Sunday, March 2, 2014

Like sands through the hour glass so are the days of cleaning our rooms...

The other day my kids and I were shopping at Target when my oldest picked up an hour glass and then all 3 of them started asking if they could have it. My first response was, "What do we need that for?" But, then my mind began to ponder, "Hmmm... Well, it is pretty cool...What could we use it for? Hmmm." Suddenly flashbacks of years of fighting with them to clean their rooms... crying, fighting, reading books, searching for solutions, setting boundaries, repeating boundaries, more crying, more fighting, more books, and on and on with only one constant... messy rooms. 

Before I realized it, my mouth was saying, "Oh good, we have a timer now for you guys to clean your rooms. If you aren't done by the time the sand runs out then whatever is left on the floor gets packed away." And to my surprise, they all cheered, "Okay! Yay!"

"What?!?!?! Did they just yell yay???" Yep, that's what I heard so we put it in the buggy and moved on. When I got home, my husband questioned my purchase. What did we need that for he wanted to know so I explained and gave the kids more guidelines. 

1. I would not argue or yell, I would simply tell them that it was time to clean and flip the hour-glass... Which really turned out to be a ten minute glass so it gets flipped once, if they are truly putting in effort and working to the best of their ability I will flip it again. I have never had to flip it more than twice. 20 minutes!!! What used to waste hours of my days/weeks with fighting and crying now takes 20 minutes at the most! 

2. Whatever was still on the floor when it ran out would be taken and placed in a bin. 

3. If they keep their room clean for the week then they can get a toy back from the bin at the end of the week (based on the idea taught in "The Parable of the Talents"... if they do well with what they have they will be given more and if they don't then they lose what they have). Now, of course they don't have to keep it spotless and never play; but, they are expected to clean up their big messes when they are done playing and thoroughly clean up all the little stuff that gets misplaced here and there once a week (when the hour glass flips). 

That night the kids were begging me to use the hour glass! Which means they were actually begging me to clean their rooms! So, I flipped it over and they raced around picking things up and even helping each other clean! No fighting! No crying! What?!?!?! 

I thought it was a fluke thing, you know excitement over the new cool purchase. Yet, the next room cleaning experience went pretty much the same. Except, my youngest stopped in the middle to say, "Thank you Mommy!" My son looked at her and asked, "For what?" 

Yes, "For what?" I was wondering too. 

"For letting us clean our rooms and letting us keep our toys," she continued. 

"What?!?!?" The very thing they felt entitled to before now because a blessing! The bad mommy who was making them clean their room had now become a cool mommy that was letting them clean their rooms! All because of a simple $5.00 purchase!!! 

Now, I know you're tempted to think it was still new; however, every experience since the purchase has been about the same. In fact, just this evening I told them to clean their rooms but forgot to flip the hour glass. They were fighting and moping and sitting around on their butts not even moving. So, I told them again and they began crying. I didn't even realize it until my youngest asked, "Mommy, are you going to flip the hour glass?" that I had forgotten the routine! (I don't know how but call it temporary mommy amnesia... yes, we all suffer from it at times.) So, I replied, "Yes, I am" and flipped it. I'd never seen the 3 of them run so quickly and 10 minutes later they were done! 

I know I said before that purchasing our van was the #bestpurchaseever; but, this hour glass definitely comes in a close second place!  

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