When I woke up yesterday I laid in bed making a mental list for the day. Man had been out of town on a fishing trip and was to return that evening. With him being out of town, I let the house just go.
I mean, worse than usual.
I knew the last thing Man would appreciate after a long flight was to return to a home in disaster. The mission for the day would be to get the house clean. I would need the boys to participate but I was already anticipating their whines and protests so I developed a little plan to make it “fun” for them.
I didn’t grow up in the time where parents tried to soften their words or to gently lead (trick) their children into good behavior. We just did what we were told. My brother and I used to sing old slave hymns while doing the dishes. I know! Horrible! We got in big trouble for it, I assure you. If my mom said, “Clean the bathroom.” I cleaned the bathroom. If I did it with a bad attitude or complained there was punishment. Sometimes a grounding, sometimes a spanking but there would be “none of that.” I kind of wish I could still just do that but I get the whole Whistle While You Work sort of mentality and so I created a “game” of sorts.
I mentally divided the main rooms of the house into four. I got four envelopes and four pieces of paper. The first page said “Basement Mission” across the top. This was followed by a bullet point list of what it would take to complete that mission:
- Pick up all toys, dishes, etc. and return them to where they belong.
- dust all furniture
- wipe down the pub table, sink and counter
- clean dog hair off of couches
I then proceeded to do the same for the bathroom, the living/dining room and the kitchen. Each “mission” was placed in an unmarked envelope and sealed.
I then promised myself that, no matter the level of their cleaning ability, I was not going to go behind and correct it and I was not going to verbally criticize their job. What they do will be their best for now and corrections can come later.
I called the boys in to my room.
“Climb up in bed with me,” I beckoned, because, yeah…I had not even gotten out of bed yet. Did it all right there under the flannel sheets. Ha!
“Daddy comes home today!” I announced.
“Yea!” Buddy cheered.
“Finally!” Bug sighed.
“You know what would be great?” I let them have a nibble at the bait and excitedly ask me, “What?!”
“It would be so great if Daddy came home to a nice clean house!”
“That would be like giving him his Dream House!” Bug said.
“Yeeeah…” I sort of laughed.
Dang. My housekeeping is so bad that one can only “dream” that it would be clean…
“So I think that will be our mission for the day. Today, we will clean the house!”
Bug immediately mentioned a stomach cramp and that he would need to go to the bathroom, his favorite hide out.
“OK but first, I want you boys to choose your missions.”
“Oo! I call the dining room!” Bug shouted.
“Of course you do,” Buddy said wryly. “It’s the easiest to clean.”
“Well, actually, I have your missions here, ” I said waving the envelopes. “I don’t know which room is in here but you will each choose two missions to conquer. Whatever room you get is what you get. There is no trading and no whining. I will be doing my own missions.”
The boys actually got kind of excited as they chose their envelopes. Bug got the bathroom and the kitchen and Buddy got the living/dining room and the basement. Both boys got dressed and set to work.
They were diligent and they were happy. Both were proud of the jobs they did and both did beautiful work! There were some….things…that I have to over look. For example, Buddy used so much furniture polish that all of my wood furniture is oily, including the kitchen table. Ew.
Bug failed to get the pee behind the toilet (yes, BEHIND the toilet) and he used disinfectant wipes on the mirrors instead of Windex so there are foggy smears all over them. But everything is clean and smells great! All I had to do was clean my room and do laundry!
“Mom, that was really pretty fun!” Bug said. “I think we should have missions every weekend.”