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How My Kids Clean Their Rooms

How my kids cleaning their room is just like a football game

Last night our youth group had a Seahawks party instead of our regular youth group activities. If you know me, you will know how I feel about football. Kind of like how I would feel about a combination root canal/Brazilian wax…in the snow. With only decaf coffee. But when you’re a leader, you must not only show up, but look…alive…and pleased to be there. I did the normal mom/leader things. I set up a table with shrink paper supplies (which was a huge hit) and helped out in the kitchen. 

Last night’s game was a long game. As I watched the last-minute and a half of the game tick down, I turned to someone nearby and said, “What I hate about football is how they are always starting and stopping. I mean, can you imagine if we cleaned the house that way?” In that moment I had a sudden epiphany…that is how my children clean up. In fact, that is exactly what happens when they are asked to clean their rooms. Something that should take only 15 minutes turns into  three hours….

I start by giving my children the locker room pep talk:

“Okay, guys! Today we’re going to clean our rooms! You’ll feel so much better when it is done. You can DO THIS! Start by picking up the dirty laundry and the garbage.”

In our house we have The Boys team and The Girls team. 

They start off well (if with some grumbling and complaining).

I see them moving…yes, they’re picking up laundry. Okay, that child has a dirty shirt and three smelly socks. There he goes. He’s approaching the laundry basket…oh no…he’s stopped. What’s going on now? They’re lining up again. Okay, another child has the shirt and all three socks are back on the floor.

Child picks up toy…he’s moving, he’s moving, whoa, we’ve got a horse collar tackle…someone’s on his back, wrestling the toy out of his arms. Man down! Man down!

Okay, everyone’s up and moving now I see a stuffed animal being hurled in the air, heading for the child’s bed…Oh no! We have an interception. The stuffed animal is now the center of a custody battle…the ref steps in to mediate.

And let me tell you, we have plenty of Pass Interference: When a child unfairly interferes with another child’s attempt to put items away.

It is not at all that unusual to find a child jacked up.

When cleaning their rooms, my children regularly go into overtime and even smack each other’s butts on occasion.

And then there are, of course, the children who take full advantage of the kneel down when they feel they have done more work than everyone else. 

Now if I could just find a new coach for this team, I think we’d have a real shot at having a clean, organized house.

{All football terms came from this site. Because I had to go look all of this up.}



  1. Elizabeth

    Haha, yes. The ancestor of American football is much less start and stop. Rugby has alot of tackles, but the play continues. AFL (Australian Football League) is more more constant. It’s like rugby and soccer combined, alot more constant running.

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