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Cleanliness Next to .....

Lately I have struggled with parenting. I have such a varied role these days. I have one daughter who is married and still needs advice from mom. In fact, she wants more advice now than she did just over a year ago. I have a teen who has ended high school and will be looking for a job so that she can begin college. I have a teen boy who believes that he doesn’t need me for anything… except as in the role of cook, chauffer, maid, and money bags. I have a young teen daughter that is beginning to stretch her wings and one lonely 8 year old.

I’ve heard that raising a teenager is like nailing Jell-O a tree. I couldn’t agree more! There are many days I don’t know who I am or how to do me job in our family. Just got to remember, if it was going to be easy, it never would have started with something called labor!

Generally speaking, cleaning one's room is not considered "fun". I set out to change this perspective this week with only two kids at home (2 are EFY and one has moved out, being a married lady and all). Most of the time I feel that our house is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy. Cleaning your house while your kids are at home is like trying to shovel the driveway during a snowstorm.

I swear the most messy people in the world live at my house! Most of them are turning out to be responsible, kind, loving, well mannered, intelligent, talented, and amazing children. In fact, I am positive that I have not done a remarkable job teaching my children to clean up after themselves. My wake up call really was the blog post my newlywed daughter wrote about cleaning her house and her dishes that took her 3 hours to complete.

Seriously, I just cannot get them to keep their rooms even somewhat clean. I can’t walk into my son’s room. My youngest two daughters insist on carpeting their room with clothes, blankets, books, shoes and toys. Dad had enough of stubbing his toe to tuck in people for bed, so he threatened them… no electronic media time if he came home and it was messy. My problem is, I REFUSE to sit in there room with them while they cleans it. For heaven sake, at 13 and 8 you’d think they could handle that. But my husband is right, it is time for all the children to be more responsible in this area of their lives.

At least I am not alone. Every parent I have ever met has struggled with teaching and trying to get their child to pick up their rooms. Many parents end up nagging, frustrated, disappointed and downright angry. Then the kid feels bad. And then the kid picks up their mess because of how their parents feel and how it makes them feel. Then the kid tries to forget the whole thing and go about being a happy kid again.

There is of course another problem. The whole messy room scenario becomes a cycle. Eventually the room is a mess again, the parents get angry, the kid picks it up and then the kid forgets again. Parents get frustrated because their kids are not consistent. It happens to me all the time.

But I was despite. Thus, our fun activity yesterday was to spend the morning cleaning the girls room and rewarding their efforts with a treat from Dairy Queen. I love bribes!


  1. Wow! They found the WHOLE FLOOR! I didn't know their room could look this way! Nice work, Girls! Tell them that their cousins are WAAAY impressed! ♥


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