The immaculate house fallacy.

When I was a young(er) mother I had 5 kids and always a mess. I would clean, they would make a disaster right behind me. If I spent a little time for me, they spent as much time messing.

Clutter with things you do not need is one thing, but clutter with things that are needed is another.I found I had clutter, but it was two kinds. Clutter because the house was not big enough for them to have their own play room, me a craft place and enough storage room OR clutter because I was keeping every little thing any one was throwing away since it might be needed some day.

Kids make clutter. I finally had to set priorities. Was I going to be a crabby, yelling, mean mom because I wanted everything neat and in place? Or was I going to let the kids be kids, use their imaginations and then teach them to clean up afterwards?

My late husband set me straight. He told me mess will always be there, but the kids will not. He told me my priority was them and later would be a neat clean house that people could eat off the floor. (haha!)

It eased me, set me straight and removed most of the guilt.

I am now a grandmother with a baby here all the time during the day. My house is full of papers, vhs cassettes all over, pots, Tupperware etc. So what? She will grow up and it will be over. I will, again, wish for the mess.

Relax, let kids grow and use their imaginations. Teach them to pick up as they go.

Someday you will long for the mess too.

Getting kids to pick up their stuff

Today is Works for Me at Rocks in My Dryer. I would like to offer you something that worked for me when my children were school age.

I do not know about yours, but my kids were rather sloppy. They came in from school and set their coat, shoes, books etc all over the place. Then the toys came out and they were all over making it difficult to walk anywhere.

Time out, spanking, yelling, sending them to their rooms etc, nothing worked. I still ended up picking everything up.

My husband and I decided to try to teach them something about life and responsibility. I bought several baskets and when they would not clean up and I had to everything of theirs went into the baskets. Since my time is worth something and they were being irresponsible we would not let them just have their item back. They had to pay .25 a piece per item or do a job per item. In the beginning they thought we were going to give in, they grumbled because they needed that book for homework, or the jacket since it was chilly outside etc. I did not give in!

Soon there was not as much left lying around the floors, chairs, doors etc. It worked for me!