Sunday, June 15, 2008

What Do You Do All Day?

Have you seen this story? It has been passed around from inbox to inbox for a couple of years now.
I love it.
Makes me laugh every time I read it!

What Do You Do All Day?
A man came home from work and found his three children outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard. The door of his wife's car was open, as was the front door to the house and there was no sign of the dog.
Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall.
In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing.
In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door.
He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened.
He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door. As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls.
As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went.
He looked at her bewildered and asked, "What happened here today?"
She again smiled and answered, "You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world I do all day?"
"Yes," was his incredulous reply.
She answered, "Well, today I didn't do it."
Can you relate to the mother in this story? I certainly can! Some days I feel as if the only thing I do is clean up other people's (read: my children's) messes, put away their things, throw away their wrappers, take care of their stuff.
I know - I'm the mom. To some extent I know this is my "job" and I want to serve my family with a glad heart. But I also know my kids are able to take care of their own "stuff" and they can pitch in and help out more than they do. I do want to serve them with a glad heart, but when my glad-ness is so challenged by the I-deserve-your-service-attitude I have gotten too often, I know something has got to change.
One day, somewhere between sweeping up crumbs and tripping over shoes, I decided there was going to come a time when my kids realize how much I do around here, and they were going to learn the importance of helping me out. But I didn't want to wait for the "someday" when they have families of their own and they begin to understand in retrospect. I wanted them to understand sooner, rather than later, so I decided I was going to quit. For awhile.
But I wouldn't do it while school was in session. I didn't want to disrupt their lives too much, and I thought my little object lesson would be much more effective if they were home all day.

Well, school's out. Hee hee hee!

So, my friends, next week - as in, the week of June 23 - I am taking myself off duty. I am not doing laundry. I will not sweep the floor. No one will catch me picking up wrappers and putting them in the garbage. I won't be loading the dishwasher or putting away cereal boxes. No wiping of counters, no hanging of towels, no picking up dirty socks.
Oh, I will take care of my things. I will rinse my own dishes and put them in the dishwasher, and I'll wipe up anything I spill. And dinner? Yeah, I think I'll still cook - I'm not that mean!
But as for everything else I do all day, i.e. the things my kids seem to not even realize I do, and really should be doing themselves - it's going to be all up to them!
I have been working on getting them to take care of their things, but there is still so much they seem to take for granted. My hope is this lesson of mine will truly help open their eyes and aid in making us a family who pitches in and works together peacefully and compassionately.
I'll spend this week preparing them for next week.(I've already told them it's coming.) I'll give them more lessons on doing laundry and I'll make lists of the little things I do all day for their reference. Not that I expect the kids to do it all, but I'll be hopeful.

And by the end of next week, whatever the condition of the house and the kids, I hope they will have learned the value of taking care of their things and messes right away. Maybe they'll appreciate dear ol' Mom a little more. Perhaps they will even decide to help when they see a need - without even being asked.
Yeah, I may be a dreamer. But I do have great kids. I know they are capable of rising to the challenge.
I can't wait to see what happens!

And I will keep you posted. (Pun intended! *grin*)



StaceyStace said...

I can't wait to hear your story! You are going where all moms want to go - maybe we'll have the courage next...

Dakota's Mom said...

I can't wait to hear the stories! :)

Nancy said...

I will be praying for you as you execute your experiment. And for a whole week. Wow! I pray everyone learns from this too. I won't be surprised if you are enlightened a bit yourself. A mother's job is 24/7.

Coach J said...

OH, I can't wait to hear how it's going!!

Anonymous said...

Marmee does this in "Little Women"

Great idea. I can't wait to hear how it turns out.

luvmy4sons said...

Oh my...I have always wanted to do that. The longest I ever make it is one Sunday. I don't even fix meals on Sunday. By Monday the house is such a disaster I can't take it any more! But every Sunday-I do NOTHING! Will wait eagerly for news of your adventure!

Mary Beth said...

AND good luck with that! LOL!

I am sure your amazing offspring will rise to the occasion!

Have a great summer and may the God of LOVING KINDNESS AND PATIENCE be with you! :-D

Nicki said...

Oh I can't wait to hear about this one!!! Please take pictures!!! =)

Becoming Me said...

I am so looking forward to your updates

Amanda said...

Mom Strike! lol I do hope they can learn this valuable lesson...then teach it to my kids. Ha!

Good luck and may the Lord bless this venture-

Happyhome said...

You are one brave Momma! Looking forward to your stories...I'm sure there will be a new talk that emerges out of all those lessons!

realworldmartha said...

I just recently posted a little story about my ll 1/2 yr old telling me how I am on vacation just like him :)

Alisun said...

Very smart I would love to do this but fear I could not let the mess happen. But then again it would be worth the mess. I'll be waiting for the posts.

Susan Kelly Skitt said...

Can't wait to hear how it goes!

What is it about "boys" and strewn food wrappers? I have a terrible time with my boys on this. (Ages 6 and 16 and let's not forget my other "boy" who is 46...)

Somehow, I don't think it would faze them to have a pile at the end of the week... hmmm... definatley another matter of prayer...

Gretchen said...

I don't think i have the courage to go all out as you have, but certainly, I could modify and try this on my own. Brilliant!

What's more, it's a lesson in self esteem. They CAN do it.

Blessings. So glad we "found" each other.