Are you and the kids feeling sluggish, but there’s housework to be done? Get creative!
Use this one easy tool to get your family moving again. The kids will have fun, and your house will be clean!
Keep reading to find out how I discovered this tool that the whole family loves.
I confess I enjoy being in slug mode.
It’s 8:33 a.m. The crackling fire log on my flat-screen TV warms me from across the room. Through the living room window, I have a perfect view of our front-yard evergreen laden with inches of heavy snow. Tiny flakes still fill the air, reflecting the bright morning sun. They shimmer as they slowly settle down onto the white blanket that has formed overnight. My graying, plush housecoat hugs me close, pressing greedily into my neck.
I am content in this place.
A Call to Action
Then, I feel a nudging at my conscience, and the sloth-child within me whimpers pathetically:
Please, please don’t make me move from this warm spot on the couch where I sit holding a steaming cup of Baileys with coffee. Don’t you see? My legs are deliciously buried beneath a fuzzy, green blanket, and my favorite online bookstore calls seductively to me from my laptop screen. This couch is bliss and I don’t want it to end…
But it’s no use.
I know there are things to do – clean the bedrooms, tidy the house, decontaminate the fridge, etc. – but I feel entirely unmotivated.
A Tired Mother’s Prayer
I give the kids a 60-minute warning:
“We are ALL going to get off our butts and be productive today. At 9:30 am, screens are off, and work will get done!”
Three children respond, “Mm-hm,” without looking up from the tablet and phone they are playing games on.
Feeling quite proud of myself, I happily continue browsing www.christianbook.com. (Seriously, this is one of my favourite websites, and I don’t get paid to say that. I just love it.)
At 10:05 (35 minutes behind schedule), I peel myself off the couch and lethargically climb up to my bedroom to dress for the day.
“Lord,” I pray while pulling on a pair of striped socks, “how I will I get myself and the kids moving today? I’m lazy, I’m tired, and I think I’m going to be yell-y.”
I am at a loss.
A Sudden Burst of Creative Parenting
Do you remember making paper fortune tellers as a child?
(And did you know that’s what they were called? I sure didn’t, or else my super-sensitive child-conscience would have obligated me to “just say no” to this sinful game. Alas, I was blissfully ignorant of its origins, and my friends and I made them happily all through elementary.)
I suddenly, or divinely, remember these fun paper contraptions and decide to put some creative parenting to work. I come up with this easy tool to get me and the kids moving again:
Behold the Cleanup Paper Fortune Teller…
For the second time in one morning, I feel quite proud of myself. (That’s a pretty good day for a mom.) So, I enthusiastically show the kids my fun AND efficient plan.
My children display a mixture of emotions – interest, leeriness, excitement, and dread. Intriguing how all these emotions can go hand in hand.
I quickly explain the Cleanup Paper Fortune Teller game rules.
Cleanup Paper Fortune Teller GAME RULES
- No complaining. (Whining and fits of defiance will be rewarded with additional jobs.)
- Take turns picking the “fortune”.
- We must complete the jobs and activities in the order that they are chosen.
- We do not quit until all eight “fortunes” are completed.
Let the Cleanup Game Begin
Of course, the kids hope to pick “30 minutes of free time” right off the hop, but instead they open a flap that reads:
Take a shower or bath.
My daughter is happy because she wants to try out one of her new bath bombs. The boys groan. Apparently, they hate being clean.
Cleanup Game: Round Two
Half an hour later, we work the fortune teller again. As we flip open the second flap, everyone grimaces:
Tidy the house.
“But it’s a disaster!” one child complains.
This is true.
It isn’t pretty, but the four of us pull together and get the job done with surprisingly positive attitudes.
Family Cleanup Success!
In the late afternoon, after all eight items have been completed, we are proud. We feel good.
And no wonder:
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
— Genesis 2:15 ESV
We were made to work. My wise father told me many times throughout my childhood:
“It doesn’t matter what kind of job you find – whether you’re a doctor or whether you scrub toilets for a living – as long as, whatever you do, you do it well.”Tweet
Hm. Sounds a lot like something I’ve heard my Heavenly Father say to me many times:
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…
— Colossians 3:23 ESV
A Work in Progress
Sometimes, I feel guilty that my nature leans so far toward the lazy side of the spectrum. I’m trying my best to grab hold of the work-hard ethic. But here’s the thing:
I spend hours and hours writing. That would drive some people batty. Yet, I enjoy writing so much that it doesn’t feel like work to me; but it is work! So, maybe I’m not such a slug, after all. My work just looks different than other work.
(Of course, typing doesn’t clean the bathroom. Sadly.)
My goal, then, is balance. Balancing my writing workload with my housecleaning workload is a constant struggle, but I’m learning.
In the meantime, I’m thankful for days like today. They remind me that:
- my life holds purpose;
- I do enjoy work; and
- just as I am pleased with my children who plunged into today’s responsibilities with gusto, my Heavenly Father is pleased with me for obeying the nudge to get off the couch, and he rewarded my obedience with joy.
God always knows what I need. He cares about every detail of my life.
Looking for More?
- Having trouble believing that God cares about you? Read this article and be reassured that God knows your joys and your struggles. He sees you!
- Check out www.tipsfromatypicalmomblog.com where Annette Belnap shares more awesome ideas for family cleanup.