I am learning to streamline some of the training that goes into parenting. The more children we have the more necessary it becomes to have a system that can manage details without my constant intervention. With that in mind I created the Buy-Back Box. Pure genius, if I do say so myself. It has alleviated a huge amount of angst in me, and my home is suddenly de-cluttered and clean. Let me explain.
Once upon a time my children were asked to clean up their belongings. They went about their task with relative ease, and in just a few short minutes completed their chore. Well, completed might be a strong word for what they accomplished - namely, half of the necessary cleaning. So, I reminded them to finish the job. They went about their task with slight murmurings, but in just a few short minutes had completed their chore. Well, completed might be a strong word to use for what they accomplished - namely, three-quarters of the necessary cleaning. So, I reminded them to finish the job. They went about their task with thinly veiled sighs and groans, but in just a few short minutes had completed their chore. Well, completed might be a strong work for what they accomplished...
I stepped on a Littlest Pet Shop toy (read: roofing tack) as I headed to bed.
Normally I would seriously debate waking the whole house for a stern lecture while fuming over the negligence of my children. Of course waking Phoebe to prove a point about diligence would only make my night worse, so I usually settled for putting the toy away myself and then reminding my children the following day about their gross misbehavior. The result was often blank stares, muffled apologies, and a general acceptance of the need to, "do it better next time."
The next time went something startlingly similar to the first time.
After three or four of these cycles I would finally reach my breaking point and declare war on all the clutter in the house. Kids were sent scurrying for every stray toy under every bed. The outside, inside and underside of the house was straightened, vacuumed and polished. I ruthlessly threw the detritus of their childhood into the garbage. I ranted about cleanliness, thoroughness and several other obligatory "ness"es known to be so effective in these parental tirades. It felt wonderful.
The problem was my ridiculous notion that I had actually effected real change in my children. All you seasoned parents out there can now stop laughing at me. Eventually I came to recognize the simple fact that my temper tantrums were simply not aiding in getting the job done. Something needed to change. So, I instituted the Buy-Back Box.
And peace is reigning in my home.