For this Tuesday Tip, I thought we could examine if we should make our kids—or ourselves—make the bed.
My mother was a great household manager. Everything was shipshape. We had to work hard and do right. I have vivid memories of hearing those slippers clipping against the hardwood floor, coming toward my room. With heart pounding and sweat pouring I would jump out of bed and start throwing clothes in my closet in a mad dash to clean up my room in the thirty seconds I had before she arrived. The sound of slippers still sends shivers down my spine.
My style is a bit more (cough) relaxed (I like to say that rather than say disorganized) but I learned so much from her, which I have applied to my own household.
One of those things I have applied is that I make up my bed everyday. EVERYday. It may be three o’clock in the afternoon before I get to it, but by the time I get in bed at night, I want the pleasure of unmaking it.
Why? First of all, I am a not-very-recovered sheet snob. I have to have my sheets smooth and clean and soft. Pure torture to me would be watching someone eat crackers in my bed. My husband has often lovingly (most of the time) called me Princess and the Pea. So, if I make up my bed everyday, there is less chance for one of my six children (seven if you count Mont) to get crumbs in my sheets.
Secondly, the voice of my mother comes back to me each day. I hear her say, “Making up the bed is half the battle of keeping your house clean.” So true. Especially for us Southern women who have to have tons of throw pillows and Euro shams and regular shams…
When we spend the 2 minutes it takes to make up the bed, we have overcome half of our messy house problem. Then we can whittle away at the rest of the mess.
So, do I make all six of my kids make up their beds? Well, yes and no. When the kids are young, I am pretty strict about making them make their beds. The main point is when they leave my household they need to know how to make a bed, wash clothes, wash dishes, and clean the toilet. It is part of life training.
Of course, I used to go back and remake their beds—until I got caught. When my oldest daughter, Katie, was about 13, I reminded her to make her bed. She asked me, “But why, Mom, you just turn around and remake it every day.” Busted. So, I decided to reteach her how to do it correctly and then accept the job as is. Micromanaging really is a bad parenting strategy.