The Toilet Paper Analogy (and Why You Need It In Your Life)

by Lisa Douglas

Are you the Toilet Paper Changer™ in your house, like I am? It drives me crazy, to no end, to plop my busy mom ass down on the seat, with haste, only to realize that you’re out of paper, and stuck.

There are times, though, that I’ve found someone did me the honor of changing it when empty, before I got to it. Unfortunately, I come to find the hard way that they’ve done it wrong.

What’s the wrong way, you ask? Check out the picture:

The Toilet Paper Debate
Image credit:

And it’s at that point, when I’m unrolling the toilet paper, recognizing it is wrong, when I realize that I have two choices: I can choose to fly off the handle (either at someone or by myself) that someone did it incorrectly, or I can choose to be thankful that it was done for me, without asking, helping me. You know, without me having to waggle my bare ass to fetch myself some from another room, or a few feet away in a cabinet, fighting my toddler to fetch it, or something embarrassing like that.

I call this the Toilet Paper Analogy.

My oldest’s chore is to put away the dishes (among other things). Often times, I get agitated, because I find pots put away haphazardly, glasses stacked inappropriately, or silverware everywhere but separated properly. Or, the worst offender, all the storage containers thrown like frisbees into the cabinet. Argh! Secretly (or not-so secretly), I snarl, and get frustrated, and then I let it go. Why?

The Toilet Paper Analogy – I choose to be glad she helped me at all, and that I didn’t have to do it all myself.

Watching my children fold clothes from the dryer wrong, or vacuum without noticing they didn’t pick up all the crumbs, or seeing toys not stacked properly, I could be angry. Sometimes I am angry (if I’ve asked them nicely the right way and ended up ignored). And I do, definitely, lose my parental cool about laundry not making it in the hamper which is Only!Two!Feet!Away!From!The!Bathroom!

In our home, with as many people as we have living in it, our housework falls mostly to me, but is definitely a team effort. We all live here, so we all help here. It might not be perfect all the time, or the cleanest house you know, but it gets done, and with practice, they will learn.

And instead of choosing anger and frustration in my perfectionist mind over a job not done exactly the way I would do it, I choose the thankfulness that I had help at all.

The Toilet Paper Analogy.

(P.S. Of course, I right side up the toilet paper. And fix the haphazard things if they’re at risk of falling. Secretly, of course. Ahem.)

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