Monday, September 15, 2008

Soliciting Advice....

Shortly before the start of the school year, I added "make your bed" to the pretty short list of jobs that the boys have to do. So, they have been doing it for about a month.

Doesn't that sound great....my boys make their own beds before they go to school in the moring?!?!

Yeah great.....really great...except for the problem is that they are really, really lousy at it. I mean REALLY lousy!!


I am not a neat freak, in fact, I would probably fall closer to the opposite end of that spectrum. I really want to be a neat-freak, I want my house to look like a model house all of the time, but for some reason, my natural tendancy is to leave stuff laying around....like all of my stuff. My mom is really neat and clean. The house I grew up in was always immaculate, except for mine and Jen's rooms. You can show up at my mom and dad's house at any time and it looks like they were waiting for company. I'm sure you are thinking, "yeah, but she doesn't have 4 little kids", but you'll have to take my word that it wouldn't matter. It is just part of who she is. My friend, Cathy is also an AWESOME housekeeper. She was one of our few babysitters when the boys were babies. We would get home, the kids would be asleep and my house would be cleaner and more organized than when we left. She is really good! I want to be like that!

Now that I've established that I am not a neat freak, there is one room that I *do* like to keep clean and that is the boys' room. Maybe it is because it is one of the only rooms in our house that is actually kind of decorated, or maybe because their room can't be "a little bit messy"...it is either neat and clean or it looks like it was destroyed by a tornado. Or, maybe it bothers me because it is a reminder that my mom's neat genes didn't skip a generation and land on my kids. But, for whatever reason, it bothers me when that room is a mess.

Since there are 3 boys in there, it doesn't take much to make it a mess. But at the same time, their room is pretty simple so, it also doesn't take much to make it clean. If the beds are made, the 'stuffed friends' are on their beds, their treasures (JUNK!) are in their toy boxes and the laundry is in the basket, the room is pretty much clean.

Here is how their room looked after I spent 5 minutes in it this morning....with Charlie "helping".

I want them to make their beds and I really think that they should be making their beds, but I have 2 problems. The first problem is that they are 6 and obviously, they cannot make them like I do. That shouldn't bother me, but I'm being honest...it does. My second problem is that they are not even doing as well as they could. But, mornings already come complete with a lot of nagging by me about getting dressed, putting shoes on, putting coats on and packing their bags. I don't think any of us can handle additional nagging. So, they are getting away with doing a crappy job with very little effort.

I realize that this doesn't happen very often, but I'm soliciting advice(!). I'm willing to take any suggestions except the "screw it, a made bed isn't important". Maybe this shouldn't bother me , but it does. If you have some insight and you are a neat person; or have raised neat kids; or raised messy kids, but see where you messed up; or are TRYING to raise neat kids, HELP!!

Do I suck it up and not say anything and let them keep "attempting" to make thier beds? Will they eventually figure it out and start to do a better job? At this point, that doesn't seem likely.

Do I re-make their beds after they go to school?

Or, do I just drop this whole thing and go back to making their beds myself and try again next summer when they have more time to do re-do's?

Thanks if you read this all the way through, and really BIG thanks if you have some "words of wisdom" to share.

12 comments:

Cathy said...

Ok... This is Ms Neat-Freak speaking (LOL!)... I think you should still encourage them to make their beds in the morning. It may not be perfect...but at least they are trying. Like you said.. they are only 6 years old... but I think they will get better year by year and maybe by the time they turn 10.. it will be perfect. So... don't stop... keep on going!! And like you said... it only takes 5 minutes to straighten it out a bit... it's better than 30 minutes. It may not get to them now how it's suppose to be done... but I think if they see how you do it.. they will pick it up soon... they are smart boys! Way to go Guys!!

Anonymous said...

Maybe every 3 or 4 months have a refresher course on how to make the bed? My kids don't make their bed all that well either. I've just given up and hope they will get better each year. Maybe I should take my own advice.

Michelle

Anonymous said...

Well Kelly - here are my thoughts...First, my mistake...I let those things go with my to boys, and John at 23(almost) makes and awesome bed, but he is in the military and didn't until then. Mike is still a slob and makes a messy bed and he is 21!!! Letting the little things go does not help them, it hurts as they then don't really know/care what a good job is. My suggestion, if it is not good enough, when they get home, before they play, go up with them and supervise - maybe they can help each other. It does mean you'd have to leave it for the day, but I would guess that it wouldn't happen for too long. Also, explain to them why it is so important to you. ELAINE

DESJ and Company said...

So this could be written by me. my mom? crazy neat. me? not so much. Like you, I try. I just have so much CRAP! What is it all? I have friends with nothing-no crap at all. I feel like I drown in it.
I also have my 6 yo triplets make their beds (when I remember to)...their beds look like your beds. Don't fret. They'll get it eventually. Persevere!!

DESJ and Company said...

oh one thing someone told me (which I have not done) is to take a pic of their bed when it's all made nice and to hang the snapshot near their bed so they have something to reference.

Mishelle said...

Definately let it go...they will improve over time. If it realllly bothers you then make it a contest to see who can do the best job. If they are competive then it will all solve itself. My guys don't do a great job either but it just takes me a minute to fix it after I drop them off. Sometimes they surprise me and make mine if I didn't get to it! Be thankful they dont' do yours!! lol

Tasha said...

Wow can I post all my problems on your blog??? you got awesome advice, I can't wait to hear how things are going in a week.
Just a few quotes from flylady that may put things in perspective:"housework done incorrectly still blesses your family" It takes 27 days to establish a routine--so let them get into the "habit" of it before you teach them to fine tune it. Also make it fun for them: have a making of the bed ceremony or a song they can sing while they do it; a contest; remind tehm that they are "blessing" their beds and making it "nice " for all the critters while they wait for them to get home from school. I loved all the other advice you got .

Theresa said...

Is it simple? What I mean is do you have flat sheets? If all you have to teach them is spread the quilt nicely, and "arrange" the stuffed animals training should be pretty easy. Ian and I have worked on this a lot. He insists on 100 pillows too, so it took more, but we established a routine 1. Spread the quilt (it should look like this) Once he mastered that, 2. We put the pillows like this... Once he mastered that 3. Stuffed guys (a million of them) largest in the back to smallest in the front. Don't these two make a great pair? They should stay together... It took a while, but he is pretty good now at age 10. What seems easy and obvious has to be in tiny little steps for my kids to get it. If you make it all about a nice display for the webkinz--that could help too.

Kelly said...

Thanks guys!!! You had some great ideas. I think that I'll still have them make it, but not turn it into a fight every morning. I liked the idea of a refresher course every few months. Our afternoons are still crazy, so, I don't think I'm ready to fight that battle after school either....but, maybe one day soon I will.

Tasha, too funny about the flylady...she is awesome. I'll have to post what the boys' reaction is when I tell them that they are blessing their beds for thier critters. LOL!!

Hey Sara, too funny that you are like me, I thought the same thing about you when I saw your post about the contents of your purse. A few weeks ago, I bought a smaller purse and it is working...a bit. ;)

Cathy said...

Hey Tasha... got a correction for you... it takes 21 DAYS... not 27... to form a habit or a routine. :) Just like they say... you can make 11 decisions in the first 7 seconds when you are meeting someone for the first time. Sales techniques! :) That's why "First Impressions" are very important when working with customers. Sorry Kelly.. I didn't mean to change the subject... I guess this is what I pick up in the last 13 years in sales. :)

rae said...

oh you are too funny....
you could always make it a contest... whoever has the best made bed in the morning (in my house I would have to add without complaints or getting distracted by stray legos) gets a special treat. You could also let them be judge and jury about which bed is made the best and then let Charlie be the tie breaker... what the hell get the all involved. Let me know how it goes... I am still trying to get the to just put their dirty underwear in the dirty clothes basket instead of seeing just how far they can kick it across the room.

Tasha said...

Cathy.... that 27 days is a Flylady thing. You are correct about the 21 days, but 27 is a feng shui number and Flylady uses that number for establishing habits.