Friday, December 3, 2010

Pondering Responsibility

How can I make my children more responsible?

Parenting, by the way, is a lot of work. I find myself turning back to child-rearing books to make sure that I'm not screwing this up. I mean, yeah, I'm obviously not beating my kids or starving them (although they appear to be on a hunger strike of sorts).

The problem is that there is no order in our house at all. It is basically chaos, and it appears to be bleeding into Luke's school work. The worst part is that Evie will be in school next year too and I can't imagine how I'm going to make it work. I've started looking at myself and realizing once again that work is a certain impediment to truly being able to raise my children exactly the way I want to. I don't have the time to organize Luke and Evie's drawers so that they can pick out their own clothes. Half the time I spend the morning digging through a basket of unmatched socks just so Luke will have a pair to put on his feet that day. I don't have time to create charts listing chores. I am not at home to enforce chores. Dishes get thrown in the sink after we eat our take-out meals. There is no system.

I'm not an organized person at home. I never have been and, likely, never will be. Unfortunately, I feel like I'm doing a disservice to my children by failing to give them an example of how to maintain an organized and disciplined lifestyle. This bleeds into the way I eat and the way I exercise (or rather, the way I don't exercise). Pretty much everything could be revamped so that our household flows better.

So what can I do besides change myself to be a more organized and responsible person in this facet of my life? I don't think there is anything else to do. You tell me.


Angela said...

Whenever you have something like that to tackle, break it down into smaller things. If you think, OMG, I have to do this huge reorganization project, then it's so daunting you will never start.

Start small. One change a week or something like that. Set a timer and say, I'm going to see what I can get done in an hour.

Barring all that - it is ALWAYS okay to hire professional help. That's why professional organizers exist.

If I had time/money, I would be down there to help - I love to organize stuff for other people. :D

Anonymous said...

Hey Tree, We all have to pick our battles. My suggestion is pick the one that will have the most payoff in de-stressing your day. If it's getting dressed in the morning, put together a weeks worth of outfits including accessories and socks on Sat or Sun. If the kids help, this will set them up in a habit that they can choose to keep or dismiss when they're out of the house or responsible enough on a daily basis. I spend 2-4 hours on the weekend with laundry/ironing so that I don't have to deal with it during the week when I want to get out the door or come home and veg.
Think outside the box also. At my house, the kids bathe in my bathroom. After 11 years of reserving the kids bathroom tub for bathing that wasn't happening, I arranged 3 laundry baskets to help with the sorting of clothes and keep the clutter out of the bed rooms.

Just a couple of suggestions, but I agree with Angela. One project at a time. Once you're consistent with one, pick another. Love ya' Cathy

Mom said...

I think you are being a little hard on yourself. You do make the kids pick up each evening. One suggestion would be to have them put away the toy they are playing with before getting another toy out. You already make the kids go to bed close to the same time every evening. You feel overwhelmed because you already do so many things with the kids. Soccor and Football practice and games, Church school and Church, fixing lunches. Even though the dishes are in the sink, mine often sit on the counter because I have to unload the dishwasher before I can put the dirty dishes into the dishwasher. Your kids are the most important thing and they will never be the same age again. You spend time with them and let them know they are loved. My feeling was that everything comes second the the kids and their wellbeing. You are handling that just fine.

The Potters said...

I don't think any of us can do it all. We're only equipped to try our best, and I honestly think that you are not only trying your best, but doing a pretty da*n good job at it too. Don't be so hard on yourself, T. The kids will be fine.

Had a great time with you guys last night!

Theresa said...

Thanks ladies. We're going to do our best to get things back in order at our house. Luke helped make his lunch this morning. I'm not sure if it is a step forward or a step back.

Angie said...

This post almost made me cry because I feel the same way about so many things. I can't help but fight that nagging feeling that I'm just a good mother...good not great.

When I'm feeling particulary crappy I make lists, schedule to-do lists (yes, I actually write "fold laundry" on my calendar so I know that I'm setting a time aside for it later and don't have to worry about it right now), and I blog about it so that I can fill my inbox with messages telling me that it's going to be okay.

So, your story makes me feel better because I know that I'm not alone out there and I hope that in turn makes you feel better knowing that YOU'RE not alone either and that you're doing wonderful things for and with your family and it will get better. My mother always says, "This too shall pass" and it usually annoys me but she's right...the feeling of complete loss of control will eventually pass and you'll remember that you're a great mother and wife and the fact that you're not perfect just means that you're human. :)

Mary said...

Theresa - I know exactly how you feel. You and I are not the organized type like our sisters. BUt we have other strengths that are just as valuable - like spontaneity. I have had to take on a few new habits for my kids - but it is hard. One that works for me is helping Alexa pick out her clothes the night before and setting out her lunch box and school bag with everything in it. Actually, I think this might be the only one I have mostly stuck with. What I do know is that our kids love us for who we are and for the time and attention we give them. They will remember the fun mom they have - not the mess.