Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Friday Is Dooms Day!

So, lately I feel like I can't handle things. I can't handle dinner. I can't handle dishes. I can't handle helping with homework. For Pete's Sake, we already know that I can't handle taking the Christmas Tree down. Ugh! So, I have placed myself on restriction and set my own goals to get things organized.

Anyway, I guess during this time I have become a little bit lax with the kids and their responsibilities, since I really haven't been able to do all of mine. But here's where I DRAW THE LINE!!!

The other night, I went down to look for something in my boys' room (they are 10 1/2 & 14). I don't usually venture into their territory, cuz they're not babies and they don't need me to come in there often. Anyway, I went in to look for something and was greeted by a surprise. Yes. Our 4LeggedCreature had left a little surprise in there. Of course my Mom Alarm went off. Y'know the one. The one where you start rattling off your children's FULL NAMES, I.E. Mary Catherine Gallagher - Get Down Here! I get after them to get this crap cleaned up now - literally!

Then, being it was Monday night - our usual night set aside for Family Night, I decided to change things up. My daughter asked if we'd be playing any board games that night or making any special treats for family night (like usual). I replied (still annoyed with the "Landmine" in the bedroom) that No, We will not be having a FUN family night. Instead this will be a State-Of-The-House Address. They sat at the counter as I dished up their dinner. Then, while they were eating I proceeded with an impromptu presentation of sorts, including a poster board and everything.

I scribble RESPONSIBILITY in big black letters. I ask if someone would like to define it. They are ALL spelling bee champs. They all know that I know that they know what the word means. So, of course to avoid further increase of vocal volume from the female parental unit, they each give a definition. I ask them to list what they think their responsibilities in the house should be. I then tell them what I know they are capable of. Then I asked each one of them if it would be fair to expect only one of them to clean up the house while the rest of us played. No one seemed to like that idea. I asked them why. They finally came to the conclusion that we ALL live in the house, and therefore we ALL have to take responsibility! Brilliant, I tell them. Just Brilliant. I tell them I wish I'd have thought of that sooner. They look at me like, "Okay, mom...we get the point."

But wait! That's not all! There's more. The last time we went through this, me being Mama-Tough-Love, I restricted them from the TV, computer and video games and even had the neighbor keep their controllers hostage at her house so they couldn't sneak and play while I was gone. (Thank you Desperate Housewife.) I thought for sure that would straighten them right out, since they act like they will DIE if they don't get to play everyday. But no. Desperate Housewife & Mechanic Man had their controllers for almost an entire month!!! No. I knew this time it had to be different. I knew the stakes HAD to be higher. But I also wanted to somehow make the "punishment" fit the "crime". This brought me back to 4LeggedCreature.

I reviewed, as part of their responsibilities, their commitment to the pooch before we agreed on getting said pooch. I said, "Do you remember who said 'if we get a dog, I promise to feed it! I promise to give it water! I promise to take it for walks! I promise to clean up any accidents!' Do you remember who said that?" They all answered, "We did" in unison. I replied, "That is correct." I went on to tell them that my observations of their chores and the state of the house in general was in indicator that not only are they not living up to their responsibilities, but they are neglecting their dog. Furthermore, I said, "If you can't manage your own responsibilities, then you should not be given the privilege of having a dog. I will give you until Friday to turn things around, or I will be getting rid of the dog!" I know - Knife to the Back. (Hey, Desperate Housewife - wouldn't LittleAngel just love a dog???)

At any rate, jaws dropped and tears were shed. Even I did my best to choke my tears back so they wouldn't see. But honestly. I HAD to do it, right?

So, on the one hand I feel sort of bad. But on the other, I feel like I have accomplished something. Who knows? Maybe on Friday the Post will read, "One Puggle: to Someone Who has the Patience to Train and Take Care of Her Better than We Obviously Have."

What things have worked in your house as far as responsibility goes? I need your tips. Keep in mind I am a single mom, working 8 hours a day outside of the home. My kids are 14, 10, & 9.

Oh - and I did end up making Chocolate Chip Cookies after dinner - while they cleaned. I think i did it more for me. Y'know...redeeming myself from that earlier "mom alarm".

Poor thing. It really isn't her fault. Really.


Louise said...

I KNOW exactly how you're feeling. The other day I took the plunge and confiscated my son's favourite Christmas DVD (it was being frowned upon by my husband anyway, so it was a natural target). He couldn't believe I'd done it, and even now, almost two weeks later he still doesn't believe it made it into the trash. It did. Believe me! Good luck with your crusade.

Tracy P. said...

Hi Emma! I noticed at BATW you needed some love today, so I came for the giggle I always get. Symbiosis at its best!

You are so adding fuel to my fire! My kids want a dog. Yes, I tell them, they can absolutely have one. When they have picked up their rooms and also their belongings around the house for like two years without being told, we will definitely have that discussion. You are a good mom, Emma P.

Debbi said...

aw, poor poochie.
But you did good-- I'm supporting you on this one.

Thankfully, mine are still so little that I can threaten to 'take them to jail' or 'call Santa', and usually they turn around. So, I'll bookmark this and keep it handy for a few years down the road!

RhondaLue said...

Emma you are amazing. You are stretched so thin and you still muster the energy to have a "call to arms" so to speak. I'm so impressed.

I've been without a chore chart for months due to constant complaints about it being unfair and not evened out right. I told 14 yr old to make one he feels is fair, have the other kids sign off and we'd start using it. Hmmmm still no chart and it's been months. (I think they tricked me, lol) I've been carrying most of the workload because kids are so busy with school, after school activitites, church stuff, work for oldest girl, volunteering, blah blah blah. Probably one of the reasons I'm so overwhelmed. Carting them around constantly along with all the dr's appts I have (me and kids) and doing ALL the work myself. Shoot, Im a SAHM and I'm stretched too thin..can't imagine how much thinner you are (in more ways than one!)ha ha But on the way to school today I told 14 yr old the chart happens today or I will do it myself and they won't like it.

Anyway, desperate times call for desperate measures. I bet they'll get their hineys in gear to save the dog so it won't come to getting rid of her. But if you have to....well, you need to think of your sanity before all else.
You rock Emma. Keep on keepin' on.

Two Blessings From Above said...

I know the feeling I don't know how you do it working out of the home too. I am having a hard time this past week and I am not working out of the home 8 hours a day. I wish I could help with ideas on responsibility. My boys are 15 and theirs is just getting their homework done. Things need to change in our home too. I hope it gets better for you!

ann said...

you are doing great!

they will get things done by friday!

Ruthykins said...

oooh. getting rid of the dog would be a HUGE punishment. i think you know where i stand on this idea.

Paige said...

I sure hope they get things done, and that you do not feel like you have to carry through with this.

After all, the dog has not done anything wrong and she will be the most punished one with losing her family if you have to do it

purplehaze said...

I don't think there is an answer. It is a never ending battle that for me I never win! My youngest son ask what he could do to make some money, I said do things without being ask to do it and maybe I would give you something in return. It last about two seconds! LOL Good luck and I hope you don't have to get rid of fourlegged creature she is too cute!!

Cindy said...

When my kids were younger, I ended up giving up!(not good...but my problem!)
Be consistent, it's really hard, but it works.
In hindsight, I wish I had....

Cookies always make everything better :)

The Willeyes said...

You mean you don't have a magic maid/fairy that comes and cleans your house either. HUH! I better tell my kids that too.

Maybe make a poster of the dog for sale to a good owneron Friday, just for good measure:)

You are doing great and have "normal" kids-just like everyone else. Hang in there--you have the right idea!

Megs said...

Dang it. I keep dreaming of the day when my kids will be old enough to clean up after themselves and then I realize... just because kids are old enough to doesn't mean they wil.

DANG IT. WEll you better figure out the secret and tell me because I'm gonna need to know.

And we're never going to have a dog. Ever. I really hope anyway. :-)

Dianne said...

Been there, done that. Except ours involved a guniea(sp) pig. And I did take it right back to the store. That was years ago and I still hear about it. I tell them, hey, it was your fault.

Nana said...

Visiting from BATW. Ummmm I don't know what to tell ya.

"The Queen in Residence" said...

First I so think that all working mothers need an ALice to come home to....

A few years back I took the "Love & Logic" parenting course through Jordan SChool District. It was so empowering as a parent, no more threats, no more yelling, just this is what I am going to do, you can do this or this but these are the consequences. It has been amazing to see my kids discipline themselves cause they do not want to deal with mom, she is so mean. No I am not I just say what I mean and do what I say.
Example: My daughter has a nice room and she was not putting things away. I asked her to clean her room and she asked for the weekend to get it done. I agreed only after she knew that Monday was the day and once she stepped out that door I would clean it. Monday came and 2 large bags later filled with toys, clothes and what not I went to the DI and dropped her things off. Needless to say that she was livid when she got home and realized how much was gone, I also took all the money that was laying around and not put away as my tip for having cleaned her room. That I think was the breaking point as she was saving up for something and that just set her back a bit. Now I only have to ask once and she is up there cleaning/hiding things. I further drove the point in by taking my son out for ice cream (his room is always immaculate) since I had just aquirred some pocket change.

Anyway, look into this course cause it was so great, the best thing we can do is make our homes as close to real life as we can. That way our kids learn consequences in a more loving environment, not when jobs, homes, lives are at stake cause we have done it for them all their lives. Let me know if you go, there is a discount for couples (my hubby hates these things but will make the changes he see's me implementing) and I would love to go again, each time I learn something new that I can use with my kids.

"The Queen in Residence" said...

Sorry that was so long.......I hope you made it through it.:>

Susie said...

I think this is a great idea.

Debbie said...

You are my hero! I need to have this conversation with my kids. I am so sick of the non stop trail of junk around the house. ARGGGH! Nice touch with the poster board!

Tulsi said...

I keep telling my 15 year old that when she brought our Border Collie home from school when we moved her 2 1/2 years ago, she was in charge of her. It has whittled down to feeding and watering her and patting her on the head. No playing, no complete love. I told her I couldn't see her a 10 priority and needed to find a loving family. She freaks............ then comes the love,,,,,,,,,,,,,, until it gets cold again and she is living at the friends house practically. And it isn't her (dog) fault either.

okeydokeyifine said...

chore chart time:
Each chore has a card attached that explains the expectations for that chore. Plain simple terms. And a demonstration is given to all who will be doing that chore so they can SEE how to accomplish said chore.

A reward system could be used such as sticker, tokens, money, or no reward can be given as it is just a chore expected to be completed by those who make up the household.

Think about how different life would be without the pup. If it is better than it is now...Out the door. If the pup is a valued member of the household and a joy to have, then work a chore around the upkeep of said pup.

Poor Puggle.... talking about her like she doesn't matter....

You are the head of the household and it can run smoothly. Not like a business but as a home, with all therein contributing the care and feeding of the home.

Good Luck!

And No, Otis does not need a playmate!

Holli and Billy said...

Good for you Emma! Sometimes you need to put the fear of Jesus into the kids. As frustrating as these times may be, you really are teaching your kids such good work habits. Billy grew up with having no chores, and I have had to train him since we have been married. So good for you teaching them now instead of letting them wait for someone else to do everything. You are a great mom!

TravAndToni said...

If it's any consolation... your State of the Household address at least sparked a neuron in your oldest. My son asked him two days in a row if he wanted to 'hang out', and your son told him both times that he couldn't becase he had to get his chores done.

Sadly enough (for me anyway) I am in the same place with my two (SPOILED) children. Sans the pouch though, so I don't have any good incentive to inspire them to pick up their dang dirty clothes from the bathroom floor.