I’m lucky, I know. Every week, I have a fantastic woman named Carla come to the house. Her sole responsibility is to clean the house. Both my husband and I are working parents, we don’t have a babysitter, and we quite frankly can’t find the time to keep up with the housework. And so we are fortunate enough to have someone come to help out.
Tuesday in our house is known as Carla Day, which means my kids spend Monday night cleaning their rooms and the toy room. They don’t have to wash the floors or do the windows — they are only 4 and 7, after all. But, they do have to tidy up and pick up any toys lying about. Here’s why:
1. My housekeeper works for me, not for my kids. My husband and I are able to afford someone to help with the house, because we both work hard at our jobs. Since my kids are currently unemployed, our housekeeper doesn’t work for them. That means they can tidy up after themselves.
2. I want my kids to know how to clean up after themselves. I refuse to have those kids in college who have no idea how to do their own laundry, or anything else that involves being tidy.
3. Their future roommates/spouses don’t want to live with a slob. I hated living with sloppy roommates, so I don’t want my kids to be those slobs their friends are complaining about all the time.
4. They need to learn to take responsibility for their actions — and yes, that includes leaving their shoes all over the house.
5. I don’t want entitled kids. The only thing worse than an entitled adult is an entitled child. I’d never be OK with my kids making a mess and saying, “Carla can pick it up.” Oh, no!
6. I don’t want to live in a filthy house. I won’t lie. I like it when my house is clean. Since we have someone come once a week to help with that, there are six other days when I’m picking up after everyone. The kids need to pitch in!
7. I want my kids to be organized. Part of cleaning up after yourself means learning how to get organized. My kids are constantly looking for misplaced items, mainly because they drop them wherever they are standing the minute they lose interest. But if they know they are solely responsible for their stuff, slowly but surely they will learn to stay organized. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.
And while I’m sure it takes me more time to get my kids to clean up after themselves than it would for the housekeeper to do it herself, I know in the long run my efforts will pay off. So, to my kids’ future roommates and spouses: You’re welcome. Now if only my kids could cook!