Mom gets an “F”

I really wanted to be able to give you a glowing update on our 12 Month Experiment to Rid the Home of Youth Entitlement. Our first month went so well. I had high hopes for month number two: In the Kitchen! (Click here if you want to catch up on what I’m talking about.)

But October started with Bill and I away on vacation. I had organized a bit and given them each some kitchen jobs to do but without me here to supervise…not much happened. Then I gave in to teen apathy. My younger two did a stellar job again this month on keeping bedrooms picked up. As a matter of fact, they both kept every dollar! Not one day slipped by without them making their beds and keeping rooms clutter-free. But the teens? Not so much. I’m sure it’s a combination of simply being teenagers, having busier lives than their little brothers and well…laziness. But whatever it was, I let it suck the wind out of my sails.

I thought, “What’s the use of organizing kitchen jobs and meals if they won’t even make their beds and pick up their laundry? If they won’t buy into A, they’re certainly not going to buy into B. 

I wallowed in self-pity for a little while. But I’m over it now. I think I’m back to an “As long as you live under my roof…” mind-set. I am going to adjust how I introduce new tasks. I still want them to do task A as they begin to work on task B, but for now, I’m not going to make their dollar dependent on it. I want them learning each new skill and I guarantee that if their bedroom is a mess, they will feel like there’s no point in doing the new thing since they won’t get their dollar anyway.

Eventually, I’ll get back to the point of layering the jobs. But for now, for the sake of moving forward, I’m adjusting my plan. So if they don’t pick up their rooms daily, it won’t sabotage the newest thing we are doing. It will just mean they live in a mess until the weekend when I make them clean it. “As long as you live under my roof…” yet again. I’m sure they will complain but I don’t really care. I have a bigger picture to look at. I can battle once-a-week. I’m up for that. (It’s called the, “You don’t have to do anything I ask and I don’t have to let you use the electronics I own. Your choice…” plan.)

I read the following today in Kay Wyma’s book (the whole inspiration for this adventure…thanks Kay ;)) in reference to her teens complaining about having to clean the bathroom:

Maybe that’s part of the equipping thing too. Not giving in to the inevitable bucking. I guess a child is kind of like a wild stallion, desperately trying to ditch the uncomfortable saddle of responsibility. Yearning for freedom to roam the range. But carefree wandering is not reality for most adults. And if at some point in their lives, my kids decide to walk the vagabond way, at least they will know how to clean a service-station bathroom.  –Cleaning House pg. 123


Amen sista! I want to know that I did everything I could to teach them the skills they will need as adults. I won’t force them to do anything but I can make life very boring for them if they choose not to do as I ask. Thanks for the pep talk today Kay! (That’s the cool thing about books, isn’t it? The words keep reaching people long after the author’s fingers stop flying across the keyboard.)

So while I take responsibility for what my teens would call an “Epic fail” on my part in the month of October, I won’t let it happen again. I’m back on task and looking forward to getting things done this month. And just for fun, I’ve chosen to make this month, “Clean the Bathroom” month. Kids…get your toilet brushes ready!

How about you, friends? I know many of you started this journey with me. How’s it going? What’s working? What’s not? Please share. We can all learn from each other. 🙂



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  1. Ewwwwh….luv it….bathroom month!! lol Great idea, maybe I will follow. We fell off the bandwagon a while back, but I am with ya on the “still under my roof” -cause that’s what I’m back too. You will do it cause Mama said so! I luved the bucking stallion analogy -SO very true & a great reminder for us moms to keep “training them up in the way they should go” and someday we will see the fruits of our labor! I can just hear our kids someday telling thier kids “well when I was young my mom taugh me to be responsible.” We really are leaving a legacy for them.
    Thank you for the encouragement!
    I haven’t had a chance to read your book yet – so let my mom-in-law borrow it first – she said she stayed up wayyyyyy to late reading it because she couldn’t put it down. She finished it & said it was soooo good! I can’t wait to read now!
    Thanks for all the great mom encouragment we find here! Keep up the good work!

  2. We are struggling to stay consistent too. The boys went an entire week without picking up their room because it was trashed after friends came over. This was a good lesson in having friends help pick up before they leave rather than saying, “It’s OK, we’ll do it later!” Well a week, and $7 later (each), I had to step in and help get things back under control. They are JUST like me. When things are too far gone and overwhelming, they have a hard time getting back on track. So that is a lesson in asking for help when we are overwhelmed…something I have had to learn the hard way.

    In October my kids started helping with the cooking and it is something we’ll continue since it cuts down on the complaints about what I make for dinner. When it’s their turn, they get to decide what we eat. We skipped a week of them helping and the complaints started back up. I pointed out that they haven’t been making meals and they replied, “It’s because you didn’t make us!” Oh my. It all falls back on mom. Is this entitlement thing ever going to get better?

    This month my kids are going to work on their writing. They got report cards and have excellent grades in every subject but writing. I’m not saying that they have to be good at everything, but I do feel that writing is an important skill and since I know they have the ability, I want to help them grow in this area. We’re not exactly sure HOW they will work on writing. I’m hoping to find something they enjoy writing about or tap into some intrinsic motivation that will get them out of the “I hate writing” funk. Any ideas?

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