One Month Down…

This is what my youngest’s room looked like almost every day in September without me having to say a word. Wish I had started this with them years ago!

Hey friends!

Today is an update for my 12 Month Experiment to Rid My House of Youth Entitlement inspired by Kay Wills Wyma’s book “Cleaning House.” If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here to read my original post.

Well, I have to say I’m impressed with my youngest two. You would have thought they would be the ones to struggle with daily making of beds and de-cluttering of floors. But no. As a matter of fact, “Eight” and “Ten” each missed only one day (not counting the day that I completely overslept…past the bus arrival and everything! I gave a freebie on that day. My bad, after all.)

 

And the score is…Little kids kicked big kids’ butts!

The teens…well…they were another story. “Seventeen” started off strong. As I mentioned in a previous post, she was up at 5:40 a.m. on the first day of school to make sure she had her room clean. Impressive start. And she did well for a while but fell off the wagon two thirds of the way through. “Fifteen” had a slow start…strong middle and then fell off again until the last day of the month when dad saw his pig-pen…I mean bedroom…and suffice it to say that Bill’s scary eyebrows made an appearance and I passed the message along. It went something like, “Tell Fourteen that if he wants to celebrate his fifteenth birthday tomorrow, I’d better be able to see his floor when I get home from work tonight.” And as if by magic…it was clean by bedtime. I was waiting to let the money (or lack thereof) do the talking. But Bill’s scary eyebrows did the trick.

In the end, the youngest two have made bedroom maintenance a habit. The older two are working on it and probably didn’t like their brothers getting significantly more money than they did this month. And I have to add that even on the days when Seventeen didn’t get credit because her bed wasn’t made or there was laundry on the floor…her bedroom was cleaner this month than it’s ever been and that is a success story, even if it doesn’t show up on the chart. (Nice job darlin ;)) Now we are on to Kitchen month.

They still need to keep up with bedrooms but now we are adding kitchen jobs. I chose 4 after-dinner jobs that I wanted them to work on and I will rotate them through-out the month…one job for a week then switch. Next week we will add meal planning and prep to our tasks. The first time they each make a dinner, I will partner with them. The next week they will be teamed up (Seventeen with Ten and Fifteen with Eight). The third week I’ll let most of them do it solo. Should be interesting and I’ll keep you posted.

I know a number of you are doing this along with me so please feel free to update us on your progress or share any ideas you have!

I’m off on a 4-day get-away with hubby (long over-due and greatly anticipated!). Fall foliage…here we come! I’ll check in when I get back. In the meantime, hope you’re enjoying crisp fall weather, pumpkin spice lattes and maybe even some football (or at least the football snacks…that’s what I show up for ;))

Love,

rebekah

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I’m Robbing My Kids

Recently I started reading “Cleaning House, A Mom’s 12 Month Experiment to Rid her House of Youth Entitlement” by Kay Wills Wyma and I’m inspired. I’m only a few chapters in but I wanted to get started in September so I’m jumping into my own 12-month experiment without yet knowing the end-game.

But here’s the gist: Most kids these days walk around with a sense of entitlement. I have literally heard from one of my cherubs, after I asked him to clean up his dishes, “But you’re the mom, that’s your job.” Yeah. Now, I am not someone who has always done everything for my kids. I am the kind of mom who works to train up independent kids who can do for themselves. My teens do their own laundry, budget their money and buy their own clothes, pay for their cell phones and monthly charges, etc. I don’t do homework or projects for my kids. I only help them if they really need help and then I only help, I don’t do it for them. Our home is not one that revolves around the kids and while they know they are loved, they also know they are not the center of the universe. Still…there is some amount of laziness and entitlement that resides in their precious little hearts.

This is what Kay Wills Wyma had discovered in her children as well and she set out to do something about it. I identify with her in many ways. She’s a self-proclaimed, “mother of five, a recovering enabler, finagler, procrastinator, and charter member of the Women’s Auxiliary for the Organizationally-Challenged.” Yeah, I totally relate. I think I’m all those things (except the mother of five part…I’m a mother of four).

In a car-pool epiphany she realized her children didn’t know how to do basic things like thoroughly clean a bathroom, change sheets, and make (and clean up after) a full meal. She realized it was her job to teach them these things rather than do these things for them. And most importantly, she realized that by doing too many things for her kids (often because it’s easier and with better results) she was robbing her kids of the satisfaction of knowing they were capable. She was subconsciously telling them, “I don’t think you can do it.”  Wow. That really hit me. How many times do I step in and do things because I can do them better and quicker? What message am I sending my eight yr. old when I take over his task because I’m in a hurry? Ouch. I am robbing my kids!

I had never looked at it that way before but it’s very accurate. And I’m not doing it any more. I’ve been very conscious of it with my younger two, since reading about Wyma’s epiphany. It takes a re-training of my brain but I’m going to change my approach because I want my kids to know that they can tackle tough challenges and I don’t want them to work at something half-heartedly while waiting on a rescue from me!

So this month is the first of our 12-month experiment. Here’s a picture of the 12 things Kay Wyma decided to focus on with her crew. Mine may look different but I’m starting with bedrooms, just like she did.

Excerpt from pg. 11 of Cleaning House by Kay Wyma

This month, each of my kids will get a jar in their rooms with 30 one-dollar bills in it. (You can amend this to the ages of your kids, by the way. I won’t be paying for anything for my kids, they will have to use their newfound money to buy snacks, movie tickets, etc. so I don’t mind shifting that money from my budget into this “program.” But you could do quarters for small kids, etc.)

The focus for September is simple. Before they leave for school, their beds should be made and all clutter off their floors. If those things are not accomplished, I will take their dollar for that day. (They don’t get to spend their money till the end of the month, btw.)

Next month is on cooking and cleaning the kitchen. The kids will be responsible for cooking on a few nights a week. They will have to plan for their recipes, shop, cook and clean. This will be in addition to still keeping their rooms clean so if they don’t keep up with both tasks, they will again lose their daily dollar.

That’s as far as I’ve gotten. I don’t know what the rest will entail but I’ll keep you all posted on our progress. And I hope some of you will join me. Let me know if you’re going to take the 12-month challenge with me! 

I, for one, am actually very excited about this. I feel like it gives me tangible ways to be a better mom and I can use all the help I can get! Thanks for reading!

Love,

rebekah

Updates – Further posts on the Twelve Month Experiment:

 –True Self-Esteem

-One Month Down

-Mom Gets an F

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