No really, it's that simple. I can't tell you how many times per day I say that sentence out loud. I try to stay on top of the mess. Or to quote Homer Simpson, I "try to try." But like Sisyphus with his boulder, I "clean" my house repeatedly only to watch it descend into entropy again in under six hours. I put "clean" in quotes, because I'm really not a neat person. In fact, I have a pretty high tolerance for mess. But even my lengthy rope has an end. That end generally comes when the state of my kids' bedrooms rivals an archaeological dig; the sink is brimming with visible crusts of bread and other offal; two full loads of clean laundry await "folding," with another load each in the washer/dryer; and the bathroom looks like a Superfund site courtesy of Colgate.
It's at this point that I begin to silently ask myself a series of self-persecuting questions: Why do we have so much shit? Where did it all come from? Does its very existence make me a terrible person? How can we get rid of it? Can we burn it? Where can we burn it? Why are my children animals? Why do they never listen to me? Why can't I just clean the bathroom at night instead of watching Forensic Files and eating ice cream on the couch? Why can't I make my kids clean their rooms? Why won't they pick up their shit no matter how hard I try to make them? Why am I such a bad parent? Why do they not, as Eric Cartman would say, respect my authoritah?! What kind of citizens will they become? Was I like this as a child? Will they live in abject squalor their entire lives and contract tuberculosis as a result? Will they ever respect anything or anyone in the whole entire universe? Will they do hard time in a maximum-security federal prison...?
Next, my mental pendulum swings back wildly from delusional self-persecution to sanctimonious self-justification: It's okay! I'm completely awesome! My kids are completely awesome! There are more important ways to spend our time! Let's pick some other battle--a real one! One that matters! Cleaning is for people with a zillion dollars and/or nothing better to do! We will get rid of all this stuff next spring! It's not your fault! A messy house is a sign of a happy family! Yay, Harvard at 16! And so on. I'll leave you with an "after photo" of that one time when Paige "tried to try" to clean her room, successfully exposing carpet for the first time in weeks. Damn, that shit brings a tear of pride to a mother's eye. And it's Homer Simpson for the win.