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Taking Responsiblity

Does anyone know how to make a child become inherently responsible?

Everyday I wake up to an alarm on my phone that I set in order to wake up in time to get my kids up for school.  I wake up Sam and then spend the next fifteen minutes screaming for Michael to wake up.  I pull clothes out of his drawer and throw them at his head and then rip his covers off.  I give him another couple shakes before heading downstairs to make lunches.

Research has shown that if I don’t spend the first few minutes of my day in this manner, then Michael will come strolling downstairs a few minutes before the bus is due to arrive looking like a homeless lunatic.

I'm ready for school!!

I’m ready for school!!

While I pack lunches and try to simultaneously make coffee, I repeatedly yell at the kids to grab something to eat.  Otherwise they will just sit at the table waiting for a waitress to magically appear with their bowl of cereal.

They are never able to get their shit together.



Often in the interest of time I will end up throwing a waffle in the toaster or grabbing the milk for their cereal – because they just cannot seem to get their bodies to move fast enough, and if they miss that bus, now my morning will be really screwed.

I will at some point pour myself a cup of coffee and take one heavenly sip.

After they finally eat, I have to remind them to brush their teeth and make their beds.  Even though I have been telling them to do this since they were three, I have to remind them. EVERY. DAY.

In addition, I now have to remind Michael to put on deodorant so that he won’t smell like a farm animal at school and alienate his friends.

I spend 8:03 to 8:06 chasing both children around with library books, folders, and lunch bags while screaming at them to put on hats and gloves.  At 8:06 we switch gears into full panic mode.  I open the front door and peer out to see if the bus has arrived.

“HURRY UP!!” I scream frantically while they tie their shoes and strap on their backpacks.

Once they are out the door I go back to my coffee that is now an ice cold cup of sludge and pour it into the sink.

That’s how I start my day….every living day.

Will it ever change?

Will some day arrive when my children know what to do??

At what age will they be when I no longer have to ask them if they brushed their teeth?

When they arrive home the panic and pestering picks up where we left off.

I ask them to get started on their homework.  Michael, who has one assignment on Wednesdays that requires an entire week to complete, tells me that he doesn’t have to do his homework every afternoon.  He would rather leave the week’s worth of work until the last minute, and every week I try to explain and coax him into preparing and doing a little bit at a time.

Drums have to be practiced and reading and math needs to be completed daily.

Dinner needs to be eaten after that.

Then showers need to be taken and then I have to chase them around to get them to put their little bodies into their beds at a reasonable time.

There’s just endless chasing and yelling.

This past week the irresponsibility reached an all-time high.

When I opened Michael’s folder I found his homework that was supposed to be turned in two day previous.

Then I saw a little folded piece of paper and opened it to find that it was a birthday invitation from one of his classmates. The date that I found the invite was February 24th.  The date of the party was February 15th.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” I screeched, armed with the invite and the not-turned-in homework.

“I forgot.” Michael answered with a shrug.

“Well do you know what happens to people who “forget?” I asked gravely.

“They become homeless losers!! IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?”

He said “no,” and I sent him upstairs to shower and go to bed.

I was very disappointed.  Also, I didn’t know how to rectify the situation.  My mother never had to chase me around, because I had an innate ability to care about my duties.  I received assignments and responsibilities and knew that they must be completed.  The fear of failure was enough for me, and still is to this day.

Once the day had ended and both kids were in their beds reading, I headed into the shower.

I am a tired and weathered woman.

The shower is a delightful escape.

For ten minutes I can go into the steamy hot water and lather myself with various creamy shower gels and feel good.

This is the most awesome part of my day....Sadly I only have one shower head.....

This is the most awesome part of my day….Sadly I only have one shower head.

But instead of this dreamy scene- I took one step into the shower and was met with an oil slick that jeopardized my life.

My feet were on banana peels and I could only grab the shower curtain to save myself.  I grabbed and grabbed at the curtain as I fell to my untimely death.  The whole curtain came down and I was left an oily naked mess in the tub with the curtain the rod hitting me in the head.


“YOU MOTHERFUCKERS!!” I screamed!!!

Mr. Gaga came running up as he heard the 6 tons of flesh hitting the basin walls.

“What happened?” he asked looking down at me as I laid in a pile of shower curtain and despair.

“Your children!!” I squeaked.

I got myself together and came out in a towel to ask Michael what he had done in the shower. I have a cleansing oil in the shower that had clearly been squirted all over the tub.

“What did you do?” I demanded, naked and dripping in my towel.

“Well…I squirted the oil.” he admitted.

“And then, I was just enjoying the shower, I was relaxing and so happy…” he said quietly.

“I mean I was so relaxed….I just forget to wash my hair….” he said quietly.

“And my body.”


This is all he does in the shower apparently….


Do I have to go into the shower and scrub these people?

I don’t know what to do any more.

How do I make these people become upstanding responsible citizens of America?

Ideas are requested and welcome;)




25 responses »

  1. Lol. I’m dying. This is sooo my life. Lol

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Love this so much!!!!

  3. My life too, we have the same kids.

  4. I think it’s time to start the old “bad boys school” threat again!! Of course, as they get older our lies don’t work anymore lol.

  5. Soooooo funny. And painfully true!!! When you figure it out, write about it and let the rest of us know…

  6. Wow. I can feel your frustration and despair. What an awful way to start and end every day. First off, try getting the coffee maker ready the night before, even better if you can set it to come on at a certain time. That way the heavenly aroma is awaiting you as you enter the kitchen. Second, if I didn’t get up at least an hour before the kids here, so that I have some quiet time, I would go nuts. Even 30 minutes is enough to drink a couple cuppas to get the old brain going.

    Start going through their bags every day after school. My grandkids don’t like the invasion of privacy, and I say “tough shit.” Until you learn to become responsible human beings, you will be treated like prisoners. Does their school have a website with teacher links? That’s a good way to keep up on assignments and projects that are due. Some of the teachers here even send a weekly email newsletter.

    Make them get their outfits together before going to bed, complete with shoes, socks, and backpacks, etc., together, in one place. This must be completed before any TV, electronics, or fun activities.

    As for the bed making, I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle, and I just close the bedroom doors. They make them on the weekends, and that ‘s good enough.

    Sometimes panic ensues around here at the last moment, when someone realizes that they forgot to do something, so it isn’t a perfect system. I think it’s just one of those things that some parents (and grandparents) have to endure until it finally clicks. I was one of those kids like you, so it’s hard to understand the ones who aren’t like that. You just hope they’ll grow into it someday. Good luck, dear.

  7. Not to get all gender stereotype-y, but I think it’s a boy thing. This is an exact description of my 9 and 6 year old boys. My two year old daughter is infinitely more helpful and actually washes herself in the tub. I have to freaking smell the boys hair and breath to check if they actually used shampoo or toothpaste. Yuck!

  8. I wish I could say that it gets better but my daughter is almost 15 and still acts like she is sleepwalking some mornings…no sense of urgency at all! The kicker was on Friday. She has Crohn’s Disease and is very bad about taking her medicine. She used to take it w/o reminding until she went to high school. I remind her at night but she “forgets” to take it in the morning even though it is right in front of her charging phone (which she never forgets to check). The psychologist resident (who was like 22 years old) said maybe I check go back to checking on her like I did in grade school and give rewards for behavior instead of punishment. I thought my head was going to explode! No wonder there are so many helicopter parents when “authority” figures don’t expect kids to be responsible!!

  9. ps. I was crying at your blog, loved it….

  10. Four kid household here. They are all over 12 and they have no concept of effort. Actually my oldest is in her first year of college which I don’t think she likes or is excelling at BUT she is out of my house! In short order of 1yr, 4yrs and 5yrs the others will be gone too even if I have to sell my kidney and cuts of my liver. Although…..who would take those? I love them but I’m very much looking forward to tending to my and ONLY my day.

  11. This is perfect! I loved it.

  12. One thing that has made a huge difference for our family is Sunday night planning night….my husband and I go over the entire week (work schedules, meetings, plans, kids events) and I set out five outfits for each boy for the week….that way, each morning they pick one of their choices and it’s done!

  13. I can’t remember how old your kids are but I read a recent blog post where the mother simply decided enough was enough (her kids were old enough to deal with consequences). You don’t do your homework, you get in trouble with your teacher. You forget your cello, tough shit I’m not bringing it to you, etc (within reason).

    Since mine is only three I, unfortunately, still have to steer the ship. 😉

  14. Let them fail. Alert the teachers and anyone involved and ask them to support you and then…
    And let them feel bad about it.
    And stew in it until they get all pruney.
    it might take a while. Invest in Febreze.

    • You are a smart woman Anna-if only I was strong enough….

      • Anna is so right. I have five kids and like you, was pretty good at taking care of my own stuff as a kid. To save your own sanity, let them fail. It’s good for them and you will be relieved a little because you won’t go nuts trying to fix everything. I still do my fair share of fixing but the older your kids get, the more you will realize that the day is coming quickly where they will be on their own anyway. Do them a favor and let them fail now when it is safe =)

  15. Is this the nightmare that I get to look forward to?
    I’ll tell him to get dressed – 15 minutes later he is still half naked with his hand in his underwear because it’s comfortable there and he’s staring at his fish. That gross fish that won’t die no matter how many times that you try to accidentally starve it.

  16. Girl I feel your pain…Because we have had shit like this happen in the past my home is now run like a military base. I no longer accept I am too little to do this. These little ones have brains they know exactly what they are doing they are born to negotiate and manipulate. Get yourself a chore board and start delegating at the end of the week they get something special doesn’t need to be anything fancy hello dollar store. I also started throwing toys away when I find them where they are not supposed to be – she has found more than one of her barbies sticking out from the garbage. Changes the attitude about picking up their crap….


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