Thursday, February 5, 2009

Does The Punishment Fit The Crime?

Am I the only mother out there that feels that sometimes, it just isn't worth it to teach those darling children a valuable life lesson? As I try to teach my kids to be valuable, responsible, contributing citizens, I often feel like all I'm really doing is driving myself crazy!!!!

I have been trying harder to get my kids to take some responsibility around the house. How fun. Ideally, before school, the kids will get dressed, make their beds, clean their rooms, practice their piano, finish their homework, eat, brush their teeth, and help clean up the kitchen. That may sound like a lot, but please be aware, that I am doing most of the work... making lunches, doing dishes, doing hair, constantly remind them of what is next up on their to-do list, etc. Also, when they are moving like they should, we can get it all done with time to spare for cartoons. However, when they are not moving like they should (which, is a majority of the time), I spend most of my mornings yelling and making threats. Yesterday was just such an unproductive morning.

After begging, pleading, and whatever else mom's do in the morning as they try and get the kids ready for school, I finally told them (and by them, I mostly mean the twins) that I was sick of them leaving their work for me to finish. Therefore, if they left for school without the kitchen being clean, I would have to clean it, but that would mean, I would run out of time to do my jobs, so they would have to do it. As it happens, yesterday was laundry day. So, true to my word, I spent all day washing the clothes so they had a nice big pile to fold when they got home. I told them they didn't have to fold mine and Dave's. After hours of weeping and wailing, and an occasional fold, B announced they were done. I would like to show what he considered done:

I think the only clothes that had actually been folded were the ones that I had walked by and taken care of. When I told him this wasn't done, he let loose telling me that I never help, etc. I reminded him that part of this exercise was to show him that I already do plenty around the house so that when I ask him to do small jobs, he shouldn't complain because it is still nothing compared to my jobs. I then started looking at the "folded" piles and noticed that 1/2 the clothes were in the wrong piles. When I told them they needed to go back through them and make sure the right clothes were in the right piles for each person, L quickly jumped up and yelled, "You don't do it right either. One time you gave my panties to CK and now she won't ever give it back, so you do it wrong too!!!" I then told her that if I do such an abominable job, she clearly felt like her skills were better so she could take over. She stopped with that argument, but it didn't get her working again.

Finally, at 7:30, I was done and sent them to bed (they got home from school at 3:30 and that's when they started--and yes... they got sent to bed early). I then finished folding the other 2 loads, and cleaned up their mess. I know I really should "teach" them another lesson today, but I just don't think I have the strength! I remember when I was little my mom and her friends talking saying it was always so much more work to have us help her than to just do it herself. I could never believe it because after all, if it really was easier, why was she making us do it!?! I can now understand, of course, and so I thank my mom for her life lessons. I guess I can just take comfort in knowing that in 20 years, my kids will appreciate all these "playless" days as they were forced to slave away. I think I will also enjoy seeing them have these struggles with their kids!!!

13 comments:

nicole said...

I think this is why you cherish the times KL wants to help...all too soon they grow out of it. Some battles are not worth fighting... and sometimes they are. It's hard to pick and choose isn't it? Good luck and let me know if you come up with a brilliant plan of action.

Andrea W. said...

Oh my wow, is this a timely post. I have been venting all morning about my eldest child who is really a wonderfully affectionate loving child, unless you have to get her out the door at a specific time. Let alone get some jobs done first. I'm in the same predicament of trying to figure out some consequences that will work, becuase so far it just doesn't seem to be helping. And, I totally agree, it's just kind of exhausting. How did our moms do it? It is comforting to know that I'm not alone. Too bad we can't go out to lunch to comiserate.

Andrea W. said...

Oh, and btw, I promise she'll still make a great wife for D, we'll figure it out by then and if not, well it sounds like he's got it figured out and maybe he can teach her :)

Andria said...

Is it sad that I go through those same things with Jared-whining and crying included? People think I'm joking when I refer to him as my third child.

bethiepoos said...

oooh cheryl

I am soo scared for the future! I am not thinking the pre-school years are the hardest anymore! and I am having another AHHHHH help!

Mary-Sunshine said...

What good memories of being stuck in the 95 degree playroom....at least you don't make you kids clean in that kind of heat! they shouldn't be complaining!

Liz Richins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liz Richins said...

I think you get a pass just for having TWINS!

You're not fooling anyone though, we all know you're Supermom!

Ali said...

LOL - Aah sister, I FEEL your pain!

Grandma Shirley said...

I do feel your pain, but I did give you plenty of warning!!!!

The big question is, are you having fun - ever!!!! Make sure you do!

Alan and Amy said...

Tell your kids that they have it kind of easy compared to some kids. My kids' list is a bit longer with large jobs at times to accomplish. They also have to go and pull weeds for 20 minutes everyday after school. One thing my kids are learning is how to work. Some days are absolutely horrible trying to get them to get it all done but some days go super smooth with happy attitudes. I suggest having a longer list and when they don't finish all of it at least they got a good amount done. It really helps that we don't have to be out the door until 8:35 though. I even get a few days in with not yelling even once.

I can't wait to have you come and help me do some sort of decorating.

Some Kind of Crazy said...

Woman, I share your pain! I am very impressed with the morning routine though! We leave for school at 7:30 and I'm happy if the kids are dressed, hair combed, fed, with lunches in hand. My youngest 2 usually sleep in until 8:00 and so we (meaning me) try to be really quiet. Then I might get some alone time once they leave for school.

Anderson Family said...

Oh my I just LOVE how the laundry got done! LOL...I feel the same way always after I fold and put away Griffin's clothes he goes in there and takes everything out and mixes the clean in with the dirty. He is only 2 so perhaps it is just a kid thing and they grow out of it once they have to keep their own houses clean???