Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Clean slate...

Let me e'splain. No. There is too much. Let me sum up... (movie points anyone?)

Turns out it's really easy to let go of a habit, even if you've been doing it everyday for a year. How depressing is that? I've looked at the computer every night since last Thursday and thought about posting a little something. I've even started a couple of posts. But I just haven't felt like it, and since I basically gave myself permission not to do it if I didn't feel like it... well, I think the results speak for themselves. Even sadder is the many areas in my life that are seeming to go that direction right now. Working out, keeping up with the house, sewing projects. I wake up all geared up in my mind to accomplish a whole bunch. I have a kick-butt game plan all lined up. I start in on the first thing... and then my enthusiasm fizzles out. And before I know it lunch time rolls around and I haven't done a blessed thing. Because I don't feel like it. And I don't like feeling that way.

I'm also tired of feel perpetually chaotic and unorganized. I'm tired of the amount of dishes and towels and clean clothes my children go through in a day. I'm tired of sending my children in to brush their teeth and later finding the sink half full of water with a toothbrush, the toothpaste, the hairspray and a bottle of medicine floating in it. I'm tired of finding food and food wrappers on the floor, peanut butter in the fridge (with the lid always only placed on it, NEVER screwed back on... why? Seriously, how much time can you save by not screwing the lid back on the peanut butter? Two seconds? Three at most?), and milk in the cupboard.  I'm most especially tired of the fact that my family doesn't read my mind and just do what I want them to do with me having to tell them over and over again.

So, what is the solution? I don't know (or even believe that there actually is one) but I do know that we are going to try something new around here. I am NOT playing servant anymore. (I'm not making this up, Lila actually calls me that. Usually when I am making dinner and I think she is trying to say server, like at a restaurant, but still.) I am taking a page straight out of my mother's play book and making my children clean their own rooms. By themselves. With no help from me. I helped them clean and organize everything less than a month ago. So I know they know where things go and exactly what I mean by cleaning their room. I don't expect perfection. I expect them to make their beds, put their dirty clothes in the hamper, their clean clothes in the drawers and know where their shoes are.(Hint- if you put them where they go you won't lose them, just saying.) But our their biggest challenge is the toys. They have toy sorters and bins and buckets and shelving and hanging thingys. Every possible way there is to sort and store and organize those toys that has been made, we have it. And every possible method to encourage them to take care of their toys, we've tried. I've tried helping and standing back and giving direction. I've purged and taken away toys. I've taken them away for a little while and let them earn them back and I've taken them away FOREVER!

 I know they know how to clean the toys up, so now I am just going to expect them to do it. If it is not done right, I dump it out and they start over. By my calculations it has taken Evie over five hours to clean her room today. Of course that is in part because on the first inspection we found that she had not put the toys away correctly, but had simply shoved anything and everything she could grab into and under the toy sorter. Apparently she didn't believe me when I said that if she did that I would dump everything on to the floor and make her start over again. Twice so far, and I am prepared to keep dumping her toys into a pile in the middle of the floor until she figures it out. I have also said, "I don't care if you cry about it as long as you are cleaning while you cry." Harsh? Maybe. Effective? I hope so.


My mom did the same thing to me as a child. I have a very vivid memory of the summer day I spent nine hours cleaning the bathroom. It took me nine hours to learn that 1) I wasn't going to win this particular battle with my mother and 2) it is always much faster to just to a job right the first time. I just hope my kids are faster learners than I was.


P.(m)S. This may be somewhat hormonally driven, but I think the basic concepts are sound.

5 comments:

Mary said...

Yay! I was going through withdrawals. ;) Oh, and movie points? Princess Bride. Too easy.

I'm sorry you've been feeling that way. I hate it when I get that no motivation/can't seem to accomplish anything/frustration at lack of accomplishment feeling.
I hope your kids figure it out faster too. :) It looks like Jake has a good start!

Sarah said...

Ooohh, someday she's going to hate that you posted that picure. :) I think it's kinda cute. Good luck with that method. Let me know if it works. I hope it does, for all your sakes.

Sandra & Brent said...

I just want to make sure that you realize that it's perfectly AVERAGE to not feel like doing anything in January. January positively seethes with apathy and depressing thoughts. That having been said, I have a little "program" that I used with my kids (like twenty-five years ago)called "room check". It was just a list of what I expected to be done to clean any particular room, attached to a clipboard. I would room check their rooms and then they got to room check mine. They could earn weekly coupons for one-on-one time with Brent or I if they passed room check all week long (maybe with one day off). It actually worked pretty well. Usually the coupon was just for an ice cream or a burger or something but it seemed to work (mostly). Good luck. I'm rooting for you!

Amanda said...

This is SO my life right now. But, sadly, not all of it is kid-made messes. Sigh.

My kids' morning chore is to make their beds and pick up their rooms. It works well for a while, then it always goes to pot. When it gets enormously out of control, I make their bed and pile everything from the floor onto it. Then I vacuum and send them in to sort. They know they're done when the bed is cleared and it's good motivation (for me) not to leave it until another day because they can't get in bed until it's done. It's the only method I've found effective with Grace, my most messy and least work-friendly child. Also, having everything on the bed makes it easy to move around in the room and put things away and I find it motivates my kids to clean because their room looks completely clean except for the bed, so it seems more manageable. You might give it a try someday if you need a new weapon in the arsenal. I got the idea from a friend who grew up in a family with 9 kids. It was her mom's cleaning method.

Ryan W said...

I crossed Chip once...that's how she got her name...