I begin some mornings by finishing the previous day’s work: emptying or filling the dishwasher; sponging the counters; clearing the dining room table; cleaning the stove. It feels good to start the day fresh.

This morning the pie holders, pans, bowls, and spoons finally took their places and the dishwasher hummed before the kids crawled out of bed. I was determined to have a productive day, accomplish a lot.

I usually make lunch but we had Ramen noodles, which are easy for the kids to prepare. I have a love-hate relationship with Ramen noodles: love the ease and the price, hate the mess. Unless you’ve never had them in your home or your kids are a whole lot neater than mine, you can probably relate.

When I walked in the kitchen after lunch I couldn’t believe the mess: counter and sink covered in bowls caked with noodle remains; hard, uncooked pieces on the floor and scattered across the counter; two half-finished glasses of orange juice and a plate of orange slices on the table.

Although no one else was in the room, my mind screamed, “Do you know how hard I worked in here this morning? Does anyone care how much I do? Doesn’t anyone appreciate me?”

Me. Me. Me. (blah, blah, blah)

You set yourself up for anger and hurt feelings when you take a situation like this and turn it into a personal assault. Been there, done that (didn’t want the t-shirt). Don’t mistake your child’s immaturity, laziness, messiness, or lack of training for personal rebellion against you. Sometimes it just isn’t there.

It’s important to raise responsible kids and I called them back to the scene of the crime to clean up after themselves. And yes, I did point out that the kitchen was clean before they started. I want my kids to respect me and my efforts or those of anyone that serves them. My kids know I expect them to be reasonably neat at restaurants, stores, or anywhere that someone else has to pick up after them, even if that person is being paid and it’s their job.

In a nutshell:

  • Raise responsible kids.
  • Make them accountable for picking up after themselves but be willing to pitch in and work together sometimes.
  • Don’t take it personally if when you find a mess. It’s not about you.

Can you relate?


All 31 Days of Real Life posts can be found here. Other 31 Dayers can be found here.

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