I find that many of my moments of brilliant revelation are born out of desperate frustration.
One day after we had finished our family dinner I looked around and realized that everyone was sitting on the couch in the family room joking around…everyone but me. “Why am I the only one cleaning up”, my mind ranted. Every single meal I remind people to clean their space or I sing a happy little song that I made up that is goes, “Leave no trace, at your space.” But it was not working. And I was tired of being “mean Mom” and disrupting the fun.
SO I DECIDED TO QUIT.
I assigned a child the job of INSPECTOR. The inspector’s job is to “inspect” the kitchen assigning jobs until it is completely clean.
Then the inspector gets the privilege of excusing their siblings from the kitchen. They want to be certain that every single job is done because the inspector is only excused by Mom. So what ever jobs are not done are finished by the inspector alone if they have prematurely dismissed everyone.
I have delegated the job of nagging-Ha! It’s so great.
The hilarious thing is that when the inspector is assigning jobs to siblings they suddenly have eagle eyes for what needs to be done. I often hear the inspector barking off commands, “Sister, vacuum the floor, wipe the counters, put away those papers!” But watch out, because you get to be an inspector for one week. So next week be ready to be assigned those same jobs. Also I require that we all be busy together until the job is done, even the inspector is working. What a great gift it has been to have the kitchen cleaned each night in speedy fashion as everyone wants to be excused. No more Mom stuck alone while everyone slips away to play.
The role of inspector worked so well that I applied it to another sticky area in our house.
One of the keys of the “Skinny House” D-I-E-T is I- Identify Trouble Spots. One major trouble spot in my house is the back door hallway. It seems everyday that my little people come in the door and dump. There are days when my husband tries to get in the house after work and can’t even open the door because there are backpacks and shoes blocking the entrance. I’ve made the hall closet super simple with cubbies where all you have to do is shove your stuff in, and yet school stuff is still on the floor.
So we now have another inspector in our house…the “After School/Before Dad Gets Home Inspector.”
I am no longer the one yelling for kids to come back to the hallway from wherever they are playing outside or in their rooms, I simply remind the inspector to either clean it up themselves, or summon their siblings to take care of their stuff.
I want to be remembered as a fun Mom with an orderly home, not a grumpy Mom who was always yelling to “come pick up your stuff!”