When I was first married, I knew pretty much nothing about cleaning or taking care of a house. My husband and I mostly “panic cleaned” when friends were coming over. Luckily we entertained all the time, so our house didn’t go long enough between cleanings to get too disgusting. I didn’t realize how much clutter and messes gave me anxiety until I got married. I don’t typically like to use the word “triggered,” but I can honestly say that when I walk into my house and it is a complete mess… the only word I can think of to describe the feeling is “triggered.” I have a strong physical and emotional reaction.
One thing that always generates a feeling of satisfaction for me is making my bed. My husband and I have always called this the “quick change.” Suppose our bedroom feels a little messy. As long as we make the bed and put some pretty pillows on it, it changes our whole perception of the day. It is something I can control, and it only takes a few minutes and is strangely satisfying. It is one of the few things that has remained steady during the quarantine. Every morning, the very first thing I do is make my bed. Every. Single. Morning.
I prepared myself to teach this “bed-making” skill to my kids. I excitedly went into their room and announced in the way a magician might introduce a new illusion. “I will now teach you how to make your bed!”
First, I had planned to demonstrate making the bed. Next, I would do it with my kids, helping them to get the corners appropriately tucked. And finally, I would allow them to do it on their own. It was the perfect “I do, we do, you do” strategy… like any good teacher would do.
Dude… this totally was going to work.
You might think I am kidding about this, but I ACTUALLY did this to my Jr. High aged sons. It makes me laugh to think about it. I am committed to this process of teaching my kids life skills, and I was pretty sure I had it all figured out. So walked into their room rather excitedly and announced that I was going to teach them this. I don’t know what exactly I expected from them. I convinced myself that they would look at me and say something along the lines of:
Uh… Nope! I was quickly met with…
“Mom, we know how to make our beds. Just let us do it!”Two Amazingly Brilliant Boys
Who knew? My kids already knew how to make their beds; they just chose not to do it EVERY SINGLE DAY because I didn’t require it of them.
I made them each an objective board, so as they complete a task, they could check it off each day. I love checklists, and so I thought they might too! I made it super simple on myself and just used whiteboards and washi tape. In my classroom, I posted “I Can” Statements, but my oldest told me that was the elementary school way, so I rephrased it to say “I will know I am successful when…” which he first followed up with “You show me the money!”
Success! We started our first week with no hiccups or complaints. We all made our beds each morning, and I am feeling like this is going to be possible! I love how one of the boys checked off each day with a “yeet.” As days went on, they added pictures and other silly words. I was excited to see them have fun with it. Making responsibilities fun is the only way I get through most things that require adulting. I wish I would have learned that at 12.
***Bonus: As soon as you try to make the bed in our house, up jumps the dog, ready for snuggles. He is totes adorbs! (Is totes still a word or did that end in 2012?) He also has a way of making it take longer and trying to steal the Minky Blanket, but it’s completely worth it!
If you would like to know about the change that we made to our evenings that gave me my sanity back… click here