Cleaning Up After Yourself

Saturday night found Paul and I engaged in some heavy discipline with our kids.  5 of the kids were playing downstairs when we heard the baby screaming bloody murder, which sent us running downstairs to see what was going on.  Turns out…he’s two and wasn’t getting his way, therefore you would have thought he was dying LOL.  

Anyway, while down there making sure Noah was OK, we realized that the room was a mess.  Before you say, of course the kids are going to make a mess, let me say that even Paul got upset.  I am OCD about tidiness, I realize that about myself so I try not to get up in arms when the kids are messier than I would like.  Paul isn’t tidy at all (sorry babe).  When he also get riled up, then you know things are bad.

There were video game disks on the floor, controllers laying all over the dresser and on the window sill (in the 90 degree sun), Nintendo DSs and tablets laying on the floor, amongst all the other toys they had played with scattered in the room.  As you can imagine with 6 children, we don’t have a ton of extra money.  So, we really try to teach the kids to take care of their things (as I believe all parents should, but some don’t), as we don’t have the money to just replace things.  

So thousands of dollars worth of technology just thrown around, not cared for and waiting to be stepped on or melted.  Needless to say, this led to a nearly hour long discussion with the kids and a very early Saturday bedtime (830).  This is probably the one thing we have spent the most time talking to the kids about over the last 4 years.  Telling them what we expect from them, helping them to understand how much money these things cost and if they don’t care for them then they just won’t have them anymore.  

Every single time I tell the kids to clean up, they roll their eyes at me. It doesn’t matter if it is two things or if it is a whole room.  They get so mad at me about it.  Yes, I have a desire to keep things tidy, but I also have a desire to teach my kids to clean up after themselves.  Paul said something to our 11 year old that has really got me thinking for the past 36 hours.  

After the two of them calculated the amount of time it would have actually taken for them to put the controllers and games away where they belonged, which we decided was less than a minute total.  Paul pointed out that if between the four kids, they would have invested that one minute of time it would have saved us over 7 hours of our family’s time.  An hour of lecture time, multiplied by the seven people who were in the room for the lecture.

Stop waiting for other people to come by and clean up after you.  It’s not fair, in fact it’s pretty selfish.  Yes, you may not care about being tidy, but I guarantee that you don’t want to live amongst piles of dirty dishes and clothing.  So who IS taking care of that?  Somebody is.  Think about that for just a minute.  Taking the extra five seconds to do it for yourself, can save someone else minutes and hours in their day of cleaning up after you.  Even if they don’t clean up after you, the time you’d save them asking you to clean up after yourself and dealing with the eye rolls, the snarky comments and the delayed reaction.

It’s time to start caring about how your actions effect others.  When we teach this to our children at 2, 6, 7, 8, and 11, 13 (not present for this particular lecture), hopefully we are helping them, their future spouse and future children.  Not to mention all their parents, siblings, teachers and friends right now.  Take the extra few seconds to clean up after yourself, so someone else doesn’t feel like they have to!  

  

Published by Making Time For Me

Wife, Mother, Step Mom, Control Freak. 7 years into my second marriage and dedicated to making my home a chemical free safe haven <3

3 thoughts on “Cleaning Up After Yourself

  1. This is my ongoing battle. Now my kids are only 1.5, 3.5, and 7 but I will battle it out all the same. I inform my 3.5 and 7 year old, if you’re not going to pick up your mess, then you are leaving it for others to do that did not make the mess. ‘Since you are so considered with life being fair, let’s consider how fair that is to mommy?’

    This Christmas was the biggest all time room clean up stand off I have ever known. My parents and grandparents being in town didn’t make it any easier. I asked B to pick up his room really quick, and I promptly sat on the couch in the living room. Ofcourse his grandparents are going “It’s okay, he doesn’t have to clean.” “I think you are being a bit hard on him.” and so on, as if I were beating him or had raised my voice in anyway.

    Anyway with protection of the grandparent forces alike B managed to hide in his room and play for 4 hours, only peeking out to see if I was still on the couch…at bed time the room was messier than it started. ::sigh:: You win some you lose some.

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  2. I think it is a great and important lesson for the kids. I think there are two kind of messes from an adult perspective: First there is the real and proper mess that needs to be addressed. And then there is what we might see as a mess but the kids (still young) see it as a creation… That is when you need to bite your tongue and just let it be for a little while before making them tidy up. Sometimes it’s hard to see what is what. But with stuff on the floor that does not belong on the floor it’s easy. I just had mine tidy up their desks… they both thought it was not an issue but, oh boy, let me tell you Pisa tower is nothing compared to what was piled up on each desk… Now they can actually see the desk and they realize that it is actually a good thing to have space on it and being able to use it…

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