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How do you ladies do it???

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: How do you ladies do it???
By My2girlygirls on Monday, November 24, 2008 - 12:45 pm:

I have two girls 10 and 13 years old. I am so sick of cleaning up after these kids... I swear. Their rooms are always messy, they walk in the door and drop their school stuff, they each have a hamper in their rooms and the clothes will still get thrown on the floor. I have tried the "If it's not in the hamper, I don't wash it" approach. It just sits in the floor until I cannot stand it anymore and I will stand there and watch them clean their rooms. It gets so tiring. I have taken away privileges. I have even tried to just let it go and see how long they can stand it (a REALLY LONG TIME) I just can't stand it. The rest of our house is nice and clean and neat (as long as I get on them about putting shoes and backpacks and coats away) I don't know what to do anymore. I am a SAHM so I think some of it is that they think I'm home all day and can just do it when I do the rest of the housework. They don't say that, it's just a perception I think. I praise them when they clean up and I don't go behind them and criticize or redo any of it. I just think by this point in their lives and in mine, expecting them to clean up after themselves is not asking too much. Am I fooling myself?

By Kaye on Monday, November 24, 2008 - 01:27 pm:

Well I guess it just depends on what you are trying to teach them.

Personally, I just close the door. I don't do any laundry that doesn't come downstairs sorted to wash. I don't fold their clothes any more, and I don't iron. So my daughter age 14 has figured out that she has to put her clothes away properly if she wants them to look nice. And I don't guarantee instant turn around on laundry. So that means if they want a certain outfit, I need it the day before and some notice that they need it. Otherwise you wash it yourself.

Really what's the worse that can happen? She can look sloppy and live in a sty. She will soon learn that she can't have friends over without them making fun of her.

Why do we keep a clean house? It is healthier and it looks nice and we can find our stuff. It won't really hurt her to have a messy room.

I do on occasion say, if the house is clean (meaning their rooms) then we can do such and such today. And they will get it done for that. I also don't let them buy anything if their room is messy. And they have to tell me where it's new home is going to be.

There rooms aren't clean, but they stay where they can pick them up in 10 mintues or so.

By Annie2 on Monday, November 24, 2008 - 03:00 pm:

I go through the same thing with my kids. They let there room get so messy....and they try many times to pick it up by picking up all clothes on the floor and putting into the laundry room. I don't know how items I find still folded!
I've explained to them if they just take the time to put things away they wouldn't have to do a three hour cleaning.
Two of my girls that share a room, ages 13 and 14, were working on their room last night...then decided to rearrange it. Took down their bunks, moved furniture, etc. It looks great. Well, it did last night anyway. I haven't gone in there this am lol
They love when their room is neat. I guess they will get it someday when they become parents.
Hang in there. If you find the magic solution let us all know! :)

By Karen~admin on Monday, November 24, 2008 - 05:37 pm:

Sarah, having raised 2 teenage girls, I *think* I've tried pretty much everything - and I think they both inherited the *piggy* gene from one side of the family or another because I am here to tell you, NOTHING worked.

With Jules, she was my X's DD and came to live with us in 1983 when I was pregnant with Jeff - she was 12 at the time. Her way was *the messier/dirtier, the better*. We tried removing things, removing privileges, grounding, fighting, doing a sweep and clean - which meant giving a warning to pick everything up and put it where it belongs or anything left on the floor would be swept up and thrown away. And it was done - more than once. It was a constant battle. I taught her how to use the washer and dryer and told her from then on she was responsible for doing her own laundry. I believe at one point we even removed the door from her room.

There are 13 years between Jules and Jen. I've had pretty much the same issues with Jen. When she was younger, it wasn't nearly as bad as when she was an adolescent/teen. Now, at 23, she has been pretty much just as bad. Tried everything I listed above and even got to the point when she was in high school where I said *It's HER living space, if she wants to live like a pig, then let her*, as long as her sty didn't spill over into the rest of the house. HOWEVER she also had a cat and a litter box, which didn't get cleaned regularly so consequently, the carpeting was ruined.

We no longer have the cat OR the carpeting. And nearly 2 years ago, we did a lot of renovations in the house including new flooring, doors, paint, windows, etc. I did NOT want the *new* room to end up being a pig sty like the old one but gradually, it got pretty close. Up until recently it's still been a pigpen, but I could see it was starting to bug even her.

So what I FINALLY figured out a couple months ago was this: She has/had no organizational skills when it came to her room. It was totally overwhelming for her. She had too much *stuff*, particularly stuff she didn't use, wear or need any longer.

So what we've done TOGETHER is gone through every single drawer, closet space, box of *stuff*, and made piles of stuff to donate, throw out, etc. She then took pride, with my help, in organizing her drawer and closet space, and choosing which things to keep and put on the dresser, etc. for decor.

We also bought new bedding and she picked it out. Now the room is organized and beautiful. She has a laundry basket in there, and each day, she puts her things away, puts the dirty laundry in the basket, and is FINALLY taking pride in *her* space. And she's said that knowing she has an uncluttered, CLEAN room to go into or wake up in has lessened her stress level and makes her feel proud and relaxed.

I think I made a huge mistake many, many years ago because I evidently did not teach the kids organizational skills. So I'd fight with them about cleaning their rooms, the rooms got to the point where I'd want to burn them down, the kids were overwhelmed, I was angry and refused to help them clean up *their* mess, and so began a cycle that continued into adulthood. I THOUGHT I had taught them, but I realize I didn't teach them to organize, or more importantly, the necessity of organizing and the pride issue in keeping your space clean.

Jen's been doing her own laundry for the most part since age 12 also. I don't know what the answer is. Different things work for different families. I DO know that you can easily miss something in early childhood when you are teaching them how to do things, and I have recently learned that I made some huge mistakes I wasn't aware of. So, you have a few suggestions from those of us who have posted.

I will say that my kids DID have regular *house* chores when they were younger and like many/most kids, it was often a battle, but the chores got done.

I would *really* like to see Melanie post - she uses Love and Logic and I don't think she has issues with her kids with their rooms.

Good luck! :)

By My2girlygirls on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 - 07:16 am:

Thanks ladies. I guess what I am trying to teach them is to respect your stuff and your surroundings. I work hard to keep the rest of the house clean and straight and think that I am not asking too much for them to keep their rooms reasonable. I'm not looking for showroom rooms here just reasonable. I have a cleaning lady that comes every other week and I make them shovel the floor before then. I have told them that from now on if they fight it I will close their door and my cleaning lady will not do their rooms...they will. Mop & bucket, dust cloth and vacuum. I am tired of it being a fight but I'm not sure that me giving up and letting them live like slobs is the right thing to do. It may be great for them but not for my peace of mind.

By Kernkate on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 - 07:47 am:

I had to laugh when I read this post. My DD who is 8 is not neat at all. No matter what she does it turns into a mess. I help her clean her room which is always a mess. Lately she has been doing pretty good keeping it part way clean. I just talked to her and said, "Do you want Nicole or Emily (her friends) to come over and see this room like this?." At first she said their rooms are worse...gees. That didn't work.
But lately she has been doing ok with with cleaning it up...not to how I would have it but she is learning.
My 2 boys were always very neat with their room, and I thought a girl would be better with cleaning...not my Alissa :)
DS Brett who is 14 will even now do laundry for me when I am working.

By Karen~admin on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 - 08:55 am:

Sarah, YES! I neglected to mention the respect aspect! I remember trying that, of course it fell on deaf ears.

All I can say is decide what your *minimum* acceptable rules and cleanliness standards are going to be. Good luck!

By Bobbie~moderator on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 - 10:44 am:

Karen, your post made me smile.. I remember back to those days of the Jen battles, and it sounds like you all are coming full circle.

I remember to this day the drama of my moms expectations over my room and how it made me feel having to hear about what a pigsty I lived in, regularly. Sadly, my earliest childhood memories involve me cleaning my room and how the situations would play out with my mom. I know that no matter what I did or how well I did anything else in my life my value to her hinged on whether I dumped the laundry basket in a timely manner. One of my sisters rebelled against the whole thing to the point she nearly stopped showering for a year, she was so tired of being judged over her cleanliness, she just stopped completely. She is a clean person now but at the time it was the only thing she could control. My other sister and I discussed this very topic this morning, she was talking about how she is OCD about cleaning and that she needs to figure out how to let go some because she doesn't want her young children to grow up with the same issues we did.

All I know is, my children are growing up way too fast, one is nearly 20 years old, the other is a short year from being 18, and my girls are nearly 12 years old. Before I know it they will all be out on their own and my house will be as clean as I choose to keep it. Until then I choose to not make the chaos that comes with a house full of people into a issue between us. I do make them keep their stuff out of the main living areas, and they are required to clean up after themselves in the kitchen and bathrooms, but I don't sweat whether they live out of a laundry basket or not. When they are on their own, they will live how they choose to live, whether I make them keep their rooms clean now or not.

I really have no suggestions but I do want to wish you luck in finding a resolve for this issue.

By Karen~admin on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 - 06:34 pm:

Bobbie, my sister commented on that just yesterday. Now, if Jen had not been here for me the last 6 weeks, I honestly don't know what I'd have done. We are so close now, it makes me hurt. :)

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