Today my daughter wanted to have a computer game installed on one of our older computers so that she could play it from time to time when she was home on college breaks. Not an issue, as we have not used that computer in some time and figured it was worth getting some remaining value out of it.
But what we gained was far greater than what we had both expected. A clean room!! Yup, the “Momma rules” game card was played. Since the computer game was to be installed on the older computer, it meant that my husband was going to have to take the time to set the computer up as well as make sure the installation went through alright. This also meant a fair exchange of labor was needed that would eventually benefit us all.
There’s nothing more exciting than when my mommy brain works fast. So, when she asked my husband if he could do this for her, he checked with me to be sure there wasn’t anything I needed him to do first. I said “No, BUT…. she must first clean her desk, under her bed, and make her room look livable.” Of course I chose not to be the one to have to announce this decision, since she asked her daddy for the favor. But, since my husband was in agreement with my decision, he was more than willing to share the payment plans for this exchange.
Fortunately, our youngest daughter, being a college freshman, whom we would all think would rather sit back and rest while on vacation time, enthusiastically agreed to the terms. One thing a mom learns quickly is how important some things are to our children. For our youngest, the first was to have something new, such as a computer game she used to enjoy a few years back for her to enjoy while home on vacation. And 2nd she realized that if she cleaned her room on her own, she was avoiding like the plague, her mother spending a day “helping” her clean her room.
After deciding to spend time with my husbands’ father this afternoon, we asked our daughter if she would like to join us. Her response was “I’m on a roll and would like to finish this task”. We really didn’t expect much more than the corner of her room to be cleaned as requested. Yet, when we returned four hours later, he room was spotless (well, for a young teen adult, it was spotless AND vacuumed!!)
Not only was her roomed cleaned to the point where she is now afraid to do anything, which effectively delights me, she now gets to spend quality time with her dad as they talk and laugh as he puts everything together for her. In addition, she will not have to endure the experience of my helping her clean her room. I had planned on spending a day with her, “helping” her go through things, showing her what needed to be cleaned, etc. Yes, ultimately nagging her, in a very loving and supervisory way.
When a child becomes a teen, there is a need for privacy which I respect and understand, but for the mom there is a need for tidiness. I can handle clutter from time to time, but not for extended periods of time. I accept that they need privacy and the ability to creatively express themselves, but at some point there needs to be a balance.
Today, we both won the challenge in the “Momma Rules” game. Our daughter received a clean room, daddy/daughter time, a new game and a FREE day with her mom doing fun things vs. the agony of cleaning her room with her mom watching over her. Mom received a clean room she wasn’t afraid to enter anymore, the joy of listening to her daughter and husband enjoying each other’s company, and a free day with my daughter to do what I enjoy most, just spending some fun time with her, giggling and doing girl-like stuff.
No bitter battles ever won the “Momma Rules” game. Playing the game with skill and strategy makes all players involved allows each of the participants, the ability to obtain the goals that were set in place. I love my daughters more than they will ever know. After years of playing the game of “Momma Rules”, our daughters know how to cook, clean, creatively compete and still end up loving others in the end.