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.