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Autism and the Money Pit…A “Contest” Post November 20, 2008

Posted by hopeauthority in Autism, Family, Parenting, special needs, Uncategorized.
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Note: There is a contest at the end of this post. Good luck to all who dare to enter!

Remember that movie “The Money Pit” about a couple who bought a house that literally started to fall apart bit by bit the moment they moved in?  Well, that house has nothin’ on mine…

I was talking to some friends of mine this morning who are all moms of autistic boys and I was alittle surprised to hear that every one of them was embarrassed to some degree about the condition of their home. No wonder we’ve been meeting at the same diner every Thursday morning for the past three months! None of us wants the others to see the disaster we call “home”!

And we each thought that we were the only one who felt that way.

Now, to be honest, I can’t blame my “Oscar Madison” ways on autism. There are too many old college roommates who could…and would…rat me out if I tried. I was always a bit of a slob. Not my person, but my surroundings.

I’m clean. The clothes I am wearing are clean. The clothes I washed are clean and folded…but they are all over the place, never making it to their designated drawers. And there’s always a pile still to be washed…

Dishes never go away. Ever. With ‘C’s diet, I am forever standing at the sink washing, using, rewashing and re-using every pot, pan, plate and utensil in the house. I don’t have the energy or the guts to move the “concert” that ‘C’ assembled in the den, so it gets vacuumed around (but not often enough). I am way, way behind in those traditional “spring/fall cleaning” chores, like chandeliers and outside windows. 

And that’s not even counting the real “trailer trash” effects of this pit. Like the tempermental leak in the den roof. It is unpredictable. We can be bone-dry in a hurricane, or be scrambling for a bucket in a drizzle. That’s always fun during a holiday dinner party… How about the wallpaper that’s been up so long that its decided to come down on its own? Or the bathroom and hallway wallpaper that was really stuck on there for life…until ‘C’ ripped off a piece of it?  And let’s not get started on the fact that our bedroom has been a Southwest theme so long, that I fear its going to be back in style soon!

Before autism, I was a slob who had cleaning at the bottom of my list. Now, it’s not even on my list. Why put it at the bottom and have it taunt me there? I know I’ll never get to it. When it gets bad enough that it can’t be ignored…and we all know when that point is…it will get done.

How universal is this lack of housekeeping among autistic families with young kids? What rationale do you use to get past the guilt of it?

For me, it’s simply a matter of priorities. I love and appreciate a clean house… and had one every two weeks until the woman I hired to do it gave up the business after 6 years. My kids and their schedules come first, and ‘C’s diet takes up a lot of time. Laundry can’t wait and neither can groceries. So cleaning has to wait. Unless I want to give up what little sleep I get.

Should the extra time, attention, and money required for raising an autistic child give you a “pass” on what’s expected in the housekeeping department…assuming, of course, that the health inspector isn’t at the door? Do you avoid hosting social functions because you’ve neglected your home?

And, most importantly: Do you have room in your neglected, moldy, web-laden, unfinished, leaky basement for me and my family when my own Money Pit actually implodes?

I dare you all to post your story about how badly you’ve neglected your home and why you’d rather die than host the holiday dinner.  (People with only minor dust-bunnies need not apply!)  I will award a prize to the contest winner, which I will determine at a later date, but it will be cool. The deadline for the contest is Thanksgiving Day.

C’mon, you turkeys…start fessing up.

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Comments»

1. HeatherPride - November 21, 2008

Oh, it’s so embarrassing that my mother comes in to nanny for me during the week, and she takes care of 90% of the household chores, even down to the laundry! Yes, my mother is more aquainted with my husband’s underwear than I am – isn’t it sad?? But the good news is that the house is pretty tidy – except on the weekends when I’m put back in charge.

2. hopeauthority - November 22, 2008

I’m so good at reading between the lines, Heather.

I can plainly see your generous open invitation to ALL the contestants to come to your house for Thanksgiving dinner. So, what time should we be there on Thursday?

Oh, and how big is your mom? (I need to bring the right size sack so I can steal her away when she’s done with the dishes). On second thought, I’ll just use your laundry bag.

When you wake up on Friday, the only clue left will be a trail of your husband’s underwear…

3. asdmommy - November 24, 2008

Um, seriously, when our house gets that bad, we just move. 🙂

Nah, just kidding. Although we do move a lot. 9 times in 11 years. So perhaps there’s some truth. Actually, we’ve pared down our “stuff” because we’re sick of moving it. My house IS a mess, and I keep trying to follow FlyLady, but I suck at her methods. I feel like all I ever do is clean the kitchen.

Truth be told, I actually LOVE to have people over because it forces me to clean – at least clean enough to be passable (don’t you dare look in that closet, guest!!!). I know, I’m weird….


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