Thursday, May 5, 2011

31 Days to Clean Challenge: Day 3

I'm excited to be participating in the 31 Days to Clean Challenge over at Joyful Mothering.  You can get a copy of the e-book on Amazon
(just click on the picture on the left!)

The Mary challenge this week was tough!  I interviewed each of my older children and my husband, individually. Here are there unedited responses to my question "As it pertains to the house, and what I do or don't do in it and for it, what makes you feel most loved?"

William (Husband):
  • I feel loved when the floor has been picked up before I get home from work, so the area looks cleaner.   
  • I like it when the kitchen is clean when I get home so I can serve my family by preparing dinner.  (I know - I'm blessed!)
  • I felt really loved last week when I saw that ALL my laundry was clean at the same time.
Calvin (12 Year Old Son):
  • I feel loved when you vacuum the floor and I don't get crunchies in my feet.  
  • I feel loved when you clean my room. (he prepared for that one by saying "I don't want to tell you this one, because it will seem like I'm asking you to do it!")
Jordan (10 Year Old Daughter):
  • I feel loved when you help me clean my room 
  • When you tuck me in at night 
  • When you help me when I'm doing something with Gavin or Aaron.  
  • I feel loved when you remind me to pick up after myself.  
  • I like it when you help me clean up after I paint
  • When you help me with crafts and schoolwork.
The next thing I asked was "Is there anything that I do or don't do that makes you feel un-loved?"

His answer was a furtive glance over my shoulder at my desk:
shame, shame, shame!
Calvin and Jordan both said they felt unloved when I yell at them :(

Wow - that was brutal!  I was afraid before I asked that they wouldn't be able to say anything that made them feel loved, because I'm NOT a great housekeeper.  I'm a lot of fun though ;)  (except when I'm yelling at my kids, apparently!)

After asking these questions, I reflected on what was behind the words, what they didn't say, or couldn't say. For William, I think he feels most loved when it is clear that we have prepared for his return for work.  For Calvin, he feels most loved when he feels served/cared for.  For Jordan, she feels most loved when we do things together.  If you've ever read Love Languages by Gary Chapman, you may see that these relate to the languages of Acts of Service and Quality Time.  I know that my husband's love languages are Gifts and Acts of Service.  My son's is Quality Time and Acts of Service.  My daughter's is Physical Touch, Quality Time and Words of Affirmation.

The challenge was to take what we learned and  apply or continue.  I have already begun implementing some "Welcome Home Daddy" type principles.  We stop about an hour or so before William is expected home and pick up our mess, make sure the counters are clean, the dishwasher is unloaded and try to straighten the Family Room.  I am going to try to make progress on my desk (bahhhhh - it would help if the other 4 people who can walk wouldn't put anything here too!)

In the last few weeks I've made a very concentrated effort NOT to yell, so that should help with the un-loved part for the kids.  For Calvin, I am going to spend more time vacuuming.  I really don't mind vacuuming that much, because it makes the house look so much better!  Plus, you have to clear the floor to vacuum, so that will kill 2 birds with one stone.  :)

For Jordan, I'm going to make a conscious effort to include her in my chores, rather than giving her something to do on her own.  Ever since she was a baby, she has been happiest when we were all in the same room!  When she started walking, she would drag everyone by the hand, one at a time, until we were all in the same place.  Then she would sit down and play quietly!

For the Martha challenge, fortunately I had a luxury last week:  2 maids came and cleaned!  So my cabinets are clean, even on top!

Don't stop - there's lots more good stuff...

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