Mother Matters: steps for spring cleaning
By LOYLA LOUVIS
For Montclair Local
In “Mother Matters,” parenting and life coach Loyla Louvis, AACC, provides parenting tips.
She is dedicated to eliminating frustration in the parenting journey by customizing solutions to fit the uniqueness of each family. A mother of four children, she is experienced with single parenting, remarriage, home education, mentoring, and teaching. Louvis runs Mothers in Training, LLC, and is a certified professional parenting consultant/coach. More info can be found at Mothersintraining.org.
A soft wind blows through an open window as a child peers out to explore. Treetops sway in the vast sky above while honey bees dance through a fragrant garden below. Budding flowers turn a stark landscape of brown into a colorful showcase of art.
Spring is a welcome sight to all.
It is time to put away winter clothes and bring new life to the place where we are spending our time. We can open windows, enjoy the fresh air, and switch out the vibrant tones of winter decor for the lighter, brighter shades of spring.
Now is the perfect time to invite family members to offer their unique perspective on what is lacking, dirty, dingy, or in disrepair. It is essential to know what matters to everyone as we shift gears for the warmer weather.
With teamwork in mind, let us explore a five-step exercise for spring cleaning that nurtures family connection in the process:
Invite family members to answer the following questions on paper:
1 What do you believe you are entitled to have because you are a valuable member of our family?
2 What tasks do you think are required to run a home properly?
3 What privileges do you enjoy as a member of our home?
4 What are your current responsibilities in the house?
These answers provide a visual means of learning more about each family member’s perspective on home life. There are no right or wrong answers. The goal is to gain insight.
READ: MOTHER MATTERS: ANSWERING QUARANTINE QUESTIONS
READ: MOTHER MATTERS: TAKING THE LEAD FROM NATURE
Invite one member of the family to consolidate all of the responses to Question #2 into one master list of the tasks required to run a home. This compilation consists of the perspectives of each person in the house and opens the door to new possibilities. The master list should include all chores with their various difficulty levels. The goal of this exercise is to bring further awareness of what is required to run a home.
With Questions #3 and #4 in view, compare the answers. Is there a balance? The family functions best when there is an equal distribution of personal responsibilities and age-appropriate opportunities. If one list of responses is much longer than the others, now is the time to add or subtract as needed. The goal is to bring balance to the privilege-to-responsibility ratio.
Invite everyone to pick three tasks from the master list, which they will volunteer to do. In all likelihood, nobody will pick the difficult tasks and will be keenly aware of who gets them. When Mom accepts the unpopular jobs, which she typically does anyway, the children will have a brand new appreciation. Set a timer for 10 minutes and have everyone begin their first task. When the timer goes off, everybody moves on to the next job. Continue this routine until all assigned duties are complete.
It's time to kick back and have some fun. Everyone deserves to rejuvenate through rest or play. The best celebrations involve a little of both. Depending on the age of the children, Mom may plan a movie and popcorn, or everyone may go off to their preferred means of unwinding. Either way, as long as everyone is experiencing pleasure, relaxation, or fun at the same time, the goal is reached.
The scent of daffodils fills the air as we welcome spring’s arrival. Our busy lives may send us running in a hundred directions, but home will always be the place where the most important things happen. While few children enjoy the mundane activities of housework, it can serve as a positive means of bonding. Spring cleaning as a family brings all kinds of beauty indoors as it complements nature’s splendor outdoors.