Friday, June 20, 2008

Good Clean Parenting

I've mentioned before that I have had a hard time with my relationship with Cookie. I've been working on it for several years now, and today we had a lovely moment. We cleaned together. Now, I know this isn't a new idea, in fact it is one of the oldest parenting tricks in the book. But it can be very hard to do. Usually when I have the kids clean we all do it at the same time, and I act more as a task master than a parent in order to keep everyone in line. Or, I give them their job and I move to another room to clean. I actually really don't like being near my kids when they are cleaning because I have zero patience when it comes to whining. I'd rather they whine to an empty room and avoid any confrontations. Either way, cleaning has never been a bonding moment for me and the kids.

Today was different. Today I really needed to get my living room deep cleaned and I really needed help to get it done. I asked Cookie to help, and she showed little enthusiasm but tried her best not to whine. It went as usual for the first 30-45 minutes, but as we kept digging deeper and went beyond the usual living room duties her attitude began to change. Rather than feeling like a slave, she began to feel like a valued helper, like an equal. We began to chat as we cleaned. We talked about our dream bedroom, about what kind of cleaning we preferred to do (we even switched jobs at that point when we realized that we were both doing a job that the other preferred), I shared memories of cleaning with my mom, and we talked about how REAL cleaning makes us feel good inside. We moved furniture, we dusted, we polished, we sorted, we rearranged the whole room. In the end we both sat back and admired our work while slapping a high five. It was wonderful.

I was quickly reminded, after, why I don't usually clean like this. While Cookie and I were bonding Sweet Terror spilled bubble solution all over the place downstairs, and Monster Man snuck a frozen yogurt pop downstairs and managed to dribble here and there. And now it is time for lunch and the younger kids are still in their PJ's. But it was worth it! I may not do this everyday, but I think this kind of cleaning should happen with each child at least once a month.

And, no, despite even moving furniture (very carefully) I have not gone into labor yet. But there is still much deep cleaning ahead... =)

17 comments:

Amy Y said...

I hate cleaning ~ but to have a bonding experience and end up with a clean living room to boot, well, that sounds like a win~win situation to me.

Amber M. said...

Kudos to you for killing two birds with one stone...but I bet you feel better about Cookie's bird...:-) What a smart mommy you are! Glad it was successful.

kay said...

ah i love those moments. and if they come with a clean house even better!!

FallFleur said...

Thanks for the reminder

Most times I'm unwilling to make the effort to get past the first 30-45 minutes in order to get to the productive, relationship building that occurs in the end.

I feel motivated and ready to make the effort to clean WITH my kids, not just at the same time.

Family Adventure said...

Sounds like a great opportunity for bonding. Plus you ended up with a clean room. Now there's a winning combination :)

Happy weekend,

Heidi

Becoming Me said...

That is so cool

Shimmy Mom said...

My oldest daughter likes to do the "real cleaning" with me too. Good luck with the labor. I remember trying EVERYTHING!

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Off-topic, but...

I looooove The Once and Future King! It is beautifully written!

Michal said...

no labor, even after moving furniture? maybe more ice cream would help.
i want to borrow cookie.

CC said...

Come a little south, clean my place! I'm sure that will cause labor!!

Dawn@Embracing the Ordinary Life said...

What a priceless moment...glad to find it...

Sarah said...

what a great story--cleaning and bonding in one fell swoop!

btw, i tagged you for a meme :)

Laura said...

I got to do this about a week ago with Noa... and we had a great time too. He has even kept his room clean for an entire week all by himself as a result! I will also probably do this again.

Misty said...

I love this. Mainly because I have yet to complete all my "spring" now turned "summer cleaning". So happy for your sweet moment with Cookie.

Magirk said...

Awesome. :)

An Ordinary Mom said...

It is precious moments like these that keep me going ... especially right now in my life :) !!

Jeanette said...

How great that you were able to spend that time together and have it be an enjoyable experience.
I know exactly what you mean about cleaning one room only to walk into another and find that your kids have destroyed it! Frustrating.