I'm not talking the typical pig sty that exists in a house occupied by two adults and three children (our oldest is on her own and takes care of her own mess now). You know what I mean - the endless dishes, laundry, and straightening up that comes along with actually living. I'm not even talking about messy bathrooms that need cleaning, floors that need washing, or dusting that needs to be done.
No, I'm talking about the toys that get taken out and are left lying on the floor when finished with. The contents of a closet that sit in a hallway as a result of some work needing to be done on the water filter. The scads of leftover lego pieces strewn all over the floor after the project has been completed. The stack of papers looking like a leaning tower just waiting to tumble off the nightstand and under the bed. The box of wet outerwear sitting in the front entrance, starting to smell because the owners did not bother to hang them up when they got home. The remnants of a feather boa that met it's demise in a recent tug of war.
And I started to wonder. At what point exactly did I go from being 'the Mom' to being 'the Maid'? Don't get me wrong - I have no problem looking after my family by making sure they are fed and kept in clean clothing. This is part of my responsibility as a stay at home mother. I get that. But is my life's work really about cleaning up other people's sh!$ that they can't be bothered to put away?
Ok, I admit it. I'm really, really cranky about this. Mostly because I take the time to clean things up, only to be confronted with a new mess a mere hour later. And believe it or not, I do make my kids (and husband) help me. Whenever possible, I try to emphasize the importance of cleaning up before moving on to the next task/activity. That chores need to be done before we do things that are fun and interest us. To no avail. Not even an inch of headway. I explain that if we all work together, and put away our stuff consistently, then there will be more time to do fun things as a family. I am greeted with whining and complaining rather than enthusiasm and willingness.
So I'm going to start implementing these rules:
- If you get it out, put it away when you are finished with it.
- If you need help putting it away, ask me nicely and say Thank You when we are done.
- Every night before bed, everything needs to be put away. If you choose not to, the garbage can is always hungry, and I love to feed it.
- I LOVE to hear the sound of Lego being sucked up by the vacuum. If you don't, make sure you put it away or I will make you listen to it :)
- Saturday mornings are for chores. Do them and I promise we will do something fun afterwards.
- If you leave your stuff out and I have to pick it up, I will bill your Dad $100/hour to do it for you. And because I want some new Lululemon stuff, I will be sure to take my sweet time doing it.
Got any other suggestions? I would love to hear what works for you and your family because I know for a fact that this doesn't just happen in my house . . .
I sure hope this works - if not, well, I guess I'll have some material for a few new blog posts, right?