This week was spring break in Anchorage.  Even though we homeschool I decided that we could take the time somewhat off, and have extra time to play with friends and play video games (the library had How to Train Your Dragon, even though Xavier and I have both beat it, it’s still such a fun game, training the dragons and customizing them; plus I’m teaching Clara how to play and Xavier’s helping Austin win) and in general be lazy bums.  Last night, I look around the house and realized that maybe we had all been a bit too lazy.  The play room, I shake my head at how bad it got, I’m amazed Sam could get in and out of our front door.  The entry, well, Sam, Austin and Clara set up a large tea party there and the guests (stuffed animals) never left.  I had no interest in cleaning it up all my self, so I decided that today would be family cleaning day.

In theory, every Friday is family cleaning day.  It’s the day for the boys to do their household chores to earn spending money.  So today as cleaning day shouldn’t have been a huge surprise.  As I rallied the troops and told them how it was going down the first words out of everyone’s mouth were “Who’s coming over?”  I guess that’s the only time I make them clean,  when someone’s coming by.  Other than that I do it, or let things slide.  Have I been that bad for that long that the kid’s have even forgotten that we can have a sparkling clean house for ourselves?  (Not that it’s perfect, but I have to say, the house looks pretty darn good.  Just don’t enter my room, laundry has only been cleaned and laundry mountain is back in residence.  It’s spring break, I’ve been taking the week off.)  I’m a parent of three future adults.  My actions are teaching them what is normal.  Do I want them to grow up and think it’s normal only to clean the bathroom mirror when company is coming over?  Or do I want them to learn it’s nice to live in a nice house?  Also, do they realize that after they go to bed, I do clean, that’s why the toilets aren’t completely funky?  Or do they think that stuff just doesn’t get funky and doesn’t need to be cleaned?  I need to reinstate Friday chore day all over again, even on weeks we don’t have company.  I also need to make sure the kids are picking up after themselves and I’m not just doing it all after bed time..  I need to become a better parent, so that they can become better adults.  The sooner I start, the easier it will be.

I did reward the lot of us after we were done.  Clara and I had mani-pedis, and the boys even got to use the foot bath with the special stuff you put in it.  It’s a little thingamajig that you throw in and as it dissolves it makes fizz around your feet, it’s pretty cool stuff..

The amazing part about today is that it was easier than I anticipated.  I don’t clean when the kids are up because it often takes longer to tell them what to do than to just do it myself.  But today, we got a lot done.  More than I could have by myself.  Maybe they just needed it explained this many number of times.  And when we were done they all got why we do this for ourselves as well as company.  When we relaxed in a living room that just felt more relaxing because everything was put away and cleaned.  When they played with their Legos that they could find because they weren’t spread out all over the room.  Maybe this will be the time it clicks (with all of us frankly, I’ll admit I’m not the best housekeeper in the world, things like cleaning the bathroom mirrors only for company is totally all on my head).  But if it’s not, I will strive to be a better parent/example until it does.

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