Read the pilot post/explanation here

Read the pilot post here

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The 10-Minute Roundup

If you feel that no one is on your team, like you are the only person who is picking up what has been dropped, abandoned or misplaced around the house, then you will agree with me when I say that it’s not a good feeling. And I think many of us moms have basically thrown our hands in the air, believing there’s nothing for it but to be an angry woman in a messy house. Last year around Easter, I was beginning to resent my station as such -and my children, and (gasp!) even my husband, who is adorable.

Thankfully, under these tense and irksome circumstances, the roundup was born. And if I were selling it, this would be the ad:

And some of that is even true!

We spend ten minutes every single night tidying up together, as a family. Is this is a novel idea? If it’s not, why did I never hear of it? Maybe because I wasn't listening before when my sister said “well, I don’t know, Kristie, why don’t you have a ten minute roundup at the end of the day and make everyone help you tidy up?” I can’t be certain if she truly sang it, but it was music to my ears.

Speaking of music, I had thought to just set the timer for ten and get to it, but my husband offered to meld together ten minutes of symphony-rock music, to keep us moving. We end when the music stops. It's great, there's a button/link on my sidebar, if you want to use our song.

This is what we do when it's time:
  • Gather on the living room rug
  • Start the upbeat and exciting music (like I said, we use symphony music, because, compared to the Gregorian chants we listen to usually, it’s pretty exciting)
  • Set the timer for ten minutes (no one can justifiably complain about ten minutes of helping out)
  • Work from the main living area, telling kids where things go and hustling them along. Just chuck things in the rooms, you can put them in their places as you move down the hall and through each room.
  • End with the bedroom of the person who is least likely to be helpful, but who would appreciate help in her room the most. Namely, ... no, that's not nice!
  • If the music runs out before you finish (usually does), be done. The kids are motivated to hurry so that you will all be helping when you get to their room. If you're going to do it anyway, they will quickly adopt the "what's the rush?" attitude.

The Roundup isn't solely an end-of-the-day makeover. It can be done before company comes, or after a party, or whenever I feel like it. But it always happens at the end of the day, too.

We have been doing it for a year, no exceptions. I feel appreciated, not because anyone is saying appreciative things, but because some of the work I am doing is shared by others, and they can feel the chore for themselves, every night. My children no longer complain when a mere favor is asked of them during the day, because they do more than that, every night. I go to bed with a tidy house (yes, it's tiny, so this is possible), every night. I don't think I can over-emphasize the consistency with which we do this. If you cave and don't do it every night, your kids will forever be trying to break you down with a variety of excuses that they insist are as good as the one you made, "that one time."

p.s. I will be honest (because I am) and say that tonight, we did not do the roundup. My daughter was sick and went to bed. In these rare instances (I can count them on one hand in the past year), the rule is, we do the roundup in the morning before breakfast. The kids don't appreciate obstacles between them and food, so, they prefer to do it at night. I don't call that an exception, because it gets done either way.

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