I remember when I first gave birth to NC how super-excited I was to have a girl. My girlie hormones and imagination went into complete over-drive about pink and fluff and glitter, dolls that cried and pooped and wooden dolls houses where we would recreate happy families together. And all that cultivated girl power would ultimately culminate in a joint loyalty card at Alannah Hill when she reached her late teens.
Something like this:
But unfortunately, NC is not very interested in living up to my girlie expectations and views my pressure as gender stereotyping. She continues to remind me that she has her own mind, her own body and she plays by her own rules; and that goes for her bedroom too.
Her room is a haven to filth.
I took this today:
I’ve tried everything in my power to make her as fulfillingly OCD as her brother when it comes to bedroom hygiene, but NC will not yield to the pressure. She not only has a floordrobe, but a bedrobe too.
I tried not to interfere too much, initially. Being the near-perfect parent that I am, I’d read enough books on Princess Bitchfaces to understood her need to exert her independence and individuality, but when a couple of years ago a huntsman (who must have been horribly lost to decide to give birth in NC’s room) laid a whole new generation of huntsbabies in her bedroom, it was time to come to an agreement. If she kept her door closed on her mess, I would try not to worry about it.
Basically, she won.
And as it turned out, it was neither a logical nor humanly possible decision for me to adhere to as a) her room is in my apartment and b) I am as OCD as my son.
When we moved into ‘The Block’ a couple of months ago, my daughter made all sorts of empty promises about keeping her bedroom tidy this time because it was a ‘fresh start’ blah, blah, fucking blah! And that if I created a proper bedroom for her – ie. one that didn’t serve as a storage area for all the furniture that I’d rejected – she would make a solemn vow to keep it tidy.
So off we went on a mission to create the perfect House and Garden teenage girl bedroom on an Ikea budget. Admittedly, I still couldn’t quite persuade her into flamingo pink crushed velvet cushions or a Sanderson floral doona cover – she prefers earthy/natural tones – but between us we managed to create a chic, classic look that we were both happy with.
We bought pretty, earthy stuff like this:
But that was eight weeks ago and not once since that time have I recognized her room from that makeover.
Her floordrobe physically hurts me like someone is piercing my heart with a knife every time I walk into her room. She says I’m ridiculous.
So what should I do?
- Throw her out and see how tidy she can keep a cardboard box on George St?
- Bite the bullet and tidy her room for her?
- Dress in black and grieve for her room?
- Pay her brother to clean her room?
- Up my anxiety medication?
- Cut her out of the will and donate her share to the homeless?
- Paint all her walls fuchsia pink, replace her Doc Martins with Disney feather mules and refuse to change anything until she stops sending out party invitations to Cockroach City.
- Become the gender stereotyping bitch of a mother she accuses me of being and accept that if she wants to behave like some gross, prepubescent boy, I will change her name to Bob by Deed Poll.
For more expert advice on this subject, read Carl Pickhardt’s article ‘Surviving Adolescence” on Psychology Today, via the link below.