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Single Parent: More on the Joys of Raising Boys


Monday is cleaning day in the Brown household.


The timing is important, as I try to relax my obsessive compulsive tendencies over the weekends, in order to maximize enjoyment of “family time.”


(It’s one of those conscious parenting things that I am trying to do more of.)


This is not easy for me. I have to kind of intentionally blur my vision as I walk through the house, so that I don’t see all the dirty clothes and dishes and other objects that have been abandoned in unnatural places.


The stinky soccer uniform stuffed under the ottoman in the family room? Pay no attention. (And try not to wonder why son number one was getting undressed in the family room, anyway.)


Two crusty bowls of dried up oatmeal in bedroom of son number two? No big deal.


Three or four dozen DVD’s taken out of their cases and strewn across the floor? Reverse blurred vision to laser vision. Step carefully, please.


Back in my childhood career as a Girl Scout, I learned to “clean up as you go.” Coupled with the policy of “always leave your campsite cleaner than you found it,” this approach can be a tremendous help in keeping your home neat and tidy. I know, because I used to do this myself.


Before I had kids.


Teaching my sons any sort of consistent approach to housekeeping has been less than satisfying. If I truly want them to clean as they go, it requires someone (me) to follow them around all day, giving constant instruction.


“Put your dirty clothes in the hamper. Close your dresser drawer. Hang up the wet towel in the bathroom. Turn off the lights.”


“Put your cereal bowl in the dishwasher. Put your spoon in the dishwasher. Put the cereal box back in the pantry. Put the milk back in the refrigerator. Turn off the lights.”


“Put the cap back on the toothpaste. Put your toothbrush back in its holder. Flush the toilet. Wash your hands. Wash your face. Use the towel, please. Hang the towel back on the rod, please. Turn off the lights.”


It is exhausting.


This doesn’t even count the energy expended coaxing them out of bed and into the shower in the first place.


What is it with boys and personal hygiene??? (Or spitting, farting and burping, for that matter?)




We did have a fairly successful run at cleaning the kitchen last night, but that was only because there was ice cream in the freezer and I was holding it hostage until the dishwasher was loaded. (I know, hostage-taking is not recommended in conscious parenting.)


In the meantime, there is no doubt that the rest of the house had deteriorated significantly.


And so, as with most Monday mornings, I sent the boys to school and indulged my urge to clean house.


As I threw a load of molding towels (extracted from the floor of my son’s closet) into the washing machine, I wondered where I went wrong.


Part of me is afraid that I am attracting this to myself.


Does the sense of satisfaction that I derive from putting things away somehow manifest the mess in the first place?


What if my deep-seated belief that my sons are slobs is actually perpetuating their slobbiness?




I remember listening to a bit on an Abraham Hicks CD, about how we are all really perfect and complete creations. And how, if we seem to be living with less-than-perfect specimens, we need to consciously choose to only see the parts of them that are pleasing to us (recognizing that there is actually nothing wrong with them that we need to fix.)


Which reminds me of all the parenting advice that counsels us to spend more time finding good things to appreciate about our children, and less on correcting “errors” of judgment or behavior.


I think there is something to work on here.


Starting today, I am going to start attracting the clean and neat aspects of my completely perfect children. When I go to bed tonight, I am going to visualize them cleaning up their rooms, showering with soap and hanging their wet towels neatly on the rod.


When I meditate tomorrow I am going to embrace the spotless purity of their souls.


And, in my quiet moments, I will remember to give thanks for them, regardless. They may be slobs, but they are my slobs.    


Bring on the stinky gym socks.



Related Posts:


For more on my life as a single mother raising boys, please read “About Boys, and the Mothers Who Love Them.”


You might also enjoy, “A Single Mother Looks at Fatherhood” and “Totally Single Parenting.”


Recommended Products:


The Abraham-Hicks CD set that I reference is The Teachings of Abraham: The Master Course CD Program. Check it out for an amazing new perspective on dealing with many of life’s complexities... you don’t have to be a parent to benefit from its wisdom!



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Debbie, thanks for your comment. I hear you... every now and then I worry that I am not training my sons to keep their own homes clean... we can only hope they have excessively neat college roommates, who will continue their education!

Debbie Owensby Moore

I think my daughter could compete right with your boys. It is exhausting and I only have one 11-year-old. I too have relaxed my expectations of cleanliness, over the years. But I have to tidy up as I go. I don't know if I am enabling her dependence on Mom to create order in her environment OR if I am providing an example of how to care for and appreciate what you have. I hope it is the later!

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