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Yesterday I sat in the floor and cried:(

Posted by glendasgarden (johnterry315@aol.com) on
Sun, Oct 21, 07 at 8:59

I am overwhelmed!
I work 3rd shift, I have 3 children, and a husband who acts like one!
I usually lurk here and there, but I thought I would ask for help/ advice now.
We live in a 4 bed, 2 bath, home...and I have lost control !! We moved in Feb 07....and orginazation never "happend"
Every room looks like an episode of "clean house" before they do the cleaning!
The kids rooms don't seem to have a floor anymore! (By the way, he kids r 5,7, and 9)
I recently made them a chore chart....which is quickly turning into a joke!

It seems I cannot get one "mess" or room clean, because as soon as I move on to something else....whatever I just finished cleaning is already a mess again.
Laundry is a constant battle, because the kids throw clean clothes down in the floor with the dirty....no one seems to be able to find the hamper...clothes just hit the floor where ever they r standing when they take them off!
My living room is a catch all for everything from toys to backpacks to mail...and shoes,and whatever else!
I have no idea what to do....I have tried everything with my kids, short of beating them lol (just kidding) and I am at my whitts end!
We have so much clutter...my husband is Mr.Yard Sale, thrift store, clutter collector.....the more I donate, trash, ect the more he seems to bring in!!
aaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!
I know this is a LONG post, but I fell I need to get all this out and find some help....We can't even answer the door anymore from embarrasment...we also never have anyone over...Most of our family hasnt even seen our new home because of this!
It is almost the holidays...enough is enough...I want this resolved!

THANKS FOR LISTENING.
PLEASE GIVE ME SOME ADVICE!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Yesterday I sat in the floor and cried:(

Head on over to Flylady -- there are some great ideas about Zones (areas in your home); and ideas for pocketing out time to do things!

AND there are lots of folk here to help too!! :)

Believe me -- because I live with Mr. Packrat (who now sells stuff on EBay) -- I do understand about "too much stuff" -- but you have to get a handle on your new house (you haven't claimed it yet to be able to call it a "home")

Also -- check out the "Home Decoration" forum here at Gardenweb for more decorating ideas too! :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Flylady site


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RE: Yesterday I sat in the floor and cried:(

How is it that you are letting little kids control your life? You have a chore chart. Why has it be come "a joke". You're the Mom. They are the children. It can work like this: No chores done = No privledges. No TV. No going to the skating rink. No new toys. No candy or special treats. (They won't die.) They are still young enough to train them correctly.

If clothes don't go into the hamper they don't get washed. A couple of days of wearing dirty clothes should fix that problem for everybody. That trick even worked with my former DH. He learned. "I did do the wash honey. All you had in the hamper was the blue shirt and I washed it." Heee-hee-he.

If you keep doing the chores that they are suppose to do when they don't do them, they have no incentive to do anything and will continue to sit in front of the gaming cube and expcet Mommy to do it for them.

The DH thing is different. Living with another adult involves some negotiation but he does seem to be taking advantage of you since you do work outside the home, and he also expects the responsibility of home chores to fall soley on you. If you have already talked it through with him, and got no change in his behavior, sometimes a third party to give advice may help. Would he be open to a few sessions of marital councelling?


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RE: Yesterday I sat in the floor and cried:(

and maybe the kids can have some "martial" counseling? (just kidding, too, but I sympathize w/ the frustration at them)

Here are some thoughts. I know this is a hard time (I'm sad to hear you hit such a bottom).So I'm hopoing I don't come across too preachy or bossy or blaming. I struggle w/ many of the same issues (except not a DH problem--my DH is a gem, if anything, in our house, *I* am the burden-maker)

-You (and I) need to redefine what it means to be "mom" and what it means to "teach" or "discipline" the kids. If we don't follow through on our pronouncements, we clearly tell them that it does NOT actually matter whether they pick up their stuff. We need to force ourselves to have energy for THAT, even if it means *we* don't do the household chores we thought we would.

For one thing, time invested in making them follow our orders will result in a future (somewhere in the future) in which making them follow orders (OK, OK, "directions") won't take quite so much time. Being "mean" now means you can be "nice" later, once they've actually learned something. Don't be afraid to be downright tough, don't worry that your punishment is "out of proportion"--their lack of cooperation is making you sit down on the floor and cry--I can't imagine a meaner thing a kid can do to his mom. SO land on them HARD--the harder you land on them now, the sooner you can stop.

That's a whole other thread, but the only thing that works for me (when it works) is to plan their punishment (OK, OK, "negative consequences") way ahead of time. Make them stand in a corner, anything--short of actual violence, of course.

I'm wondering--you work the 3rd shift; does that mean you aren't home when they are, most nights? That's an extra hardship, if so. If it's the midnight-to-morning, then that's got to be part of your problem, since your biorhythms are going to be wonky. Maybe you can't change that, so think carefully about when is the best time to sleep, etc. GET ENOUGH sleep. I can't stress this enough.

HAVE LESS STUFF. The fastest way possible.

Clothes: Take all their clothes (and yours, and DH's), and put them in a box. Take out 4 outfits to go back into their rooms--no more. Do laundry more frequently, but smaller loads. You'll get back control, and there will be fewer things on the floor. (deal w/the boxed clothes later, when the kids are better at keeping up w/ their chores and their responsibilities)

for the common rooms--put a big box in each room. Scoop everything that isn't your into it. Make them clean it out every weekend at first, more frequently if you can swing it, and in the middle of the week, whatever. If they want the stuff that's in it, they can dig it out; it's not your problem.

next--

BE SURE YOU HAVE INFRASTRUCTURE

Dressers that are easy to open and not too full to be useful, shelves that go as high as you can swing it (I'm from NYC--I've seen the wisdom of "building up"). Hooks for clothes

LET YOUR FAMILY KNOW HOW HARD THIS IS ON YOU.

I'll probably get slammed for this, but I firmly believe it's fair to make sure that the people who are "hurting" you (and they *are* hurting you!) KNOW that. They probably don't think about. I have even strategically hard hysterics over things that were this hard for me.
-


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RE: Yesterday I sat in the floor and cried:(

You (and I) need to redefine what it means to be "mom" and what it means to "teach" or "discipline" the kids. If we don't follow through on our pronouncements, we clearly tell them that it does NOT actually matter whether they pick up their stuff. We need to force ourselves to have energy for THAT, even if it means *we* don't do the household chores we thought we would.

I'm repeating Talley Sue's words so you can hear me echoing what she said. Coming from me, it's one of those "do what I didn't do" directives.

Follow-through was so hard for me as a mother, and I didn't even work outside the home. It really does require energy, but it's energy well spent. Not following through on a specific order not only tells them that you don't care whether they do it or not, but it tells them they don't have to bother doing what they're told....not this time, not next time, not when they're 13, not when they're 17, and so on. You really don't want to let that happen.

How about starting with a family conference? Explain that clean houses are more fun to live in....people feel better when surfaces are relatively clear (it's true!)....everyone can enjoy having their friends over, etc. If you think at least one of kids will understand this, you might even mention that it takes 21 days to change a bad habit. Then make a plan. And be prepared to follow through. Over and over, at least in the beginning.

Let us know how you're doing!

Susan


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RE: Yesterday I sat in the floor and cried:(

You have to assert yourself and exercise control. Cleaning your whole house and keeping it in order is not your exclusive responsibility. It is every family member's responsibility.

You have to start with your husband. Your children are young and your husband is a role model for them. If he is throwing stuff around and not organizing and cleaning up after himself, your children won't either.

You have to have a serious conversation with your husband and make him understand that you can't and won't live like this anymore and that you are DEMANDING that he change ASAP. You are not a maid for him or anyone else. This goes beyond him just picking up his stuff. He has to equally share in the household cleaning and organizing. He has to support you and discipline the children with what they have to do.

Spell out to your children the rules and enforce the rules. If they have stuff all over their floor, don't let them go to activities, watch tv, etc until their rooms are organized. Enforce your rules.

Don't go cleaning up messes that other people created. If your husband makes a mess, tell him to get in there and clean up his mess. Same with the children. Make laundry a family project. Why should you be the only one doing laundry?

Tell your family that every weekend will be spend totally cleaning and organizing the house as a family project until your house is totally organized and kept that way.

You have to have the strength to put your foot down. You will never be able to gain order in the house unless you do.


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RE: Yesterday I sat in the floor and cried:(

I fully agree with everything Talley Sue says-- YOU ARE THE MOM!! Sometimes kids don't know what that means but it is time to let them find out :)

The only thing that I would change because I know in my household with 4 kids is that it didn't work. In the common rooms, when they can just dig through a box to get things back out, they will... just to leave the stuff back out again.

At our house, the box is 'jail'. Everything that is left out when they go to bed at night (or when they leave for school-whatever works for you) goes into the box. No one can get into the box but Mom and Dad. The only way they can get something back is to earn it back - usually by doing something around the house... vacuuming the living room, washing windows of the French doors, etc. Who cares if they can't or don't do as good of a job as you do-- it just makes them realize there are responsibilities for leaving their stuff out. If they haven't bailed their stuff out within a certain amount of time, it either goes in the trash or donation box. It doesn't take kids long to figure it all out :) One time all the hairbrushes at our house ended up in the box... you should have seen my daughter with waist length hair rushing around sweeping the kitchen one morning before school LOL The hair brushes haven't been left out since. My son has scrubbed pots and pans before school to bail out his homework before. It makes them madder than heck but I can guarantee that they will think twice before leaving them out again.

Good luck and be firm... just remember that we have all been there, done that and you aren't the only one who has been a 'meanie' to their kids!!! They will appreciate you and their belongings much more!!!


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RE: Yesterday I sat in the floor and cried:(

Linked is another post about organizing and cleaning with kids, so I won't repeat. Just back up the idea that you are the mom, the household manager.

While the room I posted was a disaster, it's the only room in my house (besides DH's office) which looks like that. None of us are allowed to crap up the public spaces we all use.

We can all give you lots of advice, but you have to take those first steps and be consistent. It won't happen overnight. But it will happen.

Gloria

Here is a link that might be useful: another post about organizing with kids


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RE: Yesterday I sat in the floor and cried:(

I think that maybe you need a two-prong approach: one for your husband and one for your kids.

If your husband is constantly bringing junk in, it's exponentially harder to get things under control. If you haven't been able to convince him to cooperate with you, could you distract him? Or give him an incentive? I have a friend whose husband really wanted to get a motorcycle last spring, and she really thought that was a bad idea. She knew that weekends were the time he would be able to go look at motorcycles... so she kept him busy with activities during a lot of the prime motorcycle-looking hours. They enjoyed a lot of fun activities together and got a lot of work done on their house... and no motorcycle to date. If there are days/times when you know that your husband is more likely to go shopping, maybe you can plan activities that would block out those hours more often than not. The other choice-- giving him an incentive-- might also work. Is there something he wants that you guys haven't considered seriously because it's more expensive? Like an electronic gizmo or tickets to a special sports event? If you say, "If we save X over the next six months, you can have/do Y," the reward might be enough to get him to curb the spending... and thus cut down on the clutter coming in the door.

Prong two is the kids, and you've gotten a lot of good advice about making them responsible for cleaning up their own messes from other posters. One additional suggestion I'd make there-- if their rooms are really in very bad shape right now, the mess may be too overwhelming for them individually. My mother sometimes had us all work together on one room at a time. It might be worthwhile to make the first push into a team effort, both in their own rooms and in some of the public rooms. If you use a timer or build a pretend-game into it, they may still complain at the beginning, but they'll get into it if you make it more fun. Plus they'll have peer pressure and you watching to make sure that cleaning time doesn't turn into playing with robots/dolls time. Once their things are cleaned up, I think it makes sense to make each kid responsible for his/her own stuff. But I do think for kids the ages of yours, it might be too much for them alone if the floor isn't even visible right now. So some teamwork and reciprocity might get you the results you want a little faster.

Good luck, and try not to let it get you down too much.


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RE: Yesterday I sat in the floor and cried:(

I want to thank everyone for all the excelent advice.
Today I went home, woke up everyone in the house and announced it was family "cleaning" day, and explained to them I am sick and tired of all this, and that it Was Going To Change!!!
DH got busy right off, doing laundry, cleaning the living room and etc. I was shocked!
The kids were not so willing, but had no choice.
They started with their chore chart, then were supposed to be upstairs cleaning their rooms....
I believe it is like sovra said, that it is too overwhelming for them, due to how bad their rooms have gotten! I know they r overwhelming for me alone, I have no idea what to do with all that stuff!!
On a happy note, My hissyfit this morning got everyone cleaning enough that I now have a spotless kitchen, and living room! Yeah!
I am off work on Mondays and Tuesdays....so when I get off work in the mornng I will have the house to my self to get cleaning done, and when everyone get's home.....needless to say, they probobly won't like me tommorrow...lol..but we are spending another afternoon/night cleaning!
Oh, almost forgot...aftr I went to bed today, Dh kept going on the laundry...we are about 3 loads away from being caught up....except for whatever comes out of the kids rooms:(
I hope when Wednesday gets here I will have more good news to share....
Does anyone else use a chore chart with their kids, what kinds of chores do u put on it?
Wish me luck :)


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RE: Yesterday I sat in the floor and cried:(

I totally agree with what others have said about you being the Mom! I also agree with the poster that said "It won't kill them" Just a little story to share:

We homeschooled our three children through high school. When DS was about 8 years old, he had a few math problems to complete before he was done for the day. We tried to complete the academic part of school before lunch so the afternoons could be used for practical and fun stuff. Anyway, I think he probably only had 6 or 8 problems to do but he decided he didn't want to do them before he went outside to play with the others. (His two sisters and some neighbors who were also homeschooled). He whined, he cried, he rolled in the floor and feigned all sorts of pain and misery. I firmly but kindly repeated about 100 times it seemed "When you finish your math, you can go outside". This went on for 6 HOURS!!! The other kids came and went, we had lunch (he was allowed to eat too) but he could not go out to play. FINALLY he realized that Mom was not backing down and it took him about 15 minutes to finish his math. That never happened again. He learned his lesson well. He is now 31, has a degree in electronics engineering and just this week was laughing about his "6 hour math class".

It was NOT easy for me to do this. I just wanted to tell him to go out and get him to shut up :-) But I knew if I backed down, everything else would be a struggle and this had to be done.

Don't give up! You can do it and your children will greatly appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to train them well to be responsible, efficient adults that can handle the real world.

VG


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RE: Yesterday I sat in the floor and cried:(

I usually lurk, but had to post regarding the kids' rooms.

My kids' rooms were also overwhelmingly messy and after making myself crazy over it, I finally realized they truly didn't know where to start or how to clean. They were overwhelmed, just like I was. I finally started sending them up to their rooms to work on just one thing. First it was just to make the bed. That's it, just the bed and they were done. Then it was just to make the bed and get the dirty clothes in the hamper and the clean clothes in the drawers. That's it. And once the clothes were put away on a regular basis, we moved on to toys. My DS needed a LOT of help with Legos and Bionicles (ten billion pieces, what was I thinking?) so I bought three large plastic bins to store them in under his bed. They're still not always put away, but they are mostly contained and have a place to live.

Their rooms are still not clean all the time, but the kids know that if they focus on just one thing at a time, the rooms will get there. My DD is 12 and she's finally getting this -- she cleaned her room yesterday without being told to -- I nearly fell over from the shock! LOL.

Like Flylady says (and you should DEFINITELY check her out), baby steps!


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RE: Yesterday I sat in the floor and cried:(

Some other thoughts (I've been thinking about your and your post, and your problems, over the evening and the morning, on my commute, in the shower, etc.--so feel "cared for"!)

I have some other thoughts that maybe you can plug into your problem-solving here.

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THOUGHT ONE: Redefine yourself as a SUPERVISOR, not a DO-er

I have a relatively new colleague who is the editor of our magazine (I'm in charge of process and timing). Over the last 2 issues, I've realized that she's editing about 3/4 of the stories--yet she also has meetings w/ the publisher, and press-conference things to attend, and meetings w/ the edit director, etc.

I've been pressuring her to realize, as she's hiring a new senior editor (there are only 2 editors, her and the senior) that she has to redefine what she does.

She CANNOT edit 3/4 of the stories; she doesn't have time. She has to have time to be the executive (researching and making decisions; editing behind the other editor, etc.). And time to supervise.

The same is true of you. Your kids aren't quite as old as mine (my youngest is the age of your oldest), but you need to start working TOWARD the idea that you don't DO; you supervise. (right now, you'll have more 'doing', but frankly, you should never take the garbage out, and you should never clean a toilet or a bathroom sink--your kids are old enough to do that.

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THOUGHT 2: REWARD WORKS BEST

Also, reward works better than punishment. I keep forgetting that, and I sort of resent rewarding them for doing chores, but it's EFFECTIVE. Praise is a great reward, but so would be something like TV watching. (this means you have to move stuff like family event, TV time, etc., out of "life as normal" and into "reward" category)


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THOUGHT 3: MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK

This is not just that you can do more--but that when you work w/ company, it's more fun, less oppressive.

Also, especially I think at the ages your kids are, it's much more fun to clean and tidy WITH COMPANY. So keep up the "family pick-up time," and make it MORE often, and everybody do it. Right before bed, everybody picks up.

Put it on the schedule as being JUST as crucial as brushing teeth. it happens at the same time every day, and everybody does it. A little bit of "togetherness" right before bedtime, that ALWAYS happens, regardless.

(I say this, because I do not DO this always, and I live w/ the end results, and it is NOT good; but the times that I am able to make this happen, it makes a big difference)

(and everybody picks up everything--even if it's not yours, if you know where it goes, put it there)

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THOUGHT 4: PROVIDE STRUCTURE

I think the ages your kids are is a good time for little time-management/motivation tricks. Here are some I've used:

-"beat the clock": set a timer for 15 minutes, see how much you can do in a HURRY!

-"clean to music": pick lively music, and see what you can do in 2 songs

-"do a dozen": bring a laundry basket in, put 12 things in it (maybe you can help pick them, but best is to get the kid to put them in); so the dozen is clearly corralled, and have them put those away (beat the clock, if you can--my DS can put 12 things away in 3 minutes). Repeat as needed

-"how long is it REALLY?" My timer will also work as a stopwatch; we timed how long it took to fold a basket of clothes--10 minutes. Or how long to "do a dozen"--3 mins. You could make a chart of how long things REALLY take, and then that will help remind you all that it'll be done so quickly.

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THOUGHT 5: EDUCATE HUBBY

I'm not big into demanding of my husband--it doesn't work, for one thing. But I'd suggest working w/ your DH to open his eyes to the idea that the stuff he brings in doesn't have a home, doesn't add to anything, etc., it sounds like he's got a willingness, so you can build on that. You may just need to educate him about the dynamics of "stuff" and "clutter"; he may not even see it.

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THOUGHT 6: THINK "LONG-TERM IMPROVEMENT," NOT "ONE-SHOT SUCCESS"

Also: one slighty pessimistic (well, "realistic") note: you said:
"I want this resolved!"

Homekeeping is NEVER "resolved." Training children to pick up their clothes is NEVER "resolved." Laundry is never "done."

Aim for "caught up" w/ laundry.

Aim for "trending better" w/ organization, housework, and kids living up to their responsibilities.

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(an aside--the 6-hour math class: I often say to my kids, "If you'd stop arguing w/ me and just go PICK IT UP, you'd have been finished by now. You have spent more time arguing that it would have taken you to DO it!" (of curse, in those instances, I probably should have imposed some swift, onerous punishment, but...) I have thought sometimes that I should take my stopwatch-timer and turned it on to time how long they were fussing and whining, then time how long it took to do it")

But that also points out a value in getting your kids to help you do some research--take your chore chart, and have them do the chore, complete w/ setup and break-down, smoothly without rushing or dawdling, and then write down the number of minutes it took--that's the standard, and when it's chore time, maybe it won't seem so daunting bcs they'll know that can clean the sink, the tub, and the toilet in 5 minutes.

I did this w/ my DS bcs he was taking so long to get dressed, and he acted as though it would be FOREVER until he was done. So I challenged him to help me research it, and he could get dressed in 6 minutes (he has a tie, and a sweater, etc.) Once he really understood that, I found, he would get dressed promptly.

Try the same thing for setting the table, etc.

Also research stuff like how long it takes to pick up a huge mess, vs. how long it takes the next night when it's a single day's worth.

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THOUGHT 7: LESS STUFF

I said it before, and I'll say it again--the kids won't get overwhelmed, and you won't either, if they don't have more than the bare minimum.

I'm thinking of Jamie from Montana, who used to post here, who hated washing dishes so much that she wouldn't, and then she'd have a huge stack of them, etc.

She put all the plates away deep in the dining room, except for 2--so she had to do dishes every night, or she didn't have anything to eat on. Voila! she could keep up.


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RE: Yesterday I sat in the floor and cried:(

Ohhhh, I can hear the frustration in your voice! It's positively miserable being overwhelmed. Moving is hard enough, and then having all that you have on your plate... well, it's no wonder you are overwhelmed.

First and foremost, take care of yourself. Maybe you could start by claiming one space for your own to get cleaned and keep it that way. Maybe the master bath? Clean it, organized it and then bring in a candle, a CD and draw a bath. (Lock the door!) Then tomorrow is another day. Next order of business could be to organize your bedroom. Keep it as a sanctuary. You need a relief from visual clutter. Light a few candles and DH will really get to enjoy his sanctuary, if you get my drift. ;)

I did this and it worked. One Saturday morning I told the kids they had one half hour to get everything of theirs out of the public areas. That meant living room, hall, dining room and kitchen, and that everything left after they were "finished" would be thrown away. I only had to do this once! They were told to close their bedroom doors and if they wanted help I'd be there, and if they wanted to live in squalor, that was their choice. For years after I'd just shake a trash bag and say "I'm cleaning" and they'd run and get their own stuff into their bedrooms. I also said I was only doing the laundry that was in the hamper. If I found myself washing cleaned clothes just from their bedroom floors because they were too lazy to put them away, I would stop washing their things altogether. They finally figured that out. I also decreed that I no longer looked for lost items. Never. Can't find it? Well, look harder. I had a full time job and was in school at night. I was not their maid. I did this to keep my sanity, and it truly worked. I got used to one of the bedrooms being a gross disaster. He kept his door closed for a long time. (Now he's a very neat and organized grad student!)

Baby steps. Baby steps. Remember, you're in charge, not the kids. When they get to college you won't be there to find their shoes and wash their things and keep their rooms cleaned. By holding tough, you're actually doing your job, and doing them a favor!

Good luck. It's not easy. And don't be too hard on yourself!

-Donna


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RE: Yesterday I sat in the floor and cried:(

I'm not a mom, so I wasn't going to offer advice, but I do understand your frustration.

I was wondering what your sleep schedule is? Is your husband responsible for minding the children during part of the day while you're sleeping or busy with errands? If so, he needs to be part of the team as far as encouraging/monitoring/following up with the children completing their chores. Of course, that includes rewarding or punishing (whatever you call it) when they do or don't do them. Just wanted to make sure DH was backing you up and not sabotoging your efforts. Definitely need a united front.

Tina


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RE: Yesterday I sat in the floor and cried:(

Glenda, I am so happy to hear that your DH is seeing your side and pitching in. It doesn't always happen this way. As I said before, dealing with another adult who may be set in their ways or have differnt in grained ideas about the division of household work can be the stumbling block to an organized clean home. I felt so sad after reading your original post.

Sometimes it is merely a matter of communication. My mother still talks about how she nearly had a breakdown dealing with three preschoolers and another one on the way, and my father did not lift a finger to do anything arond the house. I think she ended up sitting on the floor balling just like you say you did. My father's response was something like "I didn't know you needed help. I didn't want to interfer." Like most men back in the '50s, he thought women enjoyed doing the housework and he was trying to stay out of her realm. I can tell you that to this day he cleans bathrooms, does the dishes, and picks up after himself (Can't cook though.)

My DH was another matter. I worked looong hours waitressing and he was always under-employed. It was a fight and a battle. It never got completely resolved. He did pick up after himself eventually, but never did one lick of "women's work" like the actual cooking, cleaning or laundry.

You are doing both your DH and your kids a favor, by teaching them how to take care of a home. After my Grandmother died my Grandfather did not lift a finger and the place went to hell. So for 25 years all my aunts had to take turns going over there just to do the mountain of dishes and piles of laundry and try to keep the rest of the mess under control. If something should ever happen to you, you don't want to put your kids in that kind of situation. I've seen situations like that happen with some of my friends, now that our parents are starting to pass on. One of my friends jokes that when they go visit Grandpa they have to bring a shovel so they can get in the door.


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RE: Yesterday I sat in the floor and cried:(

Glenda, somehow I missed your follow-up message. Sounds like DH is on board. Nevermind!!

Tina


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RE: Yesterday I sat in the floor and cried:(

I echo taking a few moments (from where, I know...) to see if you and your husband can simplify the kids' possessions. My kids always had too much stuff, way more than a kid of whatever age could reasonably organize, plus we tended to be not tough enough as well. And it took us awhile to learn, it is amazing what kids can actually do when they want to, vs. what they want you to THINK they can do when they don't want to do it! But, we all tend to get kids stuff for this, stuff for that, stuff that seems fun but really has no use; 10 Barbies and accessories are better than one--the commercialism thing--so the suggestions to pare down to bed, comforter, 4 outfits, 5 favorite toys, whatever--really is helpful, especially for little kids. Or, one toy per year old, or something that might make sense to them. Then have a "special" toy box--again, it can be a fun thing, not a punishment-- and rotate toys... "do you want to get a new toy from the toy exchange box for this week?"

Also, simplify ALL your own routines, if you haven't already. You have an incredibly busy life! Simpler clothing routines, which may make less laundry; simple meals. And build in rituals--whoever gets his room picked up first Friday evening gets to pick the movie... Everyone pick up 10 things from the den before dinner...

Okay, those don't always work, but they're not teenagers yet, so the parents still have the mojo on them and it really can work.

I don't have an answer for adult clutter except to say,you're ahead of the pack if you are noticing some of this now, so now is your chance to see how staying simpler can pay off over time, so you learn not to sabotage yourself by falling prey to complicated decorating, unnecessary cooking supplies, doodads, whatever.


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RE: Yesterday I sat in the floor and cried:(

ooh, I like that, "whoever cleans their room first gets to pick the movie to rent" (or the dinner menu, or gets to sit in the favored seat in the car, or gets to use the red cup, or gets to have Cocoa Pebbles instead of Cheerios)


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