We have a limited number of hours allotted to us. Each day is like a necklace threaded with twenty-four clear beads but they don't come beautiful and shiny. We are the ones who have to fill and decorate each of them, to make each finished necklace as gorgeous as it can be. And I've wasted far too many of mine on this contentious issue, which really shouldn't be such a biggie.
Logan is 16, Emma is 12 and Blake is 7. I think it's reasonable not to be expected to help the older two keep their bedrooms tidy. This has led to frustrated nagging from me when they fail to keep them up to a reasonable standard, but those days are past. Why waste precious mental energy on something like this? Here are six good reasons that just occurred to me.
1) If people come to visit, it's easy to just close the doors on this and hide it. We may have to kick a few things that are spilling out back in with our feet but even this only takes a moment.
2) It becomes a good learning experience at times. If they step on something sharp and hurt themselves, or can't find a particular item of clothing they want to wear, they know they can hold only themselves responsible.
3) It's sort of unreasonable for us to expect our children to be as houseproud as we are. It's true! When you think about it, teenagers are at a different life stage with other priorities that we've long put behind us. The house doesn't belong to them so it follows that they needn't think of it with the pride and care that we, their parents, do. It may be unrealistic and unfair of us to expect that they should.
4) It follows on that we needn't fear they'll be slobs when they finally move out. Pride and care will develop in their own good time. I've seen glimpses already in Emma that boost my faith. She may see a stunning girls' bedroom on some TV program which inspires her to give her own room a good clean-up and face-lift. She's even been known to say, "I'm never going to let it get that messy again!" (Although it does creep back to its old state, the good signs are still there)
5) At the moment, we have regular rental inspections from a real estate agency who works on behalf of our landlord. The kids do rush about, madly tidying up their rooms, in the days leading up to this. This is helping them learn responsibility and they way the world works, I'm sure.
6) Finally, I'm even tempted to leave their doors open, at times. If their bedrooms look like mad dog's breakfasts, my efforts in the rest of the house have got to show up looking wonderfully tidy in contrast!!!