Monday, May 3, 2010

On Stripping

Call it flipping your lid.  Call it, losing your marbles.  Whatever you want to call it, it happened to me on Sunday.  I remembered that 6+ years ago, (the last time I watched) it was an idea that was approved by Dr. Phil.  So, I did it. 

What is "it" exactly? 


Allow me to explain...

In our house the children we go through a series of "stages" (much like grieving) when it comes to cleaning. 
  1. Shock & Denial-  Holy cow!  How did the entire upstairs get so bad in such a short amount of time?!  Oh well, I'm sure if we ask them nicely, they will pick it up before it gets completely out of control, right?  WRONG!
  2. Pain & Guilt-  OUCH!  Dang Legos!  That's it, they are cleaning this up tonight!  I totally should have made them clean it up yesterday, so it's really MY fault that I punctured my foot...
  3. Anger & Bargaining-  You are grounded from T.V. until the entire upstairs is clean!  I mean it!  If you want to have dinner tonight, you will clean your rooms!  Okay, maybe that's too harsh.  How about, if you guys get the whole upstairs clean, then we can have a family movie night, or go to Six Flags?  That sounds fair, right?
  4. Depression, Reflection, & Loneliness-  I'm so tired of living in filth!  Maybe they do it because I don't pay enough attention to them.  I'll try anything!  I feel like I'm trying to rebuild after a flood, all by myself!  Can't somebody help me?!
  5. The Upward Turn-  What?!  You cleaned your rooms?!  Finally!  Oh they look wonderful!  Wait...did you just shove everything in your closet/under your bed?!  That, my dears, is NOT cleaning!
  6. Reconstruction & Working Through-  Perhaps, if I set the example by getting my areas of the house spick and span, they will follow suite.  Yeah, that's what I'll do.  Then, I'll help them, by breaking down their rooms into "zones".  They can start by picking up books.  Then, stuffed animals.  Then, dirty clothes.  I'm sure that will work...
  7. Acceptance & Hope-  Alright, Roon.  It's gotten really bad up there.  I don't even want to put their laundry away, because I feel like I'm risking my life to walk into their rooms.  I'm pretty sure that they are to the point of overwhelmed.  I guess it's up to us, now.  On Saturday, we will go in there, and clean it up.  We'll get things organized, and then all they have to do is maintain it.  This totally seems manageable now! 
This cycle repeats itself, either weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.  Depending on a few different variables.  On Sunday, after many futile attempts to motivate them, I had had enough.  A much needed plan was set into motion.  Roon and I went into their rooms, and started organinzing, purging, so on and so forth.  3 hours later, the kids didn't seem to care.  After all, this was just the final step in the stages of cleaning, so they were used to it.  Until... 
We decided to offer an 8th step in the stages of cleaning...  COMPLIANCE. 
Their eyes were big as saucers, and Boo began to cry as they watched all their newly re-organized boxes, buckets, and storage containers being relocated to the attic.
Their rooms have been stripped down to the bare essentials.  Beds, clothes, their favorite blankets/stuffed animals, and one or two toys.  That's it.  Their T.V. has been unplugged.  Their computer games have been stored.  Even their DVD's have been put up until further notice. 

My kids are being thrown cold turkey into a world free of "privelege" and full of "necessity".  Let's hope they learn to appreciate and respect what they have...and fast.  I think Boo is starting to go through Dora withdrawals...


shortmama said...

I had to do this to my oldest before. Now though she has a checklist in her room that she must do every night. It helps her to see what I expect her room to look like instead of me just saying it over and over. It says things like checking underbed and on closet floor, putting toys in their PROPER containers and even making sure she is ready for bed with pjs and teeth brushed. It has been a sanity saver for me. Every night at 7pm its time to do the checklist and the tv goes off and she gets it done. After she says its done I go in and see if I agree that its done correctly. If it is then I give her a check and if she gets all her checks for the week she earns something...but not something that costs money. Things like an hour of computer time, going to the library, choosing what we have for dinner, having a movie night, etc

MiMi said...

My mom came into my room with a RAKE and got all the stuff out of my closet and from under my bed. My sister and I shared a room, so she did her side too.
We sat there working on that crap for HOURS. My mom would only come in to bring us more garbage bags. And rake the pile into a smaller heap as we picked through it. It was bad.

WhisperingWriter said...

I might have to try this sometime.

CJ Sime said...

There are no words to describe how much I enjoyed this post.

Here is a poor attempt:

CJ Sime said...

There are no words to describe how much I enjoyed this post.

Here is a poor attempt:

Myya said...

I'm jealous! I soooo need to do this. I have threatened a few times but haven't followed through. I thought my girls were too young... I guess not huh! I bet it would save me from getting so mad at all the stuff laying around & maybe even keep me from yelling so much.

Emmy said...

Wow! Good for you. I don't think I could do this as I would miss the freedom I get when they are trashing, I mean playing in their rooms :)

Good good for you!

And yes, I totally understand that cycle. though my son is currently doing good again as he is earning money for a toy.
Every day he has to make his bed, clear all his meal dishes, clean his room before bedtime and one additional chore then he gets to mark a day off. Once he gets the amount of days that the toy cost (this time $80-darn expensive Legos) then he will be able to buy the toy. It works great actually.

Brooks said...

Did I ever tell you that all I have to do to get my boys to clean is to get out a garbage bag and shake it? The sound of rustling plastic is enough to awaken them from the deepest denial.

Mommy is a mean, mean, mommy.