Bathroom Chore Buddies
by Terri Bonin
The habit of obedience is a phrase that conjures up feelings of defeat, exhaustion, and failure in me as I think about our kids’ bathroom.
Let me explain: We recently moved our large family into the smallest space we have ever lived in. Granted, it’s bigger than most of the world’s homes, it’s just smaller for us. This home we chose has two bathrooms. Yes, you read that right.
I’m aware that we have 11 kids, yes! BUT my husband and I have a plan…
It’s the achieve financial freedom plan even if it means two bathrooms…
Now I’m sidetracked because I can feel you worrying that we’re cramped. We’re not. I’ll write an article about the Loveliness of Less at some point, but for now, I need to stay on topic…Back to laying down rails of discipline and talking about obedience…
When we moved into this home a few months ago, I set up a nice 2-step plan to keep the main bathroom neat and tidy 24/7.
This is the plan…
Step 1: Each child has a shower bag that lives in his/her closet. When a child showers, the bag goes into the bathroom. When the child finishes bathing, the shower bag is replaced in the closet, so that NOTHING but beauty and orderliness is left in the bathroom. (Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Cleanliness makes me happy.)
Step 2: EVERY SINGLE DAY the bathroom shines at the hands of a different child: bathtub, floors, toilet, countertop, mirror, and trashcan. If the assigned child cannot do his/her duty by 11 am and someone else scours the bathroom, the assigned child pays the one who did the work 5 dollars. If the designated child scrubs the bathroom later than 11 am, he/she pays ME a late fee. (We’ve got it working over here.)
Sounds easy enough, right?! Well, here’s where I’ve failed my kids: I’ve had a hard time following through with making them pay each other and me when a job is not completed on time. I am a TERRIBLE money collector. I feel bad for them…
We don’t pay for chores, or rather “They get to live here” is my husband’s humorous answer when they ask for an allowance. The kids make their money doing odd jobs such as watering a neighbor’s yard, feeding a neighbor’s animals…you get the picture.
So the kids are covering for each other when one of them slacks. For example: Child B goes to a football game and forgets to clean before he leaves. Child C steps in and cleans the bathroom for free so that no one gets in trouble and mama doesn’t find out.
Quite frankly I would rather not know who cleans the bathroom as long as the bathroom remains sparkly. But…I know what will happen in time…
Child B will grow up without the habit of cleaning the bathroom. He’ll expect his wife to do it every time and they will end up in counseling because I did not hold him accountable and follow through with consequences while he was under my charge.
This habit of obedience lays rails of discipline that will affect adulthood work and family relationships. If I slack in my training, the ripple effect tumbles far from the walls of our home.
The habit of obedience is about a mom obeying God’s charge to train up the children. It’s about mom setting the example by obeying her husband and her God. It’s about mom following through and teaching the kids the habit of obedience by example and through training.
It’s inconvenient. It’s draining. It’s mundane.
It’s right. It’s satisfying. It’s pleasing to the Lord. It’s blessed by God. It’s worth it.
So I am stepping up to the plate to follow through with what I started. I do NOT enjoy dishing out consequences on my kids, but it’s part of the job…the daily repetitive job God has called us mamas’ to do.
What about you? Do you and your kids practice the habit of obedience? I would love to hear about it.