This was a challenging kid weekend. I haven't been this frustrated with them in a really LONG time. I can always tell it's been a rough weekend when my throat hurts from yelling so much. (But I wouldn't be writing this post if there weren't a happy ending or some redeeming value from the weekend, right?)
Challenge #1 Too many requests for my kids to clean their rooms and not enough actual cleaning happening, even after hours and hours. I left them lists. I bribed them with a matinee (Soul Surfer) if all the cleaning got done in a timely manner. I left the house...sometimes I can be a little...um...controlling and HELICOPTER-Y with them, so we've all found that they get more done when I'm not in the house while they're cleaning. I gave them plenty of TIME to finish. But despite my best efforts, there was nothing clean when I came home. Some places were even messier than when I left. ugh...
Challenge #2 Too much arguing! No one was claiming any of their messes. They were just choosing to blame everyone else. The tipping point for me came when June decided that her cleaning contribution was to take all of Spell Girl's things off their shared bulletin board and stuff them in a drawer. ugh...
Challenge #3 Spell Girl and June share a room. They have loved this in the past three houses we've lived in, but at 12 years old, Spell Girl seems to have reached a point where it's not as enjoyable to do everything with her sister. She doesn't love it as much when people think they're twins. She doesn't love that June wants to hang out with her every second of every day. Sometimes she just wants to be alone and quiet and curled up in her nest with a book. (Well, the reality is that if given the opportunity, she would probably choose to do that everyday instead of eating or going to school or setting foot outside.)
In church today, though, I had just enough time to stop hovering and controlling for a minute, and notice my kids sitting there next to me. It was one of those little revelatory moments for me. It occurred to me in that moment that sometime over the last 2 years, I've stopped reminding Spell Girl to get the hymnbook and actually SING the hymns, but today she did it anyway. And instead of picking the nail polish off her fingernails or playing with her jewelry, do you know what TCD did during the Sacrament?...she read her scriptures and checked off all the Personal Progress she has done INDEPENDENTLY this week. Who knew she was doing her Personal Progress??
After watching that, I came to the conclusion, that there might be HOPE for the future. MAYBE if I keep trying to teach them the things they need to know, and keep reminding them what they need to do, and sprinkle that with giving them a little more independence and BACKING OFF more often, eventually they'll be productive, functional adults who don't dig things out of their laundry baskets to wear to church. Eventually they won't ignore the things that clutter their floor. Eventually I won't have to remind them to change their underwear and brush their teeth everyday.
“Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33).
Do you know what I'm watching right now as I'm writing this?? June...cleaning her room...spontaneously. She took a shower...also spontaneously. And now, without ANY prompting from me, she is cleaning her room...like the DETAIL kind of cleaning. Like the kind where the corners are clean and you can see only carpet on the floor!!
That is a miraculous thing!
So, if all the challenges help me to notice all the good stuff; and if they are signs that there is life breathing in my home; and if they remind me to keep going even after a frustrating weekend, then I guess I can see the benefit of them. And even though I might not love them when I'm in the middle of one, I definitely LOVE the perspective they bring.