Enter At Your Own Risk

BlogHer Original Post

There’s a never ending battle in my house. On a weekly basis, it’s like pulling teeth just to get my son to accomplish this small chore. You’d think from the fight he puts up, I was asking him to perform a miracle, like parting the Red Sea or climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. As much as I love my son, he’s definitely his mother’s child. My parents had the same problem with me as a child. I can’t begin to count how many times they made me sit in my room until it was cleaned. Sure, it got cleaned after a couple of hours, but within a day or two it was back in disarray.

My son hates cleaning his room. Actually, my son hates cleaning period, but it’s his bedroom where he puts up the biggest fight. Most of the time I hate even going in there, because I never know what to expect or what I may step on. God forbid, I step on ‘another’ X-Box game; that I’ve paid for, or one of his little McDonald’s Happy Meal toys, that he’s been collecting since he was 3. On the chance occasion he does clean his room, it’s spotless. He’s meticulous when he finally gets down to it. But that only happens when punishments are about to be enforced and his back is up against the wall.

Considering he’s almost 10 years old, I refuse to clean his room. I’ve always told him, I didn’t make the mess in there, so I’m not cleaning it. He doesn’t understand the concept that when you’re finished playing with a toy, it’s easier to put it back, instead of letting them pile up. Well maybe he does understand, but is just too lazy when it comes to that.

I didn’t break out of my anti-room cleaning until I was about 15 years old. It actually took a moment of embarrassment for it to happen. I remember a friend of mine came over after school, and I always made a point, never to invite anyone into my room, but my mother waited for the opportune time (when I went to the bathroom) to tell my friend she could go & sit in my room. The shock and embarrassment on my face when I saw my friend sitting in my pig-sty was something my mother was waiting to witness. It was from that moment on that I changed my filthy living ways.

You’d think that would work for my son. I tried to pull the same trick one day. He had his friends over and they were all sitting in the living. I told him to take the garbage out, so that would give me the opportunity to let him friends into his bedroom. After he stepped out of the house, I told his friends to go into his room to watch television and play video games.

What was I thinking?

These are boys. All 4th and 5th graders. Their rooms probably look like his. They were in heaven! Toys galore, games everywhere and snacks were already in the room. When my son returned from taking the garbage out, he asked where his friends went and I told him. At first there was a look of shock on his face, because I’m sure he realized what I was attempting to do, but needless to say every time his friends come over now, they make a quick detour from my living room to his bedroom. My scare tactics did not work.

Until he grasps the concept of keeping a clean room without me having to be the Clean Police, I’ll forever have a list of punishments a mile long that I could possibly enforce or several options when it comes to taking away some of his favorite things. I think one of these days I’m going to find a sign to put on his door saying “Enter at Your Own Risk”.

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