The exasperating petty crimes of family life

This dad documented the towel crimes of his children using the Instagram hashtag #howkidshangtowels
This dad documented the towel crimes of his children using the Instagram hashtag #howkidshangtowels Photo: rogerfitz/Instagram

It's one thing when you have young children who are not yet capable of managing those every day household tasks. You expect the mess, the dirty nappies, the food smearing, being smacked in the face, the super long days and complete, utter exhaustion.

Those still in the trenches with babies and toddlers may want to avert their eyes from here on in, because I'm here to say the exhaustion never ends. Nothing on this earth could have prepared me for just how mentally-taxing the litany of 'small things' are; those petty crimes the ones we live with, commit on a daily basis.

Things like opening a new carton of milk or juice, when there is still an open one. Or putting an empty one back in the fridge. Like leaving the empty toilet roll on the holder, so the next person has to change it. 

Getting ready for work this morning, my eyes were drawn to my children's toothbrush cups. We've had enough delightful gastro sharing that I'm strict about each person having their own toothbrush cup and toothpaste.

Each child had a minimum of three toothbrushes, and two of them had three tubes of toothpaste, in various states of demise. The other child had a mere two tubes.

It's the small things folks. The things sent to drive you crazy by eroding your sense of order and expectations about what life is supposed to be like. Nobody needs that many toothbrushes, let alone all that toothpaste!

There's a member of the family who will use a soap bar until it's the size of a ten cent piece and never ever get out a new one.

I did an experiment once, secreting away my very own bottle of body wash, and gleefully watching the soap bar dwindle.

So teeny tiny, it broke. Photo: Suzi Catchpole

What happened?

No new soap appeared. Instead, I noted my body wash had magically materialised from its hiding place, and now sat smugly on the floor of the shower. Yes, rather than get out a new bar of soap, this person had somehow read my mind and found me out.

Hell hath no fury than a person driven to the brink by domestic infractions. 

It would appear I'm far from alone. Consulting my Facebook oracle, the thread became a dumping ground of rage and disbelief that somehow these familial communities we ourselves formed, could turn on us so horrifically.

Here are some of the crimes my friends and associates are currently dealing with. Warning, there is a lot of keyboard yelling.

  • "Putting clothes in the wash that don't need washing because they couldn't be bothered to put them away." (Kylie)
  • "Shoving more and more in the kitchen bin instead of taking the rubbish out and changing the bag." (Michelle)
  • "None of my kids will eat the last two cups of cereal left in the box because TOO CRUMBLY." (Lexi)
  • "Kid makes a sandwich and leaves the bread bag open. Every time." (Mel)
  • "Leaving empty food packaging in the fridge/pantry after someone takes the last item from inside. PUT IT IN THE RECYCLING GUYS." (Mel)
  • "All the stinky socks left in my car as it's her hockey dressing room." (Jo)
  • "Emptying cereal bowls in the sink and leaving it there causing raisins to swell up like bloated corpses. I DON"T KNOW WHY THIS BOTHERS ME SO MUCH." (Amber)
  • "My girls wash their long hair in the shower, when they rinse, they roll up hair balls of hair and wipe off all the loose strands onto the shower walls! Why won't they just put their hair balls in the bin?" (Claire)

One frustrated dad even made his very own hashtag of #howkidshangtowels to document the daily struggle of getting kids to hang their bath towels so they dry properly.

Photo: rogerfitz/Instagram
We feel his pain. When it feels like 17 million times a day you hear yourself say, "Don't put your dishes in the sink - the dishwasher is right next to you," or, "WHY are there shoes scattered along the middle of the hallway?" you begin to realise what your parents must have gone through.
That, and older kids are not easier than little kids. Life is just a different set of domestic challenges now and they are fully aware of what they're doing.
So here's to you, fellow parents. Please know there's a whole bedgraggled army of us out there, loathing the sound of our own voices.