Monday, September 26, 2011

Mommy Monday part deux

Ok . . . I'm putting it out to the blog nation . . . I need your help!

I like when my house is neat and clean and clutter free and ready for drop in visitors. When I lived by myself, the toilet stayed clean, I vacuumed every day, dishes were never laying around . . . then I got married and a couple of things changed. It's not just that Josh is less concerned with cleanliness than I am (although that is true), it's also that I had a hard time asking him to do something that I felt was my job and I was torn between hanging out with him (because I am also a social person who enjoys the same sort of television programs that he does) or cleaning. Then we started adding children to the mix . . . sweet, adorable little tornadoes of messy terror. Fatigue, parenting, wanting to chill with my hubby at night, not wanting to be the mean mom that made them pick up all the time and not enjoy playing, allowing myself to believe that they were not old enough to have those responsibilities, and the belief that all the responsibility lies with me and what I have now are kids who are in no sort of cleanliness routine. They are supposed to make their beds and bring their dishes to the sink. They will clean up when told to (but oh the wailing and gnashing of teeth), but I am not (at this moment) raising kids who contribute to the up keep of our home because they know that it is expected of them. They do it more out of fear of crazy mommy when things get to a point that I start talking in a voice that only dogs can understand. I honestly believe that they wish they could hide when they hear me say, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!"

Now a few disclaimers--I have an unrealistic standard for myself that I don't attain even when my house looks nice. I am always annoyed by the closet or drawer or office or magazine pile that no one else sees. I function on a pass/fail system and I don't know that I have ever sat down and passed myself. Usually when I sit down it is in complete defeat and despair. I just want to give up.

I realize that my kids are capable of MUCH more than I expect from them and I am curious what you all require of your kids. Maybe I am not expecting enough of myself and I should be able to keep it all up. Do you guys have a system? Is it reward based or consequence based or just you WILL do it based? I want my kids--including my boys--to know HOW to clean up after themselves. I want them to be prepared individuals as they enter adulthood. What trips me up is guilt and perfection: guilt that I am asking something of them that might be my job and might interrupt their lollipop and sunshine world and also the realization that they won't do it like I would. (Although, if I am overwhelmed and shut down, their version beats mine.)

So there you go. Mommy Monday topic #1.

1 comment:

  1. Loved this. I know exactly what you mean...the "when I lived by myself ...then I got married...then we added kids..." My apartment used to be so clean and organized. Sometimes I close my eyes and think back to it, just to calm my nerves when I look around our messy house! :)

    Rhett has a chore chart with 5 chores on it (chores are Mon-Fri, weekends off for him...wish the same could be said for me!). His current chores are: make bed, put clean clothes away, carry dishes to sink after meals, do homework and return it to backpack. He gets checkmarks for doing each one, and $3 allowance at the end of the week if he's completed all of them. Unfortunately I still have to remind him to do most of the chores most of the time. I should probably move to a policy of not asking and he just loses a dollar if he doesn't do it, but I help him along.

    One other idea I got from a friend's blog was to make good deed cards for each child, sort of like a punch card. Each time they do a good deed/helpful thing around the house without being asked, they get a punch on their card. No one has filled theirs up yet, but we'll come up with some sort of prize when they do. I was super excited yesterday when I saw that Rhett rolled the trash can up to the garage and carried the recycle bin in without being asked...good deed punch for that one. But they also think they should get punches for things like hanging their bath towels back on the hooks, etc. It's hard to define a good deed, what's big, what's small I guess? The good deed cards have been helpful in getting them to think of ways they can help out without my (constant!) "encouragement".