cleaning house cover

Next week (on Tuesday to be exact), Cleaning House – A Mom’s Twelve Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement will hit the shelves. For long-time MOATblog readers – it will be like a walk down memory lane, and then some. But one small change might surprise you. So I’m outing it here.

The lovely MOATblog code names I bestowed upon my children (for so many reasons, but mostly because we all have kids that fall into certain personality categories – plus they prefer anonymity) didn’t make the literary cut. No one was too jazzed with my Teen Take-Out mouthful, or my even tongue teasing, Sister Save-A-Lot a.k.a Go-To-Girl. Listen, I get it. I struggle even writing it.

So … here are the kids’ new names:

Teen Take-Out, our resident Foodie for anything prepared outside the home, now goes by “Boxster” (okay, though he plays along with my silly game, he doesn’t want to go by anything… that’s what I’m calling him). Boxster is in commemoration of the infamous (to us!) car ride that started it all – the blog which led to a book – when he mused aloud that yes, he would in fact look best in a Porche that should be given to him on his 16th birthday. Speed Police is now “Snopes” (always fact checking, making sure we spot on). Sister Save-A-Lot is “Barton” (as in Clara – pretty much racing to save the day). Slow Walker has adopted the new name “Fury” (can have lots of push-back, but is always passionate).

I hope you let them sink in for a moment and grow to love them as I have. I also hope you read the book and get the rest of the story. And for those of you who know me well, you know that I’m not keen on self-promotion. I hope you read the book because we really are all in this together. These kids we’re raising are amazing… so gifted and talented. It would be a shame to leave such treasures buried because the owners of the treasures don’t know how to use them.

Back to the car – the Porche – here’s the most interesting thing. I’ve often wondered over the last year if our Experiment had any affect on the kids. Did it work? Is it working… the whole filling their plate with responsibility and meaningful work in an effort to train and teach vs enable them? Well, a couple months ago, I had to read the manuscript – one last time before sending it to print. I wasn’t sure I could do it again, but as I picked it up I was surprised. I caught myself thinking, “Man, Boxster sure wouldn’t be thrilled to read this stuff about his audibly pining for a Porche.” Then I stopped myself. He wouldn’t be happy about it because he doesn’t do that anymore. He’s really not like that at all. Then I yelled to myself, “HE”S NOT LIKE THAT ANYMORE!!!” I can’t think of the last time he verbally coveted some fancy car driving next to us.

Why might that kid have been dreaming about owning a snappy sports car?  For a kid, some cool car is just what he needs to solidify his standing in the pecking order, to belong, to be accepted. (Let’s face it, many adults think the same thing.) Could the kid not be as consumed by such dreams because he doesn’t need them as much any more? Could the increased responsibility, testing of wings, failures and getting back up have had some impact? It just might have.

He, along with his siblings, knows he belongs… that he is accepted … that his work is worth something. He can do so much more than he thinks he can.

And there’s the kicker. I’ve been telling him, all of them “You can do anything you put your mind to” for years. Years! I guess the forced household responsibilities has put some meat on the bones of those words. Who knew?!

I had to let it sink in. Then I looked at all of them. And yes… we have in fact changed. Remember, we started, and still hover just above, limbo-bar low (making beds and clearing clutter). So, what might be big changes for us could be nothing for another family. But who cares where we started (hover), we’re taking steps in the right direction. Just the other day, I walked in the door, after the kids had gone to bed, from my annual girls’ trip to Arizona and was greeted by a clean kitchen, everything put away in the living room, the dishwasher going and a load of laundry in the drier. Let’s just say, Jon didn’t do any of it.

Hmm….. Please remind me of these things when we’re taking a step back. Because we will. Help me remember so we can keep on moving forward.

Thanks for walking the road with me.


If you’d like a sneak peek, click here: Cleaning House. Then if you feel so compelled (smile :), please hit the FB share button and let your friends know. You can even Pin it if you’d like …

And just for fun… as there will be lots of fun things in the next week (and months, see also monthly give-away to the right! Month 1: $100 gift card to the Container Store! Thank you WaterBrook Multnomah/Random House!!!)

Thanks to MOATs Christine, Bronson & Greg for their fab acting debut and voice over!!

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