Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why am I raising such slobs?

I noticed in recent postings that I have gotten away from my blog's purpose, so I thought I would try to get back on track today.  The question that is forefront in my mind right now is: Why am I raising such slobs?  Last month I went through and did a deep cleaning of my house - something I try to do at least once each year.  I missed last year due to surgery, so this year was a catch-up.  The one thing that I noticed was how sloppy my girls (especially the younger two) really are.  They can't find their towel hook in the bathroom to save their lives and apparently the nice big laundry hamper in their room is much harder to use than the floor.  If you ever want to know what they've done in a day you only have to look at my house and follow their trails!  It has gotten out of hand and Charles and I have decided it's finally time to deal with it.  How?  With lots of consistency and perseverance on my part.  Yuck!  One of my least favorite things is following the girls all over making sure they do what they're supposed to be doing.  There are so many other things I would rather be doing!  But, if I want them to change their bad habits I have to be consistent.  After all, they didn't train themselves to be slobs - I did it by cleaning up after them every time they made a mess for the last 9 years! 
Some of the things we're having success with are:
*  Chore charts: Each of the girls is responsible for a certain number of chores each week.  Some of these are items they receive an allowance for doing (things that help me out) and others are expected for them to do as part of the family (picking up their rooms, putting toys away, etc.).  I have the charts hung out in plain sight so we see them every day and check their progress.  Since the girls, at 10, 8, and 7, have different abilities they have different jobs.  Emily is expected to empty the dishwasher and clean the cat boxes, both easy things for her to complete.  Abby is "the vacuumer."  She has one room each day that she is responsible for which is easy to keep up with.  She is also in charge of feeding and watering the kitties, which she loves, so there's a little bit of fun there for her!  Morgan is expected to vacuum the kitchen twice and run the Swiffer once in a week, as well as keeping the art supplies neat since she uses them the most.  No one is asked to shoulder too much of the burden and I get the added benefit of having help with tasks that are painful for me to physically do.
*  Regular "check-ups:"  I am learning that when I send the girls up to clean their rooms I can't take their word that they actually did what they were asked.  They like to clean the middle of the room by throwing stuff in the closet, under the bed, or in a container of some sort.  So I have been coming in and pointing out the deficiencies and making them keep at it until everything is in its place.  This keeps the room from getting out of hand.  We're doing the same with the art area and play area downstairs.  They get a chance to clean up then I come check and usually end up making them do part of it the right way. 
*  Be Specific:  We are learning to verbalize our expectations to the girls.  If I want the books cleaned up I need to tell them "Go put your books away" or "Put your dirty clothes in the hamper."  I can't tell Abby and Morgan "Pick up your room" without qualification.  It's overwhelming for them, especially when their room is messy.  Giving them small, easily achieved goals helps keep them on track. 
*  Be Consistent and Persevere!:  The most important step to "un-slobbing" our children is consistency and perseverance on our part.  We have to remind them of their chores, we have to make sure their messes get picked up, we have to check the towels and dirty clothes, etc.  If we take one day off they will break the good habit and go back to their old sloppy ways.  Charles has reminded me more than once that they didn't get this way overnight and the fix isn't going to happen overnight either.  It's good to remember - especially on those days that there are Abby and Morgan trails running through the house.  It's a marathon, not a sprint!  I am confident that one day we will look back and fondly remember their little cleaning foibles... one day far in the future!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love is...

Love is...
  • A nice hot cup of coffee every morning when I wake up, fixed by the man who still makes my heart smile.
  • An evening of fun with my girls and hubby: anything from pizza and a movie to games or a night out together.
  • Baking with Emily... or enjoying what she bakes on her own!
  • Talking with Abby... more accurately listening to Abby while she's talking to me!
  • Coloring with Morgan.
  • Family in all its forms and functions. 
  • Time with my besties doing just about anything.  We have found we can make the simplest things fun!
  • Digging into God's word with my Bible study group - sharing His message and in turn being taught so much.
  • Writing.
  • Cuddles from children.
  • Listening and sharing dreams with my one and only.
  • Opening the Bible and discovering God's love for me on every page.
  • Realizing that Jesus' sacrifice was the largest outpouring of love, mercy, and grace this world has ever seen.