Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Guest Blogger...Gina Conroy

Operation AWOL Mom: The Experiment

The Premise: What would happen if mom was suddenly Absent WithOut Leaving the home?

What would happen if mom didn't pick up after the kids, cook or maintain the house? What would happen if the kids were given gentle reminders instead of nagging and arguing? Would they rise to the occasion? Would they be responsible or wreck havoc on a some what orderly environment?

The Hostiles: (okay, too much 24!) 11 3/4 year old son, 9 year old son, 6 year old son and 4 year old daughter, and unsuspecting 40 something year old husband.

The Limits: They are responsible for their own meals and clean up. (There's plenty of no prep food or microwaveable food in the home, and yes, I will be there to supervise their efforts, guiding and making meal suggestions. Junk food and candy does not constitute as a meal.)

They're responsible for the dishes. (No clean forks? Wash them yourself.) They're responsible for their own laundry. (They have plenty of clean clothes albeit in laundry baskets.) They're responsible for their toys. (It's going to be hard watching the livingroom transform into a jungle of toys. As we speak they're setting up a carnival downstairs.)

The Rules: These may need to be adjusted as time goes by, but my one big rule is that if the dishes are still in the sink, no playing with friends or electronic goodies.

The Reason: Most moms feel unappreciated and neglected at times, and do way too much for their family, putting up with long durations without hearfelt appreciation. I want to see just how far these kids will go before their internal moral code takes over and they begin to see themselves as part of this family, responsible for the things they do and the messes they make. I want my hardworking husband to see my job is hard as well and that a little more appreciation would go a long way! I need a vacation!

The Challenge: Will the boys rise to the occasion or will I break down and start cleaning like a mad woman. Only time will tell?

The Duration: One week or until I can't stand it anymore!

Day 1: 10 am
The Kitchen: Dishes have piled in the sink from the weekend. (My biggest pet peeve) Several gentle reminder have gotten the boy to unload the dishwasher, but not load it. There are still enough cereal bowls and utensils to last two days.

The Livingroom: The boys have started to set up a carnival. I hope I can stand the mess and not break down and start cleaning.The rest of the house is basically untouched. Stay tuned for the progress of this mission.

Be sure to check out Gina's blog
Reprinted with Permission.

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