Creative Punishment or Mean Mommy?

>> Sunday, August 5, 2012

So we've been having a problem with Nani keeping her room clean.  This has actually been an issue for quite awhile.  We go in and do a good, deep clean...and within days, it's back to a room that would make any dumpster diver twitch with anticipation.

Before My Marine left, we sat down with the girls and explained to them that with Daddy gone, they'd have to help out mommy just a little bit more....and keeping their rooms clean is one way they can help mommy out.  And it's just a rule of the house -- period.

So, we're about a week into deployment and I go into Nani's room to put something away and step on crayons, Happy Meal toys, bits of paper and yarn, and other things that just shouldn't be on a bedroom floor.

I admit....I snapped.  And it was not pretty. 

I yelled at her.  I told her that if she wanted to keep her room like a pigsty, that was fine with me.  She would just sleep with her trash that night.  And I took her trash can and dumped the rest of it on the floor and her bed.  (It was just filled with paper.....)

She was not happy.  But hey.....I didn't care....neither was I.

If looks could kill.

But she slept in it.  Curled up in the corner by her pillows.  She didn't clean up one single thing.  Until the next day.

So, to teach her a further lesson....her room was going to be stripped.  The only thing in her room would be her bed, her bookcase (because I'm not moving furniture) and her nightstand.

We had 4 piles - "To Earn Back", "To Donate", "Consignment" and "Trash"

By the end of the day, we had one large trash bag, 4 boxes for consignment, 2 boxes to donate, and 1 big plastic storage bin to earn back.

Until she earns back her privileges, she is only allowed to have 3 books in her room at a time.  Last night she was able to get her DVD player back and is now allowed to listen to music.  I warned her that if the DVD/CD cases start piling up again, she loses the DVD play again -- 1 week for every DVD/CD case left out.

So let me ask you think I went to far?  How do YOU deal with the messy room?


maryanne @ mama smiles August 5, 2012 at 2:35 PM  

Sounds like a great way for her to end up with a neat room full of stuff she actually uses!

Anonymous August 6, 2012 at 11:03 AM  

literally just had the same thing happen yesterday. We did a deep clean and threw out a ton of stuff- the question was "how is this blessing you"? I definitely think it's a good way to learn how to keep your room clean and not filled with junk!

Masshole Mommy August 6, 2012 at 5:51 PM  

No, you didn't go too far at all. You're the parent!

Sarah @ Becoming Martha August 8, 2012 at 9:30 PM  

First of all, thanks for linking up to our CHQ Blog Hop :) Hope you'll come again next Tuesday!

Second of all, I am an army wife and a stay at home momma (for this year anyway) and I know how you feel. I went through a long deployment when my daughter was 5 and I was pregnant with our second. Its tough. I don't think you went too far, but I understand how you feel like you did. Deployments are so stressful, but here's what I learned: At our meetings with the reunion counsellor, she asked us all to think of the hardest thing that happened (which were easy) and the best thing that happened because of the deployment. I thought, the best thing?! Are you crazy?! But when I stopped to think about it, I realized how close my daughter and I grown. We started to work as a team - she knew I needed her help, and I knew she needed mine. Once we both mentally accepted that, things were so smooth around our house. We occasionally had a mess/problem to deal with, and I would threaten to throw it all away, but then I would step back and realize how awesome she had been, and try to see the big picture. Maybe having a talk with her would help her see how important it is for everyone to work together during this time, because for sure that's what Daddy would want.

Also, now that you've scaled back, she may find it much easier to keep her room clean. I sat down with my daughter (who is now 7) and asked "Why for the love of heaven can't you keep this room clean?!" and her response was "Look at all this stuff Mom, could you keep it all clean?" and it was only then that I saw how overwhelmed she was with it all. It didn't seem like a lot to me, but to a 7 year old... We got rid of about 3 garbage bags full of stuff, and she has been awesome ever since... not perfect, but pretty flippin' awesome :)

Anyway, sorry that's totally a novel but my heart just goes out to you when I know I've been in your exact same spot and how tough it is. Hang in there, and feel free to add me on facebook if you wanna ask me any questions (not that I'm an expert, but a sounding board is sometimes nice).

Raising a Happy Child August 24, 2012 at 3:54 PM  

Wow - I am amazed at your resolve. I wasn't pushed quite so far yet, but I really like what you did to teach her a lesson.

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