Wednesday, July 21, 2010

meany mom, silly dreamer mom...

I am all for kids being kids on Summer vacation. Swinging up to the clouds, reading under a shade tree, spitting watermelon seeds, covering the driveway with chalk art...
But when it means I get stuck doing all the chores I get a little cranky. Call me crazy. There needs to be a balance between free time and slave time, er, I mean chore time.
Let me tell you about my mommy fit or as I like to call it, tough love tactic.

It usually goes like this....

"Can you kids pick up after yourselves? I spent hours picking up your stuff and putting it away and never had time to even think about starting any of the 100 things I had/wanted to do!"

Then it turns into...

"Pick this stuff up or I am throwing it out the front door."

I'll bet you think I am all threat and no action, right?

Once when N. was watching DVD after DVD, video after video but never put any of them away where they belong and they sat for a few days in random places (like just about every flat surface and the floor too) all over the room, he found out that I back up my promise.

Out the front door they all went in a pile. And it was going to rain!

He went out on the front porch and gathered them all up and put them where they belonged.

Wouldn't it have been much simpler to cut out the stage of bringing them back into the house and just put them away in the first place when they were already in the house BEFORE mom has griped about it??????? Hhhmmm????

I think my voice is completely tuned out to their ears.

I had been asking and then telling and then ordering the kids to take their turns at washing dishes. I do the dishes about 70% of the time but with 10 hands in the family capable of washing it seems fair to have all 10 hands help. Are you with me on this one?
So this is how it went...

If you do not wash these dishes before you go to bed I will take them and throw them out and empty the cupboards too. Guess what? They didn't wash. So out on the back porch went all the dirty dishes in a laundry basket and I emptied the clean ones out of the cupboards--cups, plates and bowls and silverware drawer too. EMPTY. I loaded them in laundry baskets and hid them.

Next morning the dishes that were dirty got washed. Not by me!

Now I am doing phase 2 of the dishes plan=each person will have 1 cup, 1 plate, 1 bowl, fork, knife and spoon. Each person responsible for their own, clean or dirty!
Maybe after a probation period the dishes can all come out of hiding and return to the cupboards.

My hope is a total boot camp type rewiring of their habits and I will have some willing dish washers. What do you think my chances are? Stop laughing. Please!

Don't get the wrong impression. I have good kids who usually help...
Maybe it is the lure of the blue sky and fluffy clouds or the breeze under the big tree or that water melon tastes best for only a few short weeks or the calling to be another artist like Bert from Mary Poppins.
I'm just saying...
The Dixie Cup dispenser is looking even more attractive.


Blondie ~ Vintage Primitives said...

Oh good luck and continued success with this sweet pea. On a different note, my sweet son and his fiance split up when she gave him his ring back. Though they were not living together, she was playing house by buying things and putting them in his house, including her wedding dress. About two weeks after she gave him the ring back, I called her and said, Dear, I need to you pick your items up by Friday. If they aren't I will call the Salvation Army for a pick up. I had bagged/boxed up everything and set it all outside. While she may never speak to me again, I got two great rewards out of this:
a. middle son no longer could look at her stuff and be tormented.
b. with all the ensuing convos, he was able to see what I had never told him about this family. Lovely folks but not the best companions for him.
Keep pitching, Amy.

Shelley said...

I have a 18 yr old that thinks I am his maid...maybe,I should use some of your ideas and see if that works on him.....he would most likely just get up and go live with his God parents where for some reason he finds it easy to help.....he is truly spoiled and my older kids said I did it....woe is me,I most likely did...DO IT

The Urban Chic said...

Amy, I had to check to make sure it was your blog I was reading and not mine. I did that(packed up toys) so many times, but it never worked. I prayed each day that when they became adults, things would change, especially if they ever married. Well 2 of them changed right away, but my daughter, an adult in college didn't seem to get it. We visited her and her room mates one day and I swore I would never go back. Pizza boxes, empty dishes, dirty filled ashtrays(yuk) and you name it. Their excuse was it wasn't Saturday and I should come visit on Saturday so I could see a clean condo. Well turns out,that is when the mess begins-parties if you know what I mean. She is now a neat freak, so something must have sunk in after all these years-she is now what we consider middle age ---40--took a long time, but I guess all good things come in due time. My son is totally opposite (the oldest one) he has to have things organized and dishes washed and put away. Good luck with trying to break old habits. Have you tried the coke thing yet? I think you will like it, since now there are sweet and salty snacks every where these days. Hugs, Pat

Tillybud said...

I am definitely with you on this! We have the ongoing washing up rota debate too.

Tilly x

Gerushia's New World said...

This is so funny, Amy. I feel for you regarding the "doing dishes" dilemma. Our dishwasher broke a couple of years ago, and we haven't been able to get a new one yet. Now...all dishes are done by hand, and boy has it become a chore. Needless to say, we often use paper plates!!

Gerushia's New World

Carol said...

LOL!! You're a GREAT Mom, Amy!! Keep up the good work. xoxoxox

Lois said...

Good for you Amy!
You should never make a threat/promise/statement that you arn't prepared to back up with action so I am glad you took the affirmative action you did. It was the right thing to do.
I always wondered if summer holidays weren't too long for kids. I think that they need a routine during vacation same as during the school year.
Those are my thoughts on the subject anyways.