Saturday, September 5, 2009

Who Are These Kids?

Andrew does a fantastic job making his bed.

I don't know where my kids went but I'm keeping the new ones. OK, last Sunday was my breaking point. As I scurried around the house like Cinderella minus the helpful mice and Fairy Godmother, I noticed a bunch of people resting comfortably on the couch with nice full bellies. Familiar looking bunch...oh , I know them, they're my kids!
What's wrong with this picture? I looked at my husband for help. What's wrong here? I asked. How can they sit there and watch me run around like a flippin' fool doing everything? Doesn't something in their brains tell them , Hey this is wrong , get up and help your mother? I thought my dear hubby would have some words for those cute kids, like, Hey get off your butts and help your mother. But no, no. He did have some words for me. Here they are... It's all your fault. WHAT! WHAT did he just say to me!!!! It's MY FAULT!!!! I teach them right from wrong, I never told them to NOT HELP ME! And he continued.... Steph, he said, you never enforce anything. If you ask them to do something and they don't, then you just do it yourself. If it's going to take them longer to do it, then again you just do it yourself.

I hate it when he's right, but I am GUILTY as charged. I am a bit of a control freak mixed with a slight case of OCD. I've been known to actually clean up the toys as they are playing with them. That's a little weird. Any how... point taken. So what to do about it. We've tried things in the past to motivate the little darlings into doing their fair share around the house. I even tried to break the news as gently as possible to Olivia that she does not live at a BED and Breakfast Inn. This is home and she needs to participate in the cleaning of it. She took the news pretty hard. We've done the charts and allowance and the treasure box. We've tried all of Nanny 911's suggestions. Nothing worked. And Cinderella was getting fed up!
Finally, Sunday night I had an idea. If I can get one kid to come over to my side and see it my way, maybe the others would follow. I went straight to Sophia. She's a natural born leader. I asked her some simple questions... are you happy when mommy gets mad because no one is helping? Do you like the way things are right now? Do you want to change things? Are you with me? Her answers were, NO, NO, YES, YES!!! Great, she's with me.
OK, next question to Sophia. What will work? Her suggestion was to make a chore chart. OK, but we've done that before. It didn't work. Try it again, she said. And if someone doesn't do their chores they get more chores added. Wow that's a good one. See, she's got good ideas.
Sophia designed the chart and I filled in some chores. There are some basic everyday ones mixed with different ones like dusting, laundry, garbage. Now of course I need to enforce it, and not do the chores myself.
My expectations were low, but by golly the results were high! They are doing it. Even OLIVIA! I'm hearing things like, OK, Mommy and I'm coming. Where before I would get, I'm not doing that, that's gross, that's not fair... blah, blah, blah.
And the best part is, their reward is praise from Mom, A movie night or some other family activity. No out of pocket expense.I haven't had to raise my voice in almost a week. I'll take it for as long as I can, I am so enjoying this. And the best part is I am really enjoying my kids even more. And I actually think they like it too.
What can I say Peter, when you're right you're right!


Kristinn&Thelma said...

It’s funny that usually when you ask the kids to make the rules they are more harsh on themselves then we are.....good job you did with your kids ! it’s a hard work keeping a house clean.....and with children in the house wow! I will keep this plan in mind when I have some more children!

Denise said...

I sooo need to follow your lead!! I have tried before but didn't follow through either. Besides helping us out, it is good training for them later in life. I need to get on the ball...thanks for the reminder. Although I am a little disappointed in your cute picture of little Emmie to make me smile today :(

LizBeth said...

Hi, Stephanie!

Got your note. Yes, I do think the media is not reporting this well. Just wanted you to know I'm not throwing caution to the wind, either, especially with our special ones. I just don't care for the fear-mongering. Even the various government offices and branches(!) seem to have very different versions of what to expect. When they start talking about potentially closing down whole cities under the present circumstances, I become very suspicious. All sounds weird to me.

Being a mom is tough work! Hang in there.
Love and hugs,

Cammie Heflin said...

You are awesome!

LizBeth said...


scrappy quilter said...

Great job!! I'm glad they are following through on their jobs. Keep at it, it will get better especially if they see you mean business. It's all about being a part of the family.

Jeana said...

I love that you had Sophia help you decide what to do. What a great idea.

Anonymous said...

Oh I wish it were that easy at my house! My boys hate the dirty house, but won't clean it up. They are all grown adults, going to college and working full time. You would think they could pick up their own dirty dishes!!!
As for Lily though... all I have to tell her is "No more Hannah Montana and she is up and crackin'!

Emily said...

I could seriously copy and paste this right on to my post for the day. That is EXACTLY how my day was today as we were supposed to be getting ready for church. Thank you for sharing and letting me know that not only am I not alone, but I CAN help the situation by helping less and involving my family more! Love this post! Hope all continues to work out with the job chart!

Kele said...

We OCD gals must sniff each other out! I sure am one, and from what I can tell and from what her daughters tell me, so is Heather!
Here's to hoping the chart keeps workin' for ya!!

Michelle said...

Awesome...good thinking pulling them onto your side! LOL. I'm sorry, but you did have me giggling throughout...Once when my kids were really little, I had them folding towels. They were all sloppy, but folded none the less. My sister said, I can't believe you are going to put those towels away like that, and I said, what would it say to them if I went behind them and re-did it? It wasn't easy to put those wrecked towels away, but they did it and I wanted them to feel good about it! You are doing a great job and it is obvious from your pictures how happy your family is. It's hard to have a large family and always know the "right" or "best" way to get somethings accomplished. That is how I feel most of the time. Great job Mamma!!

(ps-don't tell your hubs he was right!!LOL0

stephanie said...

From Peter:
This nice comment from you my wife, took me by surprise, then it dawned on me - your birthday is coming!
(just kidding)