know it’s bound to happen. How do you deal with a childhood meltdown? Here’s our story of the first day of school 2015!

The first day of school: The Making of a Meltdown

The first day of school around our house is a pretty big deal. We bend the rules significantly during the summer months and truly give the babies a break. It’s always been that way in our house, with all 6 kids, but possibly more with the youngest two for obvious reasons (hello, I’m not ready to let go of two more AND I know how quickly it passes). But with that said, when school time rolls around, specifically the day before, it gets real up in here. The day before is chaotic at best, scrambling around to get last-minute supplies ready, lunches made, uniforms laid out, dinner on the table on time, BED TIME…that kind of thing. I anticipate the meltdown. I never quite know who is going to have it in the morning, whether it be me or one of the kids or a combination of both, but it’s sure to happen. For us, a high-strung family, the first day of school is always the making of a meltdown. 

The first day of school 2015 actually started out lovely. Everyone up on time. Lunches made. Breakfast on the table. Supplies at the door. Smiles on our faces. Was this going to be the first year without a major meltdown? My hopes were high. We got out the door in more than plenty of time, stopped to take the obligatory “by the door” first day of school photo, and off we went, still smiling and in great moods, just the babies and I.

How stressful is the first day of school at your house?

Got to school and the kids seemed happy, eager almost. Oh no, are my babies growing up? They don’t need me anymore. The what? Maybe it was my year for another meltdown. Fingers crossed, we were ready.

Major meltdowns and the first day of school
Seriously, it was all going so well, I was sure that this was going to be the best first day of school ever!

Were you ready for the first day of school?

We got there early as we typically do (if you really knew me, you’d find this quite surprising…possibly humorous) so we headed to the gym to meet up with old friends and wait for the start of a new year of learning. Third and first grade, y’all. When did they grow up? Stop that! Bub, first grade check in and line up…check!

Happy 3rd graders ready for school

As I looked over at my “big” girl (she tends to meltdown as much as her momma does) and saw her smiling face after she told me that I didn’t need to walk her to class this year *sigh* because she “had this” and I should take care of Bubby since he’s only in first grade, I was both happy and sad to let go all at the same time. I was beginning to believe the meltdown would belong to me this year. But Kylee Bug was happy, Bubby was happy, I “had this” too.

First day of first grade 2015

Best year EV-AH! Second year of school and this little man was a born natural. He blends in so well, he’s happy to reunite with his BFF, and he’s just eager to learn. He truly “has this“. Bittersweet, but I love seeing him thrive and I thought I’d get out unscathed.

1st day of school was a success

Sat him down, he went right to work, intent on being the next big thing because he’s going to learn and he’ll go places. I was going to get out without a tear. No tears. No meltdowns. It was like the perfect morning.

Until…I turned around to walk out. Standing just behind me, in the back of Bubby’s room, was my Bug. Full of tears, trembling, and sweating. She had gone to her classroom, she had remembered her horrible experience last year at school, she’d had a meltdown.

My 3rd grader had a meltdown. How do you cope with the first day of school?

I wasn’t in the room with her when it hit her, so she found me, exactly where she knew I’d be. Still settling her little brother in, as I would have her had she let me in the first place. I said one last goodbye to Bubby, who hardly noticed I was still in the room, and then my baby girl and I walked, hand in hand, toward her classroom while she sobbed and I tried to console her. As a mom, that’s brutal. It’s the worst kind of meltdown. I’d rather have a meltdown any day than to watch any one of my children have one. It was a long walk down the hall.

It was very hard to walk her down that hall while she trembled and I fought back tears. I couldn’t let her see my tears.

We made it to her classroom (felt like 30 minutes), and I tried to tell her things would be different this year. Her teacher is awesome (so hopeful) and she’s an amazing girl that needs to learn incredible things. Her friends were waiting. They looked almost as concerned as I was. But the sobbing, the trembling, and the sweating continued. That meltdown was real, y’all, and I felt helpless.

I had her call her daddy because he always makes her feel better. Didn’t work.

I talked to her, her teacher, and her BFF once more. Didn’t work. Best bet was to leave with a big hug. She’d be better. She’d be fine. She’s tough. My little hot mess is always fine. But she wasn’t, and at that point, neither was I.

Against my (over doting parent) better judgement, I walked away. After all of these years, I know it’s the right thing to do. It hurt. She ran out of the room, she chased me down the hallway, she BEGGED me to take her home.

I walked her back to her room, told her I loved her, and left as I should have done. I left sad, dry eyed, but trembling…just like my baby girl. Because I should have. Because I had to. Because she WILL have a better year. She’s going to have an amazing year.

Upon later checkin, her tears dried up in about 10 minutes. Oddly enough, I think I took them from her because when I got to my car, I had a meltdown. I sat there, I cried, I trembled, and I sweat for 15 full minutes before I could regain my composure and drive home.

She’s fine now, I didn’t come away unscathed. I’ve been a parent for 25 full years and it just never gets easy. It’s always worth it, but it’s never easy.

This morning? I anticipated a meltdown, I did everything possible to avoid the first day of school meltdown, we were doing so well.

This morning? Another meltdown happened, for no reason at all, but for so many reasons. I’m ready to tuck another (two actually) meltdown under my belt and have a GREAT school year. Who’s with me? I can’t be the only one, we can’t be the only family, that goes through this.

I see other meltdowns on the first day of school and I always feel the parent’s pain, the kid’s pain. If this happens to you, how do you deal with the meltdowns and HOW do you come away feeling OK? Because, honestly, I never feel totally OK again after one of my kids loses it!