Thursday, July 10, 2008

After dinner tonight, we called a family meeting to discuss some new "rules" meant for rescuing this house from utter chaos. We talked first about our most recent family reading from Little House in the Big Woods. "How many toys did Mary and Laura have?" "What did they play with?" "How did they spend their days?" 

You get the point. The kids were meant to figure out that not everyone has had the surfeit of toys they do, and not every kid in history or even in the world today expects to play from sun-up to sun-down.

So for the rules:
1. If you want to eat breakfast in the morning, you should be dressed, your bed must be made, and your room should be clean. It is not mom's job to make everyone's beds and help dirty laundry find its way to the hamper. 

2. No toys out of the playroom unless you ask permission. These kids have an entire room dedicated to their play. That's a pretty sweet deal, if you ask me. They aren't expected to clean it on a daily basis. BUT, if they choose to get out every toy in that playroom, cover every square inch of the floor with their CR-P, subsequently deciding there's no space to play and come wondering upstairs looking for new territory to DESTROY, they should think again. 

3. Similar to rule #2, the family room is a quiet room in which to read or do some other quiet activity. It is an adult space and shall not be cluttered with toys. Mother has generously granted permission for each child to bring one toy to play with in the family room. ONE. 

4. Per rule #3, the family room must be tidied before bed. Furthermore, extraneous shoes should be carried to one's room and properly arranged in the closet.

Militaristic, dictatorial, ah, yes, the descriptors might be apt. But let me be honest. We've got a house full of five, count 'em, FIVE kids. The only way any of us, namely me, stays sane is to keep some semblance of order. I'm done with feeling "selfish" when I ask my kids to clear out of the bathroom when I'm showering, to stop taking my shoes out of my closet, to keep out of my office, to wait five minutes to ask a question as I finish my phone call. I used to feel that my boundaries were unreasonable. Goodness, if they had a question for me and wanted to peek their head in the shower to ask me, whom was that really hurting? But then it turns into demands all day long. I'm on the phone, and no one seems to have an ounce of patience to wait to be acknowledged. They want to play dress-up (wonderful, I love it), and insist on using the mirror in my bathroom. I relent only to later discover my bathroom is littered with glittery purses, princess shoes, and spiderman accessories. Not OK. It's not OK anymore. I don't have the time or energy for this. And it's only going to get harder. Pretty soon, we're going to have two toddlers in this house, wreaking havoc.

Just say no. It' s my new theme. 


Jeni said...

LOVE IT! Inspired! I am working on the agenda for our family meeting ASAP. For us it is getting back into correction mode for behavior: not listening to mom the first time, back talk, eye rolling, feet stomping, huffing and puffing, nasty tone of voice. I was just thinking last night that we need to do something and am now INSPIRED! Thanks for sharing General Jen!

Kristy said...

Wow...can you come bring order to my home? Watch out supernanny!

Kristie Reed said...

Hey Jen,
It's been until now that I've actually had a chance to check out your blog and it's a great idea! I appreciate being able to catch up and although we are only a home with 2 children, I love feeling that I'm not alone in this "mom" stuff and feelings of enjoying the world of motherhood while at the same time wanting to hold on to at least some "boundaries"! Until next time! Kristie