Cleaning House: Teamwork

Thursday, May 2, 2013

I'm reading along with Steph and Amy's book club, Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlementby Kay Wills Wyma, and today it is my turn to write about Chapter 9: Team Players, The Benefits of Working Together. I picked that chapter because we are in a season of bickering. I expect the season to last for at least another 10 years, so please humor me by allowing me to call it, "a season." Our boys are 4 and 6, and most of the time, they get along. Then we have one of those days when cries of "No! I was first!" or "Gimme that!" or "He snatched it from me!!" fill the air. In order to get a moment of peace, it is tempting to shut down the play area and send them to their separate rooms. Sometimes I do. But often, a better solution is to send them out into the yard to pick up sticks, together. 

It is something we have done since my oldest could walk and my youngest was strapped in the Baby Bjorn. Back then, it was fun - pure joy for a toddler. Now, it is work and something they must do together. Sometimes, my plan works and they end up working together happily. Sometimes, it backfires and they end up screaming at each other about who has what side of the yard and who has more sticks.  

Serenity now. I am comforted by these words from Kay, since I agree completely:
A family unit provides an ideal opportunity to experience the rewards of working together rather than going it alone. I tell the kids all the time that those siblings who nonstop drive them crazy today will be their best friends one day - and for the rest of their lives. (Chapter 9)
I also often feel this way:
I think we need to live on a farm. (Chapter 9)
Kay's book is inspiring me to keep at it - to keep requiring the boys to do chores, to appeal to their strengths and to ask them to work on their weaknesses. I am motivated to continue seeking out opportunities for teamwork, even when they cannot seem to agree over who gets to pick up which stick. 
I decided that my message needed to be something more along these lines: "I love you. I believe in you. I know what you're capable of. So I'm going to make you work." (Introduction)
Amen, sister.
Do you ask your children to do meaningful work around the house? How's that working out for you?

share this on »

11 Responses to “Cleaning House: Teamwork”

  1. I just finished this book! It is wonderful! I've been using her tips with our two boys (9 & 5). Seems to be working. Now if I could just be more consistent.

    1. Mandy,
      Being consistent is always a struggle for our family too! We rock it out for a week, and then fade off...with this book, I've tried not to be hard on myself and instead just look for the small successes.

  2. We have been doing the book and I love it. My girls are finally kinda getting it. Working together, as a team but I have noticed that now they really believe in themselves and find so much accomplishment in doing things from themselves!! ~~Rock on mama your doing a great job!!

  3. I love the encouragement to emphasis that we do this because we believe in them :) We are a work in progress in our family. We definitely have the best results when we are consistent!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I have this book and have been meaning to get around to reading it! Glad to know it is so good! I know my boys need to do more around the house, it is just so much easier to do it for them! I have been trying to incorporate a few more chores in each day. Now if I can get through the complaining and whining and be consistent! That is the hard part!

    1. Jayda,
      I agree. It is easier to do for our kids, but you know, I'm working on that!

  6. You know, good question.

    Since reading this book, I have quit assigning my kids chores I think they will like, and instead have given them chores I actually need help with.

    Case in point: Our dog! I was feeling as if I was the only family member on dog duty and let me point out it was me who did not want a dog. Since I've been having our oldest daughter help with the dog more, it's actually something she enjoys doing, and she gets the fact that our dog needs love every day. This is the girl who used to say she "Petted her dog lots, every Saturday."

    I think given a chance our kids will suprise us! Oh and I'm all about vaccuuming the car!

  7. I'm with Amy--I'm moving toward asking for more help with the stuff I actually need help with! And surprisingly, I'm finding the kids enjoy being truly needed rather than just being given the fluff.
    Now, do they always jump up immediately to go pick up sticks for Dad when they'd rather be playing on the Wii??? Ahem. Progress, not perfection :-)

  8. I LOVE your picking up sticks idea. Today I could have my fighters shoveling snow together (UGGH). I'm smiling as I read this because I echo your line to my kids all the time--- "Friends are friends for a season, but your sister/your brother will be your friend FOREVER." To which my preteen once replied, "Do you think we'll have to share a room in Heaven?" :)

    1. Why didn't the" brother/sister be a friend forever" make sense to me while I was growing up? It's only now...