Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Happiness in the form of gummi worms

As the boys have gotten older, we've been giving them chores, Morgan more than Bailey due to age. Morgan has to take out the trash, unload the dishwasher, pick up his toys (this does not always get done judging from the atomic bomb of toys in my home), and take his dirty clothes to the laundry room. Bailey assists his brother with the trash, picks up toys (see previous parentheses), pick up dirty clothes, and sometimes feed the dog.

Both kids (and I) are seriously lacking in the putting away clean clothes department. Anyone who knows me knows I loathe laundry and dishes more than any other chores. Give me vacuuming, cleaning windows (which reminds me...), dusting (crap), or anything other than laundry! Truth be told, I'm not the greatest housekeeper. I'd rather be playing with my children or reading a book than making sure my home is ready for Southern Living.

So, all of that being said, three weeks ago I put two baskets of clean and folded clothing into the boys' room. Yes, three weeks. I decided I was striking on putting away their clothes. They're old enough, tall enough, and coordinated enough to put away their own clothing. It's a life skill for both of them, like making a bed. But still, the baskets sat. My husband and I told the kids that if they (finally) didn't put them away by bedtime of last night, there would be consequences... we hadn't really hammered out that thought yet. We honestly hate punishing our children and the point of the entire exercise was so that I wouldn't have to do it.

After Morgan did his homework yesterday and before dinner, he put away his clothes. His brother... well, Bailey was pouting, playing, just in general not doing what I'd told him. The child had even convinced his brother to lock their door so they could "work in private." This means slack off in a private room.

I did not want to yell. I probably yell too much and I do not think the other people in our building appreciate it. I especially did not want to yell over stupid clothing.

We had the boys eat dinner. We reaffirmed to Bailey that he had to put away his clothing, HAD to. There would be consequence which we had not thought out!

Morgan came to tell me that Bailey had not put away all of his clothes. "Seriously?" I thought. The child, I think, loves gaining attention by not doing what he's told and I really did not want to go into his room and yell. I also did not want to cave and put away the clothes myself. I was eating sour gummi worms, Morgan asked for one. I had an "ah-hah!" moment. I told him sure and I'd give him two if he'd go and supervise his brother. I thought that if Morgan was just there to encourage Bay, the clothes would be put away.

Morgan said, "I'd be the boss?!" "Yeah, bud, but no being mean, no being bad, okay?" "OKAY, Mommy!"

Off he went with his sour gummi worms. The clothes were put away within five minutes. We, as a family, were able to relax in our clean(ish) - I'm working on it! - living room, watching television.

I should have used bribery weeks ago.


  1. also...gummi worms make good drinks! Win-Win

    1. ONLY if you soak em in vodka or rum.. unless you're talking about something I of which I am ignorant. If so, spill.

  2. Bribery, reward, incentive...call it what you will. I always like to hear from other moms who hate housework, and are willing to do the minimum required most of the time. I am seriously considering asking the in home OT to "teach" the boy to clean the living room. Hey, it's a life skill, right?

    1. YES! Cleaning is a life skill just as much as learning about money, tying shoes, and all that other junk, lol. Morgan loves, I mean, LOVES, to vacuum. I let him vacuum his room because, honestly, if he did the whole house I wouldn't be able to say I did much :)

    2. Ditto to what she said! Housework is definitely not my strength - there's alwasy something else I'd rather do. And whether you call it bribery or an incentive, either way it's a strategy that can work wonders! :)