With this kind of post, there is a tendency to see it as a pity post or complaining. that is not the intent. With issues like OCD and ADHD along with others, I think transparency is very important. Part of the difficulties of being neurodiverse in these ways is feeling like you are alone. I think talking about the things that are difficult for us are important.
I love a clean house. A clean car. A clean yard. You get the picture. I really like things clean. I actually don’t mind cleaning. It helps me to destress.
Having kids in general challenges that. There is a certain level of mess in between cleanings that you just have to learn to live with or you are constantly cleaning all day, doing nothing else.
When the kids were younger, it was manageable to keep things clean. I had a system. I would clean at night time and return everything to its place. If needed, I’d pick up a little during the day. I made sure that everything had a place and then it was easy to clean up. I got a roomba and that helped with the floors.
But then E got older annd learned to get into things. He loves food, and he loves making messes. He craves the sensory aspect of smearing things. (Not just food if you catch my drift.) We lock up our cupboards. Lock up the cabinets, lock the rooms he is not in, but he still manages.
I cannot watch E every second and so I have had to learn to be okay with his messes. His trails of crumbs. His getting into my purse and tracking things out. Turning on the water. Taking things off bookshelves. It is like having a perpetual two year old but with the intelligence of an 8 year old in figuring out how to do things. He has the emotional age of 2-3 and the intelligence of an 8 year old.
He is a smart boy and sometimes when I am not looking, if I have the cabinet open to get dinner ready or something else, he will grab food coloring or crystal light packets. Something. And hide it for later. Then when I leave the room, I come back to red floors and walls. There are certain things that we stop buying, but on the other hand, there are certain things that I do want to have on hand. Crystal light helps him to drink more fluids.
We use lockboxes for keys ever since he stole my keys once and started the car and locked us out. (That’s a story for another day)
He has discovered a fondness for art and drawing. He has also discovered that his preferred medium is my walls. It’s easy to say, lock up anything that writes, but harder to do. Especially when you have a 10 year old who might leave something out for homework or forget to lock her room. Or is playing with E in her room and he grabs a marker and hides it.
I have learned that if E wants to do something he will find a way to do it. I try to then simulate the desired experience in a controlled environment. Like having E help me bake a cake, however he desires his independence and wants to do these things alone.
With the constant cleaning up after E, some things can wait till night, while others like sticky or wet things can’t, I don’t have time to do other things that need it. The car, my room, laundry, bathrooms. Some of the things I can hire a cleaning lady for, but others are more difficult.
Learning to live with this mess has been very difficult for me. In the past, cleaning is how I maintained a visage of control. It is my outlet, and it is my OCD. Without it, I don’t know how to cope.
I don’t judge other people on the cleanliness of their houses. I don’t even notice it. But mine, hugely.
I will create organization plans and schedules, how to keep on top of things. Those work for a little while. But then I get sick or am out of town, and things go downhill again, and I have to make up for it.
I wish I did not care about the cleanliness of my house. I wish I could let it go. I am trying, but old coping skills are hard to break.
With ADHD, there is a lot of all or nothing thinking. Like either it is all clean or not at all. Once my room starts to get messy, I think whatever, and then am not careful about putting things away.
I like to have time with my kids and I don’t want to pass on unhealthy habits or have A afraid to make messes, so I am learning to let things go and be okay with something level of mess.
I tell myself that there are more important things than a perfectly clean house.
So in the mean time, until I find that happy medium… Don’t judge me for dirty baseboards and messy room.
TLDR; I I hate messes but am learning to deal with them and not be a control freak.
What do you all struggle with? The hardest thing for you to let go?