I did it. Officially I am probably the meanest mom in the world. I declared to my children last night that this morning I was going in their rooms and bagging EVERYTHING UP. They would be able to pick out one toy and one dress up outfit and the rest were being put into boxes or bags and being shipped out of the house. (Only twenty feet to the garage) The ironic part is my husband asked the other night if I’m an all or nothing sort of person…. well as of today I guess I am.
Two things. They have a week or two to show me that they can take care of these two items, put them away where they go, pick them up after they are done, and take care of them. If they can’t, then they are stuck with just two for a while. If they can, then they can slowly take one more item out at a time and show me they can be responsible for a few more.
photo by Meddygarnet
This mommy is tired of tripping over everything to get into rooms. Tired of demanding, threatening, bribing and finally just cleaning it herself. I’m tired of seeing how I am creating terrible habits in my children, and expecting very little from them. Yes they are small, yes they aren’t adults, and yet I see that I am doing a HUGE disservice to them by not teaching them how to take care of things, put things away, and be responsible. I’m doing a huge disservice by doing it for them sometimes because it it’s just faster.
In reality they are small and I’m making it almost entirely impossible to help them l
this by giving them LOTS of toys. More toys than they can handle and manage, and so many toys that it completely OVERWHELMES them. Especially when it comes to cleaning them and putting them away. It OVERWHELMES me! Just trying to figure out how to organize things, how to make it easier for them to put things away and take care of it. How to help them want to take care of it. It’s just plain tiring and all the other ways have just not worked.
photo by erin MC hammer
So we’re going with this tactic. The method of “choices and accountability” and being good “stewards”. I’m still going to let them keep the two items I mentioned, so they don’t have a complete meltdown and so they can prove to me by how they choose to take care of these two things, whether or not they are accountable enough to take care of more.
They are little, they need to learn how to be responsible for a few things at a time. Doesn’t the Lord do the same thing with us? He give us a small stewardship with the promise that if we take care of it then more will be added upon it. They don’t know the satisfaction of taking care of that one toy especially well, because it’s the only one they have and if it gets ruined they have nothing. They need to start small, with something that is within reach and totally attainable and go from there.
So will I be back in a few days saying this completely failed? Who knows maybe. Are they going to go nuts. I don’t think so. They might complain but it’s summer they have the outdoors to go run and play in, they still have crayons and markers and things to draw with, and I have other things I want to do and teach them. Maybe it will be a blessing in disguise. As my husband asked last night as he raised his eyebrow at my declaration. “Hmm… Who is going to give in first?” We shall see and I’ll let you know in a day or two how it is going.