Allison over at Motherhood WTF has been conducting experiments on what happens to her family’s items when she doesn’t nag them to pick them up.
Inspired, I am hereby conducting an experiment. It’s called “What happens when Karen doesn’t nag her family to clean up after themselves.”
This family knows that they are expected to clean up their own stuff. I only clean up after me and the baby, and sometimes Eric when he is busy doing other things like working or taking care of the children or making dinner, what have you. Still, he cleans up after himself 99% of the time.
However, I HATE HATE nagging. It’s sucking my soul dry. I am sick of seeing things sitting where they do not belong and constantly saying, “pick up your ____. You know it doesn’t belong there. You know where it does belong. You have two huge bedrooms upstairs and a huge playroom downstairs to play in. The toys do not belong on this floor of the house. Your socks don’t belong in/on/under the couch/car. Pick them up.” They know what they are supposed to do. I’m not some magical being (like a wizard or a cat) who can see things out of place that others cannot.
So I’m not going to tell them to pick it up anymore. I’m done. I’ll vacuum AROUND all of their shit instead of picking it all up and placing it on the bottom of the stairs with the implication of “this is yours, take it upstairs.” And then watching it sit there and pile up for 3 weeks before saying, “Pick up your stuff on the stairs. You’ve walked by it 2000 times. You know it is yours and doesn’t belong there and that stuff on the bottom of the stairs means TAKE IT UPSTAIRS WITH YOU THE NEXT TIME YOU GO UP! If you don’t pick it up, I’m throwing it away.” That’s the ONLY time stuff gets picked up around here. When I tell them to (at least 3 times. It never gets picked up the first time I ask.) and then when I threaten to take away tokens or throw stuff away.
I’m done. I’m going to take photos of the 5 problem areas here. The first set are what they look like after I’ve finished my daily housework and before the kids get home from school. The second set are what they look like when the kids go to bed tonight, without me saying so much as “pick up your homework and put it in your backpack” or “please get those stinky socks off the floor. The baby is eating them.”
The third set of photos will be of what the areas look like tomorrow morning after the kids get on the bus. And a fourth set will be Thursday night after they go to bed. Two days. How messy can two boys be in two days without me nagging constantly to do what they are supposed to know how to do on their own? STAY TUNED! I’ll update this post with pictures as soon as I go all MSPaint on them.
Photo set 1. The before:
This is the desk in the kitchen where I pay the bills. The kids’ chore list is on the fridge by day. If they complete everything on the list without me nagging, they earn a token.
This is the kitchen counter. Notice how it is not full of dishes. Notice also that pile of crap in the corner that I have been nagging and begging to be picked up since Christmas. Eff that pile of crap.
Living room. I.E. toy collection space, though I do keep a few baby toys here, since this is where the Bot hangs out all day. Notice how the pillows and blankets are neatly on the couch. This will likely change to strewn across the floor.
The bane of my existence. Predicted outcome is that the hamper will go upstairs and the rest of the stuff will not. It may multiply.
The kitchen table. A formidable opponent for school papers.