Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Nazi Mom

I'm getting really, really tired of being The Mean Mom. Sometimes I feel like all I do is tell the kids what to do, and then argue about it. "Clean your room, please." and "Pick up the stuff you knocked off the table, please." But they never do it. It doesn't matter how many times I say, "Please clean your room so we can go to the park!" Or "Pick up the stuff you knocked off the table so we can go downstairs and play with the water guns!" Noooooo....that never works. That would be too easy.

It seems that I'm spending most of my time threatening to put kids in time-out in the corner. Then in their beds. Then grounding them, etc. And the rest of the time, I spend actually doing it. I always follow through. That's what all of the books say. If you tell a child a consequence, follow through with it. Ok. I do that. But then I have no time to accomplish anything else...particularly when I have three kids and three consequences to enforce.

Am I asking too much of them? All I really want is for them to pick up their toys and laundry a couple of times a week. I'm not asking for perfection - I just want their rooms to be clean enough so that I can walk across their floors to kiss them goodnight without breaking my ankle. I don't expect every puzzle to be face-up, or hell, even every puzzle to be in the puzzle tub. I just want them off of the floor and in ANY plastic tub. Is that really too much to ask? Why is it that cleaning their rooms is often a three-day affair? At twice a week, that pretty much leaves us one good day without arguing about cleaning rooms.

*big sigh* I must be doing this all wrong - I really must. I shouldn't feel like a Nazi every evening by the time the kids go to bed. I just want the chance to be a fun mom. The kind who takes her kids to the park in the evenings. The kind who takes 'em for a walk in the mornings. The kind who plays Candyland with them a couple of afternoons a week. But I just can't do that without their cooperation. I don't ask them to do too much around the house - and they won't learn how to take responsibility for themselves if I don't have them at LEAST clean their rooms, right? Is there some sort of middle ground that I'm missing? The one where I can raise decent, responsible kids AND get to do fun things with them at the same time?

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