Tuesday, May 10, 2011

National Clean Your Room Day

I remember reading this book to my kids.
Their rooms get so messy!
Honestly, so does ours.
I'm simply too busy to waist time cleaning my room.
(What a silly thing on which to spend your valuable afternoon.)

Until . . .
you find yourself walking along a winding pathway, lined up with delicately balanced boxes of hobbies and piles of books threatening to topple, baskets full of important papers that now spead dust at an alarming rate, little collections of holiday decorations from Christmas to Easter, and snippets of notes that you so dilligently took here and there for who-knows-what.

Ugh, stuff.

I used to be more like Mama Bear.

Then I had more children. 
Now I congratulate myself for getting to appointments on time
and completing my "Things-To-Do" list in a week's time, instead of a day.
Being satisfied with my children's ideas of clean dishes and washed floors is not a choice, it's a compromise for sanity.

The reality is that it's up to us to teach them.
If they can't keep a relitively tidy place when they leave us, it's our own fault.  At the very least we should be able to say, "You know how to do that!"

Personally, I don't think either of these are a healthy picture of Mom.
It's my choice to be a glad servant to my beloved family,
they don't demand it of me, nor do they expect it,
ahem, generally speaking.
Still, I don't find cleaning fun.
It's not fun.
It's a job.
It simply needs to get done.

This lady's nuts.
Then again, maybe she's on something.
I won't judge.
She must be on something.

In this vintage ad, you will read in the fine print that the mother has told her children that there are miniscule sweets and candies in the crevices, nooks, and cranies of their home. 

My own boring, yet tireless attempts at domestic child labor include the age-old chore chart.
I've added a twist, however.
This learned from the Family Fun magazine, which I often tout.
It's the "Marble Jar."
Each child has a jar to fill,
you can see that there are different sizes,
this is according to their age. 
At the bottom of each jar, neatly folded,
lies a five-dollar bill for our older children,
and a one-dollar bill for our youngest.

In our family, expected chores are not rewarded,
just as in real life.
They may do extra jobs to earn marbles.
Different jobs are worth different marbles.
Mom and Dad decide, and if they pout or fuss,
no marble.

We would rather approach these issues here at home than watch them head off into the real world and be shocked that everyone doesn't give them what they desire.

The marble jar in the middle, the kids' jars with the red lids.

Avoid, too, grumbles, pouts, fussing, whining (if at all possible), growls, . . .

Always remember to keep your eyes on the prize!
They WILL learn.
I know, it does seem like it's taking forever.
(I'm still "there" and writing this partly for myself.)

And eat your cake.  :)

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As long as I'm on this journey, rambling through life's exhilarating highs and trudging heavily amongst it's incapacitating lows, I might as well share whatever may be gleaned from my little bits of wisdom and my many missteps. No room for judgment from this broken mama. I'm writing from my heart: raw, open, messy, but saved. And I'm still thanking God!