Thursday, August 9, 2012

Day 4: Time To Let "The MESS" GO!

Before (or after) you read this, you may want to take a look at: What Do You Expect?, then Day 1: Giving Up Control, A Little Bit, then Day 2: Stressing My Kids, then Day 3: Was This A Good Idea?. It will all just make a little more sense.

The Living Room
HALLELUJAH! Today is CLEANING day! My house is going back to being in order, neat, clean and organized! My girls are having mixed feelings about it- they are tired of their mess, but not sure if they are tired enough of it to want to clean it up. OH WELL!

Let me recap. I have been at my wits end for a couple of weeks of my girls avoiding cleaning up, and my constant reminding, nagging, yelling and screaming of reminders to do so. I am a bit of a controlling neat freak, and like everything put in it's place before the day ends (it's wonderful waking up to a clean house). I had a crazy idea to relinquish my control and allow my 2 girls to make the decisions, for 3 days, as to what they would and would not clean up. My objective was to learn their preferences, hopefully teach them an appreciation for a neat house and to also help me realize the world will not fall off of it's axis if I am not in control.

Yesterday was difficult for me, because the girls began to move the mess into the living room at an alarming rate. There has been toys in the living room over the past couple of days, but the bulk remained in their bedroom. I believe they ran out of room to make a mess in their bedroom, so the most logical thing would be  to expand into the living room. There was no looking past the mess, it greeted you at every turn (you should of seen Lupe's face when he arrived home).

Last night, the end of Day 3, we had a bit of a breakdown.

As the late afternoon approached, I tried to subtly remind the girls of the night before (Tenly sleeping in her bed was impossible because of the toys) and that tonight, there would be no getting up to clean after they were in 'bed'. I kept prodding them to think about their choices before it was too late.

They would have a "meeting" and decide that they would clean up some...later. Well, later never came (what a shocker).

Suddenly, Tenly is crying. When I asked what the problem was, she explained that she realized it was starting to get dark out and that meant bed time was coming and she didn't want her bed and her room to be a mess at bed time.

(insert another "Hallelujah Chorus" here)

I calmed her down and tried to reassure her she still had time to clean up whatever she felt like needed to be before bed time got here.

"BUT Mommy- I want to watch a show before bed time!!", she dramatically  cried.

"Well, I guess next time you will make a better choice.", I said as she pushed her lips out in one of the poutiest faces ever!

Needless to say, she did appreciate my response. She cried the whole time muttering all of the reasons this was making her angry as she quickly cleaned up everything (although not nearly enough) she saw necessary.

After Tenly finished, she and Gia came and sat on the floor in my room all calmed down and very relieved that they would both be sleeping in their beds that night.

Tenly said, "Mommy, I'm sorry I was so sad- I just really don't like looking at that mess when it's time to go to bed."

My response (HUGE teachable moment), "Do you understand now why Mommy asks you to put things away when your done playing with them? If you do that, there is no big messes at the end of the day- just a little one."

Gianna said, "Little messes are much better than big messes. I don't like big messes."

"Do you know what Mommy learned?", I asked. "I learned, that big messes are okay sometimes, especially when you are using your smart brains to use your imagination and be creative. I also learned, that if I get angry, I need to take a deep breath and talk to you- not yell. AND, I will remind you one time to help you remember what you are suppose to be doing- but only one time."

"So, two times is okay- but more than two times- we will be disciplined." Gianna reassured me. Tenly agreed with, "That's a deal, Mommy."

My girls have enjoyed the past few days not having to be told at all to clean up, but I think even they are ready to have a presentable home again. Tenly said this morning as we were making our "Clean Up List", "Mommy, we have to clean up because I can not let my friends come to our house when it's a mess. This is disgusting!" (insert another "Hallelujah Chorus" paired with my Happy Dance)

We made our list, the girls were quite detailed and I am a very proud Momma who is going to revel in the cleaning process ALL day long! Thank You Jesus, for giving me a teachable heart and the ability to endure!

1 comment:

  1. Loved following your little experiment, singing Hallelujahs with you! lol :)