Thursday, February 4, 2016

Dear moms that don't teach their children to clean up

 Dear moms that don't teach their children to clean up,

Are you serious right now?!

You see, I make that face every week that we go to the library and I witness what is known as the "tornado" erupting right before my eyes. A tornado caused by little minions {very cute, and adorable, with lots of energy minions who are just having fun}, all while so many moms sit back and pretend all is okay, assume Johnny and Susie are allowed to make a mess because there is someone else around to clean it up, and then have the audacity to just walk away when they are finished.  Like, "yay that was fun my toddler was entertained, and it wasn't my house that got destroyed for once."

And I'm over here, still like....

Hey lady, you forgot your mess!!
Moms, I'm really not understanding what's going on here. I want to make sense of it, I really don't want to judge, but it's come to the point where I just have to flat out call it how I see it.


Our children are lucky. The library opens their doors for them and entertain them, for free. They get to do story time. They craft. And then the great librarians even turn on some tot music, bring out an assortment of toys, and let them have at it. We end our two hour stay diving into thousands of books and filling our own bag with 30+ to take home for the week. It really is a wonderful time, and we are there at least once a week, so I'm serious when I say this... this post has been 4 years long overdue.
And so you could understand why I am baffled every time by the common courtesy that is lacking in adults (and as a result, their children). Baffled, confused, and completely frustrated. 

If you come to a place that isn't your home, and your child proceeds to make a mess of the books, the toys, and the craft supplies, then please teach them to pick them up. And if they are too young to do so or to understand the process, then you pick it up and be that example for them. 

It may be a tough lesson to learn, and it may result in a tantrum and tears and maybe even a little embarrassment for you. But trust me, I've been there. I sat with my boy less than a year ago in the library for 30 minutes while he cried, kicked, and screamed and flat out told me "No! I'm not doing it!" in regards to the box of blocks that he decided to spill out and then refuse to pick up. But here is where I couldn't just walk away. I couldn't just let him win this, because I was only ever going to allow this one tantrum over this, and I had my chance now to fix that. Because if I stood my ground, if I made sure that at the end of this misery {on both our parts} it meant that he would be cleaning up those darn blocks, and if I stayed certain that he knew that when mommy said you need to clean up, then you need to clean up, then he would trust me and that we would never experience that sort of episode again. And it's true. We never have. Sure, they've tried to avoid it, or took their pretty old time, but at the end, gosh darn it, they do it. 

And not only do they clean up their mess, but we clean up after others. We {me included} will walk around pushing chairs in, putting books back on the shelves, picking up trash off the floor, putting puzzle pieces scattered over tables back together, blocks and toys all over the ground back into their spots, and trying to leave the library a tidy place. No, they didn't cause the mess, but I try to teach them that it's important to clean one up when we see it, even if if it was at the hands of others.

I try to teach them that we should be respectful of other people's homes, as well as our own, and when we see that someone or a place (in this case, our beloved library) is disrespected, then it is our duty to help them.

They get it. They they understand why they are doing it, even if they may gripe and moan about it.

A few months back, my daughter picked up trash on the playground {that we find often}, went over to the trash can and threw it away. She then proceeded to say to me, "Mama, why do people throw trash on the ground, when the trash can is right there." Wow. A 5 year old gets it. Why is it so hard for adults then to understand this basic concept of common courtesy.
Moms, I understand the whole "pick your battles" and I completely understand that you don't want eyes on you, and you're afraid. I've been there.  But damn it that's what parenting is about. It's not meant to be easy. We shouldn't take short cuts. We are simply cheating our children as a result, and robbing them of learning some pretty darn valuable lessons in life.

Cleaning up, and respecting a place that is not ours is pretty important. It's at the top of the list. It means a lot more than just picking up after yourself. It will teach them more about life than putting trash where it belongs, and pushing chairs back in.

We are the example to our children. They will follow in our footsteps. It is our responsibility as parents to show them what respect and courtesy looks like. Trashing a home or building that belongs to others, and then expecting others to clean up after you or your children is just rude. And then they grow up to be self-centered adults that have this "me, my, and mine" mentality and we say "oh my gosh!!! I didn't raise Johnny that way!" 

Oh yes, yes you did.


  1. Amen to that! I've once had a mother tell me that me picking up after her child was insulting to her! What?!

  2. word....LOL......I even clean our table at restaurants before we leave. Even though I know the waitress will .....I try to clean up the majority of it because I hate to leave messes behind


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