Once upon a time there was a nice Mommy. She lived in a house with her three beautiful and wonderful children, and one loving and adorable husband.
All was well in the house – well sort of.
You see – things are rarely what they seem to be. The children were beautiful and wonderful children, and the husband was loving and adorable. But all was not well!
It started innocently enough, it was a late night and rather than have the kids stay up later Mommy said “We will do it tomorrow.”. Tomorrow came …. and went, but the toys remained.
“Well,” reasoned Mommy, “we just moved here and the kids have been having to work really hard at keeping the old house clean. They deserve a little break.”
You see, this family used to live in lovely Forest kingdom, but Daddy found a new, exciting (and needed) new job, so the family left the Forest kingdom and moved hearth and home to the small Ville of Gilbert.
However, the short break became a long break, and the tomorrow when the toys were to be picked up continued to be forgotten.
Habits are easy to start and hard to break – at least the bad ones sure are (and by habits I mean the things that people do because they are used to it, not the type of clothing that nuns wear.).
Anyway – one day Nice Mommy snapped. That’s it – we must clean this house. There are toys on the floor, there are cereal bowls left over from breakfast still sitting out, there is laundry spilling out of the baskets, AND are two big globs of peanut butter.
(I think the peanut butter is what did it. You see, as Nice Mommy was walking into the kitchen she became so distracted by the peanut butter on the fridge door that she didn’t see the glob on the floor. Ever step on peanut butter? Guess what – it squishes between your toes just like mud – not bad if you are out on warm summer evening playing in the rain, but not so good when it’s in your kitchen and gets all over your warm fuzzy socks.
Globs of peanut butter = snap! OK back to the story.)
The sweet and wonderful children stated in amazement. Clean? We have to what? So Mommy started off by explaining that the children had to help clean and would tell them things to do and sometimes they would. Other times however, the children would start off with good intentions but become distracted or they would argue.
Globs of peanut butter + arguing = SNAP!
One day, the children were sitting and playing when they heard a very loud noise. (FYI – The noise was Nice Mommy transforming into Mean Mommy) ‘What was that? ‘, they wondered. they did not have to wonder for long though, because in came Mean Mommy. At first the children gazed in horror – what had happened to Nice Mommy who let them leave their mess? And what in the world did Mean Mommy have in her hands?
Oh no! It’s an index card and a sharpie marker? Wait a minute. How is that scary? How is that mean?
Well, it wasn’t what Mommy had in her had, it was what she planned to do with it.
Mommy made (gasp) chore cards! Mommy made chore cards with (gasp, pant, pant) consequences!
Chore Card 101
- Get index cards, a sharpie marker and a pen
- On the top of the card write the main chore – “Laundry – Clean” – in sharpie marker
- On the following lines in pen writes the steps for correctly completing the chore.
- Step 1 – Take your clean clothes to your room AND put them away.
- Step 2 – Help your younger brother take his clothes to his room and help him put them away.
- Step 3 – Take the upstairs linens upstairs and put them away.
- On the back of the card – write the consequences (both good and bad)
- When done correctly this chore earns you 10% of your allowance
- When not done or done poorly or with an attitude, this chore earns you a day without computer.
- Final (and most important step) – Inspection! Don’t just assume that the kids have done these chores – make sure they are done. (This will earn you two mean mommy awards especially if you point out parts that they didn’t finish and make them finish it properly.)
So not only did not doing the chore mean that you lost part of your allowance, but you also received a punishment AND you usually had to do the chore anyway with Mommy making sure you did it.
Fast forward to now –
It has been a few days since the implementation of the chore cards and Mean Mommy has left the house allowing Nice Mommy to return. Does that mean that the house is once again messy? Or did the reign of Mean Mommy leave such an impact that the house is now spotless?
Well to be honest – neither! You see stories are fun, but we live in reality here. So while there are still some toys on the floor and some dishes in the sink, there are less toys on the floor and fewer dishes in the sink. There are also more clean clothes put away and fewer dirty clothes on the bathroom floors. It isn’t an immediate thing, but it is progress and for now – I’m willing to work with that.