Myth Buster

As has become the norm as of late, I have had a little trouble finding the time to do much blogging.  I have had this little post in mind for a few days however so this morning, before the rush of starting school begins, I am going to try.

Last week was a bit of a rough, busy week.  The events of the week left me challenging two commonly held recommendations for families. 

1.  Teaching your children to do household chores is good for them, teaching them responsibility…yada, yada, yada, and relieving some of the duties of mom.  Until this last week, I have bought into this one hook, line and sinker.  My three oldest make their own beds, sort their own laundry, set the table, etc.  Football boy can do a load of laundry from start to finish.  I have learned (with difficulty) the art of praising the effort of folding the towels and I wait to refold them my way until no one is looking!  I turn my eyes when Baseball boy “hangs” his own t-shirts by putting them in the closet between two other shirts and squeezing them together really tight so he doesn’t have to go to the effort of, you know, getting a hanger.  My sweet little ones have even been scrubbing the bathrooms for some time now.  And there, my friends, lies the problem.  I have allowed myself to live in an oblivious place where pre-adolescent children actually clean things.  This revelation came this week when the stomach bug attacked me and I had a very close encounter with every commode in my house.

I have always retained bathroom duty in my master bath–it is only right.  So, when my unfortunate meetings with porcelain began, everything was okay.  But as the day progressed…other “thrones” (so to speak) began calling to me as well and these little meetings were, well, disgusting.  The smell alone surely extended the life of my little bug.  Toilets that are “scrubbed” every other day were nauseating–literally!  There was evidence of little boys’ lack of ability to hit a target everywhere!  How could I have missed this?

I think as a public service, I must ammend this commonly held belief.  Yes, teach your kids to fold laundry, teach them to empty a garbage can, show them how to dust the furniture.  But if there are germs or bodily fluids involved–take care of it yourself.  Believe me, it is worth it!

2.  The second theory I would like to challenge is this–and don’t judge me, I am trying to help!  I am not entirely convinced that family meals around the table really do promote closeness and family unity.  Just hear me out.

Let me give you a picture of our family at meal time.  I have spent all day, alone, with four children.  Baby probably has not taken a nap because he has three older siblings who make sure of that.  The laundry is piled, well, everywhere.  The house was vacuumed once last month–although the appliance is sitting out in the middle of the floor because I totally intend on doing it–sometime.  The boys have played playmobile which means every room in the entire house is covered in tiny little men and I must continue to rescue baby from choking on a pirate.  Dancer is screaming for me to come watch her dance recital.

I finally begin dinner.  I call to the kids to begin cleaning up and ask them to come set the table.  Around this time Tigerfan gets home and his OCD kicks into high gear as he begins having convulsions at the state of his abode.  We finally settle down and begin supper.  After a knock down, drag out fight over who is going to pray, the food is blessed and all the children get up because they “forgot” to wash their hands before sitting down.  I use the term sitting down loosely.  For some reason unbeknownst to me, boys seem to have an inability to sit on their bottoms.  The closest they come is a half sit/half stand position with one foot under them and one foot on the floor.

I look around, Dancer is sitting!  I give her some positive reinforcement!  Suddenly, the boys remember how to sit–until B.B. realizes he forgot the ketchup he must drown his food in.  He hops up to get it from the refrigerator.  When he returns–he forgets how to sit again.  I comment on how nicely F.B. is sitting!  Dancer begins crying because SHE is sitting to.  B.B. then fusses because he was sitting but he had to get up and he just forgot and I ALWAYS pick on him!  Suddenly, F.B. looks at supper and discovers nutritionally sound food on his plate.  He is no longer hungry…can he be excused.  No, eat!  In the next few minutes, a drink will be spilled, the baby will start screaming, the children will fight over who is eating better, faster, weirder… and F.B. will begin gagging at the disgusting meal I have tried semi hard to prepare.  By the end of our lovely meal, we will not have discussed the events of the day or planned some family together time.  In all likelihood, I will be mad and my feelings will be hurt because no one liked my low-fat,low taste but high fiber and vitamin meal, Tigerfan will be stressed because there are grapes smashed on the floor and the children will be mad because in all likelihood they are now going to bed early. 

I say, order in, eat outside, and bond over an ice cream cone at Baskin Robbins.  That, my friends, will be much more effective in promoting family unity!


6 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Dawn said,

    Wouldn’t it be nice if they just did as a habit!

    Yesterday I was up to my arms in paint…and a load of clothes needed to be changed out…hence the reason I asked the oldest to do this…yeah I can some flack but I didn’t let it deter my plans to get back to painting.
    He fussed a few minutes and got quiet a few minutes later I called him from upstairs and he answered “yes Maam I put them all away.”
    I then thanked him and reminded myself…”now don’t say anything when you see the towels are not folded like you do them..or the clothes not put away as neatly as you would..” (this is a hard one for this OCD ;D)
    However I’ve not seen anything out of place and it’s surprising that I didn’t have to do it…so He will be doing it more often for now on…Yay for me!

  2. 2

    twithhoney said,

    Why is it that kids are so fascinated with cleaning the toilet?

    I try to give Princess a bucket of water to wipe down cabinet doors or a Swiffer duster to dust the baseboards while I scrub the toilet. But, Noooooo. She doesn’t want that boring job where she will make a huge puddle all over the tile floor. She wants the most disgusting germ-filled cleaning job in the whole house.

  3. 3

    Aimee said,

    We have long been Dessert Bonders in this family 🙂

  4. 4

    Carolyn said,

    This was SO wonderfully written! It SO cracked me up! You have such a good sense of humor and wits about you! You did such a GREAT job of describing all of this. I can totally see the whole picture!
    And yes, I live with all men now. My bathrooms have NEVER stunk so bad in my LIFE. What is it with aiming? I do NOT get it!
    Sorry to hear you had to get the flu bug to find this out! I am sure I would discover LOTS of things I wouldn’t want to see in their bathroom as well if I had the flu bug!
    Oh, this is so button worthy! Thanks for entering!
    Don’t forget, I need your address!

  5. 5

    Pops said,

    I have just been catching up on your blogging. I am a very bad father and do not check it every day. But I am so proud! You are so funny! Thanks for coming to Utah! We had a ball.

    You are a great writer! I am looking forward to reading the book you mentioned in your bucket list.

    I love reading your accounts of daily events. The best thing of all that people need to know is that even though the stories are very accurate I can picture the real you going through it all laughing, squealing, and no matter what the crisis you make life look like fun!

    Ima luva, luva, luva you!

  6. 6

    Heather said,

    Just getting a few minutes to get caught up on some reading and almost blew my orange juice out my nose laughing reading this post.

    All I can say is “THANK GOD FOR CLEANING LADIES!” 🙂

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