Monday, January 10, 2011

What's the plan,Stan?

One of the things that I am really going to miss since going back to work is my accountability partner.  A few weeks ago, my son was hanging out with me as I was writing a post.  I must have been writing about getting things done around the house, as the next morning he asked me what the plan was.  I had no idea what he was talking about and asked him to explain.

He proceeded to ask me what my plan was for the day as far as cleaning.  I hadn't really thought about it, but told him I was going to do some laundry and clean the bathroom (I think).  As soon as he walked in the door after school, he wanted to know if I accomplished my plan.   I'm guessing he did as he was satisfied and went off to play. 

That started a new school morning habit, each and every day he would ask me before heading out the door, what my plan was.  And I'd tell him or make something up if I hadn't anticipated any cleaning.  Because I knew he was going to ask me or check to see if I finished my work, I actually made sure it or something was done for him to see.  Unfortunately, this also made him more aware of the cleanliness of our house as he then began observing his friend's houses and comparing them to ours.  He even came home from one of our friend's homes and cried saying ours was so filthy and everyone else's homes are spotless. 

At first we thought it was funny, but then we realized that he was becoming seriously upset about what he viewed in our home.  We asked him to explain, but all he could point out are the areas in our home that had things out of place- mail set down or shoes lined up by door - little things out of place.  We asked him to explain what he saw at his friend's house that was different from what he saw in our house and he really couldn't.  But we did realize that this was a serious issue to him.  We tried to explain to him that this time of the year with the holiday, people are spending more time cleaning their homes in anticipation of parties.  Many of the homes that he was referring to we know aren't always spotless (sorry friends but I've been to your houses too!). Not to say they are filthy or anything like that, but lived in with the usual clutter that a family brings. 

We've been sensitive to his feelings and been diligent about cleaning up after ourselves.  Saturday night, Jeffrey Michael even scheduled a meeting.  Of course we knew it was going to be about cleaning.  So we each decided upon a room that we would clean on Sunday.  We had all day until 7 pm to accomplish this task and promptly at 7 last night, Jeff called another meeting.  He reviewed our work and then requested a movie night.  Since my husband's birthday is Wednesday, this works out good.

While I want my children to be mindful of cleaning, I don't want them to be obsessive.  I do enough obsessing around her for all of us!  This morning, Jeff asked if I was going to work.  When I told him yes, he said, oh well then no plan for today.  No I said, not today.  I may have to come up with another plan for him to oversee. 

It really is good to have an accountability partner- even if it does lead to an obsessive 9 year old boy!

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