I was excited to have the opportunity to read Cleaning House; A Mom's 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement, as I can relate to the author as a fellow stay-at-home mom of five. The work involved in maintaining a home of seven and all that it holds can be daunting, especially if it all falls on one person.
As I scrolled through the pages on my Kindle I was open to any bits of wisdom Kay Wills Wyma could offer. The book is more of a memoir than a how-to book, but still offers a great amount of advice on getting your kids out of an entitled mindset. I really enjoyed the tips from her "ironing board," a group of wise moms who chime in on each chapter. As I read through each chapter, each one describing that month's experiment, I couldn't help but relate to all the different responses she received from her children. I can see mine reacting in just the same way. For example, I have a son who would much rather fork over the cash to buy fast food than take the time to cook for the family. Kay reveals the ups and downs of the year and I loved her honest portrayal of a home of seven different personalities. She explains how she would maybe do things differently if she had it to do all over again, which is useful information for a reader taking on the challenge.
If nothing else, it brings attention to the dangerous trap of youth entitlement and what that could mean for the future. It is an issue I deal with daily in my household.
This is a great quick read for any parent!
*I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for review.
Enabling Parents Need It, Those Not Can Pass It Up
August 10, 2013
I wish I could say that I loved Cleaning House: A Mom's 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement as much as I hoped I would, but I did not. Although I found some of transparent honesty of author's personal experiences enjoyable and even funny, I had difficulty reading the book in its entirety. That may be because I am just not in the target market for the book; before I finished the first chapter, I knew that would be very little relative to my lifestyle. Unlike the author, I homeschool and part of my daughter's education is living in the real world, which includes housework, laundry, meal preparation, grocery shopping, budget keeping, yard work, etc. If anything, the author's "experiment" to add chores and projects to the lives of her children was in the direction of how things are done in my own family.
Kay Wyma started simply in the first month with just having her five children, ages four to fourteen, making their own beds and picking up clutter, very doable for all the ages of her children. Each month she either added to the chores or had them work on a particular project with the last month being etiquette.
The second month was to learned to plan a menu, shop for the groceries, prepare the food, and clean up after the meal one day each week. I thought it was much for the youngest of the children, but there was plenty of help from the mother. I also thought this was an excellent regular chore for the older children, but later in the book it is mentioned that after the second month, she only required them to cook one meal a month. That is when I had to put the book down for a few days, which turned into many weeks. I thought the older ones could do a meal at least every two weeks, if not weekly. How were the older children really going to learn how to prepare meals making only twelve meals a year?
When I finally picked the book back up, I continued to read trying to enjoy it as a chronicle of the author's experiences in her twelve-month experiment, rather than a book that would share any insights that I hoped to incorporate into my own lifestyle. However, two troubling factors kept surfacing throughout the book: the family's financial advantage and the husband not being on board.
This book was published in a time when our country had not yet recovered from a long economic recession and within the writer shares that she has a maid that comes to her home twice a week. I am happy for them and for the maid they employ, but their lifestyle is a little out of touch with those of us who cannot afford a maid or work as maids. One might think that is why her children were not doing anything, but the reality is that the parents were the ones who needed to change the most, which leads into the second problem that really grated on me: the parents were not in agreement with the experiment. It was such a major undertaking to change the entire family's lifestyle and having the father not more actively involved and supportive really bothered me.
At the end of every chapter, the author summarized what her children learned during the month and what she learned as well. After the first chapter, she writes, "I had no idea the number of areas in which my enabling tendency prevails." This was quite obvious because she was making the five beds in which her children had slept each day, not to mention she was picking up after them all as well. I am glad that this experiment helped her to see this and make lasting changes that are beneficial to her children in preparing them for taking care of themselves in adulthood. Perhaps my frustration was in reading the painstaking steps of an enabling mother finally learning how to be a parent.
In the end, I am torn about giving this review. On one side, I can see it would be helpful for some families who need it, but I found it to be less helpful and somewhat irritating to read being on the other side of the fence.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
This book is a must read for all parents. I am guilty of doing way too much for my 11, 14 and 16 year old children. They are capable of so much more! We have already implemented many changes based on this book and have seen wonderful results! Thank you Kay!
There were so many things I liked about this book. There are also so many things that I wish I could talk to the author about. I give Kay Wills Wyma much credit for taking the first steps toward ridding her household of entitlement. Lord knows I want that too.
I felt the book started out strong, but by the end there were some tasks I wasn't fully sure she was doing. She even admitted at one point that the handyman task didn't come close to what she expected. I did love her transparency with all of it though.
Overall there were some very good points I took from the book. One of my favorite quotes from the book was
"And I won't settle for simply yanking out the bad stuff; the good stuff needs fertilizing. I need to hit their areas of strength..."
How true is that. How often do we just focus on the bad instead of nurturing the good as well. This book was a good starting point for anyone looking for a jumping off point to ridding their house of entitlement.
I received this book from Waterbrook Publishing in exchange for my honest review.