Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla: Last week, I found myself at the end of my rope. It seemed that everywhere I turned, there was another pile of stuff for me to deal with!
My kids are usually pretty good about cleaning up after themselves, but the beginning of the school year is an adjustment for them. The constant stream of paperwork from school, the piles of laundry from games and practices, the counters, tables and floors littered with books, games and the project of the moment ("Let's dress up!"; "Why don't we have a lemonade stand?"; "I bet I can make twenty different kinds of paper airplanes!") ....
I went into my daughter's room to attempt to locate a matching sock, and when she opened her drawer, it exploded -- and so did I. The problem was that I couldn't come up with too many natural consequences of her being messy, other than the fact that it made a lot of extra work for me.
I knew she liked to have friends over and liked the house to look nice for them. I knew she didn't like to wear clothes that were dirty or super wrinkled. I knew she liked to be able to locate her things pretty quickly. I talked about all those things, but I wasn't sure it was really getting through.
When she came home from school the very next day, she told me that she'd had a container of toy slime in her backpack (which I had told her to take out a week prior). She had set her backpack down hard, the container had cracked and the inside of her backpack had been coated with the stuff. She'd spent a good hour taking everything out of her backpack, cleaning off pens, pencils, rulers, etc. and wiping down notebooks. Then she'd had to wash the backpack and reload it for school.
I tried to keep the "I told you so" to a minimum and thanked her for taking care of the situation. Over the weekend, she willingly spent a few hours in her room, organizing. I don't know if she's a changed kid, but at least for now, she thinks I may be on to something ....