Sometimes I feel like I’ve lost my touch with my children. Like, we live together, we eat together, we face life together, but there seems to be a disconnect.
Do you ever open your mouth and words come out, like a simple phrase, comment, or request/reminder to get something accomplished, but it flows from your mouth like a silent breath because nobody so much as blinks in acknowledgement?
Now I know that words do manage to make their way out at least occasionally because I have seen response to things like “Let’s have smores!” “Who wants a popsicle?” “The barbecue is hot, you’re gonna get bur…”
I’m sure you’re thinking I could combine the two. “Let’s have s’mores … as soon as we finish our chores!” “Who wants a popsicle? Great, let’s clean our rooms first!” But, as soon as work gets thrown in, all motivation is gone and nothing productive or fun happens as a result.
My mom and little sister were here for a few days last week. They can attest to the drama that happens when the words “Time to clean the bedrooms” are uttered. Or there was the week before when two of my nieces stayed with us and were exasperated that it was always time to do chores again. I pointed out that it was because I said “do your chores” two thousand times over 2 hours before they were finally finished. We had another meal, so it was time to do it again.
My kids just lack any motivation to contribute to the household functioning for our large family. Plus, we live such a boring life there isn’t much to take away, and adding to the chore task only makes steam pour from my ears due to frustration in the zero cooperation.
This has made summer long and painful. Then, I had my wisdom teeth removed and have felt in a fog since then which has only added to the ease of these chore protesters and my mounting frustrations. (To be honest, it’s probably hormones and a small case of PPD in addition to the surgery, but I am not worrying about that yet because I’m still taking care of me first.)
But! Today I had a break through! After lunch, I set a timer for 12 minute and told them to hurry up and get ‘er done. (Clear table and counter then wipe; unload dishes and load 10 pieces from sink; pick up all the floors)
After 12 minutes 3/5 hadn’t completed their job. Two of them were nearly done, though, so almost got off with a warning. However, I stopped myself and enforced a new punishment to all the slackers because those close to not-slacking slackers have been warned before.
I took away their pillows and blankets.
They’ve already begun peppering me with how long I plan to keep my new bedding, and to be honest? I don’t know. I told them I will give them a chance to redeem a blanket, of my choice, by doing after dinner chores perfectly, respectfully, and quickly.
I feel so empowered! Hopefully this works to my advantage and I can only get more creative from here. I decided it is my fog horn in this recent mom brain fog.
Discipline sucks. I hate it. But, it is necessary. I wish they could see the correlation between the peacefulness that comes with cooperation and the dismay that accompanies uncooperation. Or simply just recognize how much more time they have to do whatever it is they always seem to want to do instead. They feel good, I feel good, it’s all good! Or, it’s all just a big fat, humid rain cloud that thunders at us all all day.
Today it is humid, but the thundering has stopped!
I promise to let you know how well this sticks and if we have a final meeting of minds that allows us all to get back on same page of knocking out our chores quickly and without complaint.