The same kind and intelligent friend that talked me into “blogging” almost a year ago, also gave me a good piece of advice (same girls weekend trip I think). “When dealing with your kids, remember to set them up for success.” Now, did she mean to make their life as easy as I possibly could? Pave all the roads that lay ahead of them? No, she simply meant that you want them to succeed, so just give them the right tools to do so…
Well, people, some tools were given to the girls a few weeks ago!
This is the War: Laundry
I wash and fold/hang-up clothes 2-3 times a week, take them to their room and ask them to put them up where they belong. This part they get (mostly) except, most of the time, the said clean clothes sit in the basket and are dug through (with dirty clothes filling up another basket, sometimes the same basket) for several days and several reminders….
Dirty clothes basket with clean clothes mixed all in because it’s just easier than putting them back where they go once they were not the “chosen outfit” for the day. Ok, this is really were I start running out from behind the bunker with gun ‘a-blazin”. Why don’t you just throw some dirt on the lettuce I just washed or bath in dirty water. It is my breaking point. That’s all there is to it. I can really over look a lot, but when I find a perfectly clean pair of socks or shirt at the bottom of the dirty clothes basket…..ARGH!!!!
Peace Treaty : Minimize the situation
So this is how it all went down and where we on DAY 2….
Yesterday, while getting ready for church, I had to run up stairs to remind the girls that church started in 15 minutes. No one was dressed or showered (they had been given 45 mins), the beds weren’t made (neither was mine- I’ll give’em that one), the closets…clothes shoved in ever corner, clean and dirty all mixing it up like they were at a frat party, and I was so mad and upset I actually just sent the kids to church with LOML because I had ABSOLUTELY HAD IT and I knew that I would just be sitting in church stewing and not focusing on what I should have been. Now, I am not “mommy dearest” , this is NOT the first time I have yelled, (yes, I said yelled) at my girls about taking care of their things/clothes.
They left, I sat there and that’s when it hit me- they need to learn “how to”, not be criticized because of my short comings (Do you see how I am admitting failure here? I think this is a big step for a parent.) I have always told them, “do this” and just expected them to do it when it came to taking care of their things. ( I need to say here that I don’t think I am materialistic and don’t want my children to be this way either, but it’s more of a respect and caring for what is yours whether it be a small keep sake treasure or a nice outfit someone bought you.)
For sanity sake (mine, not theirs) severe action had to be taken.
I spent the hour I should have been sitting in church packing up the girls clothes and storing them under their bed. ALL OF THEM. Minus two school uniforms, sweater, jacket, two pairs of socks, two pairs of underwear, a pair of tights, an outfit for the weekend, and the clothes on their back.
This was not really a punishment as it might seem, but trying to start them at an easier level of learning so they wouldn’t be overwhelmed. They have just what they need for right now, they are learning to wash their clothes and what all is involved in it, AND- they are actually HAPPY about this situation. That night we had our first lesson in using the washing machine and dryer (They both were taking notes that are now taped to the wall in the laundry room for reference later.) and they actually had to hand wash something. The second night, because Baby Girl 1 didn’t like the skirt I put in her closet that she could wear to school the next day, so she was in there washing and drying her pants.
Over the course of the past few weeks they have done ok and “earned” back a few outfits and such. However, the newness of it all has definitely worn off, but not gone away completely.
Skip forward to this morning…
Due to LOML going on a canoeing trip over the weekend and me being single mom to three, I didn’t make it all the way up to the girls’ room as often as I should have over the weekend to check-in on the clothes situation…HUGE MISTAKE on my part. So,”back to the drawing board” as they say. Back to basics and I will try to be more on my game. Spent the morning moving a dresser from attic to Baby Girl 1’s closet trying to give her more storage space to “organize”. Trying to remember to keep in all in perspective and praise them for the good job they are doing with this “life lesson”, minus the hiccups. After all, we all have to get over the hiccups eventually.
3 thoughts on “Set them up for SUCCESS”
Well, this is exactly the same scenario played out at my house with their cousins about 20 years ago. They finally “got it” when they had no more clean laundry and none in sight from dear old Mom. I would become apoplectic when I figured out that they were not putting clean clothes away – just throwing them back into the laundry because THEY DIDN’T WANT TO HANG IT BACK UP.
The BEST thing that ever happened was when the Little Prince started playing football in high school. His COACHES told the team that they alone were responsible for WASHING all practice and game uniforms – Moms were NOT allowed to wash, dry, or run over to school any missing jerseys. He’s been doing his laundry ever since. Not to say that he hasn’t left clean laundry in the dryer for DAYS on end – but hey – it’s clean!
It IS amusing to see how anal my girls are about laundry and cleaning now that they have their own households to run!
You are BRILLIANT and I am totally stealing this idea! I LOVE it. Yes this is the one thing that makes me yell at my kids too. LOL! Yep I yell too. Not just yell but flipping lose it. Haha!
You are pretty much a genius. I only WISH my mother-in-law had done this when my husband was little. I am still dealing with the repercussions of her mistake. Although we don’t have kids now, I pretty much feel like I do. I do my own laundry about once a week, and it’s usually one load. HIS, on the other hand, is at LEAST two loads, and I know good and darn well that he didn’t wear everything in the basket. It’s just easier to throw the shirt in the basket than put it back up when he tried it on and didn’t want to wear it (or only wore it for 15 minutes after getting out of the shower before bed). Grrrr…. I’m definitely stealing your method whenever we do have kids so no one else has to go through this! Haha