Monsters or Marthas?

The following conversation actually took place in my kitchen this evening.

Scene: Kitchen, post dinner. Kid clean-up is happening.

Backstory: I have asked the kids to please be more thorough in their post dinner clean-up because we’ve been discovering food left out and spoiled after the meals and I have mentioned that I get tired of doing post clean-up clean-up.

Child C (the girl): Ok, I need to set some guidelines here. Child A, [only she doesn’t actually call him that] you only do the drying. You’re doing fine work. Child B, [only she doesn’t call him that either], you need to work on your finish.

Child B (the eldest): What’s wrong with my finish?

Child C: When I do the last of the dishes, I wipe down the counters, and wipe down the stovetop, and finish the last of the dishes and put things away. But if I’m not the one who does the last few dishes? Then I have to come back and still wipe down the counters and wipe down the stove.

Child B: I wipe down the counters!

Child C: Not very often. Mostly, I’m the one who comes back and wipes down the counters and the stove, even when I’m the one who did the first batch of dishes. [looking at Child A] You’re still fine here.

Child A(the youngest): But while we’re on the subject of people not doing things…

Children B and C [tentatively]: What?

Child A: I would like to request that I not  be the only person who replaces the toilet paper in the hall bathroom.

Children B and C [simultaneously and with great vigor]: You’re not the only one who puts new toilet paper in the bathroom! A lot of people use that bathroom! We all put toilet paper in the bathroom!

Child A: That’s just not possible. If everyone put new toilet paper in the hallway bathroom, we wouldn’t ever be out of toilet paper in the hallway bathroom. And we’re out of paper in the hallway bathroom a lot.

Children B and C: grumbling about not being the ones who fail to put toilet paper in the hallway bathroom.

So, dear reader, I ask you.

Am I raising Monsters or raising Marthas?

Although fundamentally, if the kitchen gets cleaned after dinner, I don’t really care all that much.

PS – They did a great job on the kitchen. It took three teenagers an hour and a half to get a kitchen as clean as I could have cleaned it in about 20 minutes.

But at least I didn’t have to do it.

Guest Post Alerts! For reasons that  remain a mystery, I am 14 shades of popular today. Please check out my guest posts at MommyPants, and The Red Dress Club which, if you are not familiar with, is a wonderful writer’s blog and forum.

Also, special wonderfulness pointer. Katie at Sluiter Nation had Pursey Galore this weekend and she wrote an absolutely beautiful post about taking time to reflect on the beauty of your small town roots, especially if you have a trashy sequined handbag on your shoulder.


      1. Hey, the only reason I brought it up was because I was indignant about taking the heat for Brother B’s incompetence. xP

    1. There was that sort of, “Holy smoke, they’re actually LISTENING to us!” moment.

      And I think a touring schedule would be appropriate, don’t you?

  1. I’m pretty sure it can be both. That’s a good thing. either way, I enjoy them raising the issues.

    Well, that and you not having to do the clean up.

    1. That is, in fact, the absolute BEST thing about all this.

      The me not having to do some of the work part.

      We considered breaking out a bottle of champagne.

  2. If your teenagers are doing anything….anything, I say, they’re marthas.

    Aren’t teenagers genetically wired to do nothing? So if you’ve been able to overcome their genetic predisposition, you’re doing pretty good!

    1. Thank you, kind lady!

      And for all my teasing about them, they are amazingly responsible kids. They just need to get the finer aspects of housekeeping under their belts.

  3. Hey, can they come do my kitchen? I wouldn’t care how long it takes them. I absolutely hate kitchen clean-up after dinner. We could agree on a rental price. Or does that violate some child labor law or something?

    And as for the toilet paper, I am definitely the only one in my house who replaces it. The other schmucks (and I use that term with endearment) in this house will use the last of it, leave the empty roll, and just leave the room. GRRRRRRR

  4. Ahhhhhh now you see you totally went a different route than I did. My two teenagers are assigned a chore a week. One has the kitchen and the other all other common areas. One is definitely much better at the kitchen than the other, and they both stink at the common areas. My child B (the younger of the two) has completely given up on Child A ever cleaning their shared bathroom or changing the toilet paper roll.

    This is really cute.

    1. Our kids have after-dinner duty, and then chores on the weekends their with us (which is every other week-end).

      They’re very good about doing them, they’re just refining their quality control.

      I just think it’s really funny when they call each other out.

  5. you got three teenagers to clean something TOGETHER?

    A) please send them to my classroom (and house)
    B) please teach my students to do this.

    I am just sitting here all shocked and drooly.

    ps. thanks for the blog linky…i am glad you liked the post! I will mail her out tomorrow…when the post office isn’t loafing around for Columbus Day.

    1. Not only do they CLEAN together, they tease and joke and laugh while they are doing it.

      It is possible that they were swapped for robots when we weren’t looking.

      Except for the growing out of their clothes part. Robots don’t grow out of their clothes, do they?

      There’s GOT to be another explanation…

  6. I’m sorry, did you say your teenagers actually clean the kitchen? Does this mean there’s hope that mine will actually clean SOMETHING in the next 10 years or so?

    Also, a gazillion thanks for all your hard work for my blogs today. I was ASLEEP before 10 last night. Can you believe it? And then I ran the fastest 4.2 miles of my life. And it’s all because of YOU!!

    1. They do. They clean the kitchen after dinner.

      We don’t even tell them to anymore.

      Although last week there was a margarita glass casualty.

      And I’m very happy about the sleep!

      And very annoyed about the fast run.

      I did my trudgy two miles this morning.

  7. Marthas FOR SURE! Oh, and could you please send them over to my house? My teen does the dishes and the tween sets/clears the table. And suddenly I am thinking that they aren’t putting enough thought into the job that the other is doing.

    They are adorable, by the way….and you are about 20 shades of special today, with all of your guestiness! I think that’s a word. Liz would know.

    1. I’m fairly certain that by now the three of them have organized and agent and PR specialist. You may need to go through them now.

      And guestiness will totally be a word now.

      Cause I like it.

  8. they are adorable! and funny! and you are doing a great job…with you Marthas. It’s these moments that get us throught the door slams and eye rolls. right? and alcohol.

    headin’ over to check you out elsewhere. geez woman, you are a busy girl!

    1. I complain a lot, cause, well, it’s funnier in the blog to complain.

      But they’re pretty darned amazing.

      And I was super sparkly busy today!

      I was on fire!

      (Not literally. Cause that would be icky and then I’d have to call an insurance agent or something equally icky.)

  9. Definitely Marthas!
    Is there any chance that they teach Kaefer? Especially on the attitude she is showing when helping.
    But then – it’s probably more fun to help together than just do it on her own. Sigh.

  10. Teenagers cleaning? Together? Laughing?

    Where are they from? Those are like no teenagers I’ve ever encountered. I think it’s hilarious they’re calling each other out. And still managing to have a sense of humor about all of it. Looks like you’re doing a great job at this parenting thing. Can I send mine to you?

  11. Wow! That gives me hope that someday I will not be the only one of the 4 of us who does those things. DH “does” the dishes to the extent that anything that goes in the dishwasher gets put there (though perhaps not rinsed well enough to come out clean). Any handwashing or counter-wiping is done by yours truly. Hopefully our girls will get the kitchen cleaning genes from me….

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