Sunday, March 27, 2011

Should I Be Concerned?

It must be true. I’ve enabled by children to become “less than tidy”… As I look around and see their clothes all over the floor (clean or dirty-who knows?) and schoolwork, etc. thrown haphazardly around I know it’s true. I’ve raised slobs who count on the Momma to pick up for them.

My oldest is a type-A, Mr.Clean guy. He washes dishes, does laundry, and keeps his belongings neat. He was the one in his off-campus housing that always did the cleaning up. He is also doing a lot of housework now that he’s married since he gets home from work first. As a freshman in college, he and his roommate actually made their beds every day!

And my younger three children? There was a time when their bedrooms looked perfect -the month our home was on the market! Other than that, as I was raising them I obviously wasn’t consistent. I tried chore charts, job jars, and positive reinforcement. I still ended up picking up after them and allowing them to leave the house without completing their responsibilities.I would rather do it myself, than look at the mess. As a teacher, I should have drilled the concept of “don’t get something new out until you put away the items you’re currently playing with”. Oh, the Barbie clothes & accessories I used to organize!

Young Moms!
Listen up! Don’t do as I did! A couple weeks ago I was so impressed at a young friend’s house when I saw job magnets on a chalkboard, and she talked about them dusting. As children become teens it gets a little harder to be the “enforcer”. I wonder if they'll want to dust in ten years?

“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening-it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living…”
Hebrews 12:11

I do grapple with the balance of people vs. cleanliness. Obviously relationships should come before cleaning. When my kiddos were little I loved to rock them and read to them but somebody still had to do dishes and laundry. So now I “get” that their friends come before wanting to clean. What makes me grumpy is when my kids change outfits several times and the outfits that don't "make the cut" get thrown in a pile instead of hung back up.

It’s about respect- I want my kids to respect their belongings. It’s about order-it is so much easier to focus on the important things when there isn’t clutter all around. In the scheme of things, my kids have amazing qualities like kindness, love of the Lord, being great friends. But is anyone going to want to live day in and day out with slobs besides their Momma?

I want to apologize to my kid’s future spouses. I really didn’t intend to raise slobs. Perhaps with time they will begin to appreciate being tidy. As I write this, my youngest daughter, all on her own cleaned and shined her bedroom. Now that her space is cleaner than mine, I guess I need to go grab the Windex.

How about you? Have you found a way to motivate your family to “keep house”? My frustration comes and goes but I also know so do kids. They grow up, leave for college, take their messes, bring them back on breaks. When the house is clean, I’m usually missing them.

I love my kids, piles and all.

In His Grip, Jane

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