One of my biggest Mommy challenges is keeping my temper in check.

My friends may be shocked by this since I’ve always been pegged as ‘easy-going’ or ‘cincai’, in Malay-Chinese speak. The truth is, I get pissed off just like everyone else. Perhaps even more frequently so since I’ve become a parent.

Perhaps the biggest pet peeve I have about being at home with the kiddos is cleaning. I hate to clean and any situation that results in me having to clean upsets me tremendously (and we all know how that is never an issue with having children). Although in recent times I’ve learnt to appreciate, even more, an impeccable house, I deplore no less the space and time between 1. a dirty house and 2. a clean house. In short, I hate having to get on my hands and knees to scrub tile or tub or toilet bowl, pry crumbs off the carpet, vacuum or scrape nasty caked stuff off the stove top.

Now if I were ‘easy-going’ about cleanliness, in that I just ignore the mess, it would obviously not be something I’d be so moved to write an entire blog post about. Or if I liked a clean house so much more than cleaning like my friend Sara does, that I look beyond the labour. As it turns out, I’m one who NEEDs things to be clean but do not want to do the work, and is too cheap to pay someone else to do it.

So yes, I am officially now a moron.

Really, how healthy is it for one to keep completely calm (“remember, gentle but firm”)when one’s three-year-old spills milk or yogurt onto the carpet? Or decides to empty every single box of toys just to look for her favourite Polly Pocket outfit? Or decides to water the one plant in our house with a full bucket of water? How is one to sit back and bask in the happy fulfillment that is parenthood when one is awaken at two in the morning to change out a mattress soaked with pee?

I am in perpetual cognitive dissonance over this, having to reconcile daily the natural (and therefore chaotic) development of young children and my need for tidiness and order. I was, after all, brought up to believe that no bad deed should ever go unpunished. We all live in this world together, and it would be unfair if some people got put away for, say, peeing in bed and some didn’t.

And yet, children rarely want to spill milk. Or pee in bed. Or stick marbles up their nostrils just to smell them a little better. Or roll play-do on the carpet because it’s more fun. Or get pregnant at 15.

Children rarely do these things JUST to piss us off. How self-absorbed are we to even think that? Do they have accidents, make mistakes to see if mommy will REALLY go off the edge and smoke that very last secret cigarette? Deep, deep, deep down, in that small little box called their subconscious, do they draw on walls with permanent marker just to fuck with us?

Of course not.

And yet, we wish it were so. When our kids misbehave, we wished the reasons were more sinister, so that we can feel better when we, say, bitch on our blogs about yet another day spent in pig sty hell.

Phew, that felt good.

Back to making sure all the markers are capped and every car is in the bin and every teeny tiny little Polly Pocket and their teeny tiny shoes are accounted for.

Don’t even get me started on those things.