- No eating anywhere but the kitchen and dining room. LOL! Let's see, just today I found, in the family room, a box of crackers, three cups (one with warm grape juice in it), and a mysterious wrapper from an unknown food source. Every day I find crumbs, wrappers, and even dishes (shoved under the coffee table!) in the family room, and often, open bags of chips or boxes of crackers. Harrison, I'm looking at YOU. Conclusion: Needs work.
- Clear your own dishes! Rinse and put them on the left side of the sink. Hmmm......this happens NEVER. Every day I still see dirty dishes on BOTH sides of the sink, and really, how hard is it to just put them in the dishwasher? Really hard! Wanna know why? Because the dishwasher is full of clean dishes just waiting to be put away! Also, did you know you need a new cup EVERY time you need a sip of water? It's true. Conclusion: Needs a lot of work.
- Shoes off in the house and put on shoe rack. Bwahaha! As I write this, there is a basket of shoes sitting behind the rocking chair. Why? I don't know. The basket was set down for a minute and the next thing you know - new shoe landing spot! And that shoe rack I mentioned? Nearly empty and any shoes that make it NEAR the rack are actually on the floor below the rack. Conclusion: it was a good idea in theory, but it's never going to happen.
- No shanking! So far, so good.
- Coats and backpacks hung up or put away. Most of the coats are, in fact, hanging on hooks in the hallways to the garage. They're not in the coat closet because putting a coat on a hanger is WAY too hard. The solution, clearly, is to install more hooks. So, I did. Backpacks, on the other hand, are never in their designated shelf space. Probably because that shelf space has been taken over by cookbooks and a huge container of colored pencils. But since two of the kids have graduated, there are only two backpacks to contend with now. Hallelujah!
- Pick up one activity before moving on to another. Well, since they don't really "play" any more, we don't have Legos and Barbies littering the floor. It's pretty easy to move an iPad from place to place. But they still leave their calling cards - a pair of socks, a banana peel, headphones - behind to remind me they've been there. And they're likely coming back.
- Blankets in basket in family room after use. NOT on floor. This rule was born from the many movie nights we hosted when the older girls were in school. Times have changed and our weekends are no longer overrun with teenagers seeking entertainment and food. Lots of food. The younger two don't entertain large groups often, so any blanket use is restricted to just the kids who live here, plus a few others from time to time. I used to wash loads and loads of blankets after the movie nights. But the real problem was the kids leaving them on the floor so that a smelly dog would end up sleeping on them, or, worse, chewing up a bone on top of them and chewing holes in my nice blankets. Result: we have a lot of blankets with holes in them.
- Put game controllers away after using. This one is working out nicely since no one plays video games any more. PRAISE JESUS!
- No swashbuckling! 100% compliance.
- Put movies back in their cases after watching. Oh boy. I've nearly given up on this and spend a good deal of time a few times a year trying to match the DVDs to their cases. Jeff had his own ideas about how to handle this one. First, he took the movies and hid them. That didn't work because when you have thousands of movies, no one tends to notice the missing ones. Then, he thought we should throw away ALL the cases and just keep the movies in binders or another filing system. I could not bear the thought of throwing away the "art" on the covers. So, we didn't do anything and nothing changed. Walk in my house right now and you will find AT LEAST five movies missing their cases or vice versa.
- Stay OUT of parents' room unless you have permission!!! Clearly, by the three exclamation points after that rule, I was pretty fed up with kids going in my room. We did install a door lock and have employed it on occasion, even when we're out of town, and of course, when it's locked, it works. But when it's not locked.......well, lets just say nothing puts me in a homicidal rage quite like reaching for MY face scrub in MY shower and seeing a gaping hole where the face scrub should be (HANNAH! I'm talking to YOU!). To date, no homicides have occurred but plenty of screaming has ensued. I know I should just lock my door every day, but I'm in such a hurry in the morning I don't have time to check for cats under my bed before I leave. Don't even get me started on the cats.
- Finish your homework before 9 p.m. Can I just use this rule to point out how lax we get with subsequent children? I'm sure this rule was made because of a chronic procrastinator (not naming names, but you know who you are!). With just two in school now, I barely even know what their homework is, much less when it's due. If they can't do it on their own, I can't help them. Because look how hard I tried with the first two and they STILL procrastinate. I've employed the very scientific conclusion that since my method didn't work 50% of the time, there's no use expending energy on the other 50%. Conclusion: kids, do your homework, or accept the consequences.
- No mindless snacking! One healthy snack after school and then wait for dinner. This only worked when dinner was prepared every night by a certain time and we all sat down to eat it. These days, that doesn't happen as much, and also? The boy turned into a teenager. The girl became a gymnast. Both require massive amounts of calories which means they eat when they want/need to. But, oh, how I've tried to teach them about good choices, portion sizes and the importance of not "ruining" their dinner. Bottom line: I make food when the kitchen is clean and there are enough people here to make it worth my while.
- Don't put weekend homework off till the last minute. My son is currently at a movie with his dad, which will end sometime between 9 and 10 p.m. He's planning to do his homework after that. He spent nearly all day lying on his back holding his iPad in the air in front of his face. I'll let you figure out how well that's working.
- Don't bring friends over without asking first. This one they do follow, most of the time. Occasionally I arrive home to an unexpected guest, but it's rare. Which is nice because when I'm sporting an afro in the morning and I'm bra-less, ain't no one wants to see that.
- Give mom paperwork from school the day you bring it home. Normally I either hear about an event the day of, or I have a paper rudely pushed under my nose during dinner (at which time I employ the "if you don't give it to me WITH a pen so I can sign it right away don't even bother" rule). But usually I never see the paperwork so if I was supposed to sign something, please forgive me.
- Pick up after yourself! LOL! See above.
- No lollygagging. Fail. They always lollygag. Where did that expression even come from? Whatever the history, we're the masters.
- Do your own laundry. Wash, dry and fold or hang the same day! No leaving laundry in various states of "half done." I think my kids took this to mean," if I can't leave it 'half done' I'll just leave it UNdone." Case in point: I've spent a good part of this weekend nagging my son to do his laundry, which he clearly hasn't done since Christmas because his Christmas pajamas were still in the enormous pile. How does he have enough clothes, you say? Because twice (or more) a week he goes to his dad's house, where he is treated to laundry services so he always has SOMETHING clean to wear. Note: he is still not done with his laundry. I stopped doing the kids' laundry two years ago and they occasionally do their own laundry and other times? I guess they wear dirty clothes. Not my problem.
- Bathroom sharing: no leaving clothes or towels on the floor, pick up the stuff you use, clean up your own hair and toothpaste mess, wring out and hang to dry your own washcloth, then put it in the laundry hamper, towels in hamper, don't use stuff that's not yours without permission and hang up hand towels after use. I......I just can't even say anything about this except that this rule has failed time and time again and if I were to attach a picture of the room where my children perform their personal hygiene, you might call CPS because it's THAT bad. I have given up and I rarely even venture down the hallway that houses my
- Leave all weapons, including firearms, at the door. 100% compliance unless you count flailing arms, legs and the occasional rubber band, food item, cat, or pencil as a "weapon."
- Be nice. I mean....they're nice to each other. More so now that they are older. Not always, mind you.
Whew. Rules exhaust me. Now that I've taken the list down, I'm just going to employ the following rules:
1. Every man/woman for him/herself.
2. Fight to the death.
3. Don't get on "Hoarders."
That should guarantee a lot more success, no?