Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lisa Life Lesson : To clean or not to clean…

First things first, please don’t judge MY cleanliness. Messy Teenage Girl’s (MTG) room does not reflect the rest of my house. We keep things nice and tidy. However, MTG’s room is another story. Secondly, MTG did give me permission to use this photo and blog about her…”issue.” In fact, she actually thought I “enhanced” the photo. I did not touch a thing. I solemnly swear.

The dirty room question comes up at every SkyMoms event I attend. What do we do about it? Is it a reflection of their character? Is it defiance? What if they never learn to clean? What kind of roommate will they be? And so on…

I have learned through the years that a dirty room is just that, a dirty room. It is not a picture into the future and is not a character flaw. It’s just evidence of a preteen and teen’s chaotic, crazy lifestyle. School, extra-curricular, church, friends, sports, etc. They get busy and the room takes a back seat to all of the above.

Am I excusing MTG’s lack of motivation to clean her room? No. But I get it. Here’s how we handle it at our house:

1.  Once a week I ask her to clean it “Mommy Clean.” That means, clean it like I would clean it. Really good.

2. Through the week, when I ask her to bring down her laundry, I expect her to bring down her laundry. When it’s clean, I expect her to put it up properly. It is demoralizing to find fresh, clean clothes on the floor. Been there?

3. I try to call the upstairs her “apartment.” She’s the only one who lives up there so it kind of is. It makes it “cool” and “hip” to clean her very own apartment.

4. My now 21 year old daughter is immaculate. Her room once looked like MTG’s.

5. Lastly, I try to keep things in perspective. In a few short years, (1 ½ to be exact), I can clean to my heart’s desire and no one will be around to mess it up again. Sigh. Cry.

~ Lisa Clark

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