Wyma, Kay Wills. Cleaning House: A Mom’s 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 2012.
If there is a mom that hasn’t fought the battle of clutter and bedrooms that constantly look like they have been hit by a tornado, I want to meet that woman. As I do struggle with clutter, bedrooms that regularly do not pass inspection, and what those familiar with the FlyLady would call C.H.A.O.S. (can’t have anyone over syndrome) when the opportunity to read the book Cleaning House came along, I jumped. With the title Cleaning House, I expected, or maybe hoped for, another book that would help me be better organized and tackle the problem of my less than Better Homes & Gardens home once and for all. What I found when I opened this gem of a resource was even better.
Kay Wills Wyma’s Cleaning House does not focus on a 12-step, or 12-month, program on how to clean your house or tackle your clutter program. Instead, just as the sub-title indicates, Wyma focuses on the issue of youth entitlement she saw exhibited in her own children and rampant in society. From the first page, she opens the doors to her mini-van and home allowing us to peek in to her family. I’m so glad she did because now I know I’m not the only “mean mom” and that kids come pre-programmed to say certain things. As Wyma becomes keenly aware of the entitlement culture we live in and how we as parents have created, or at least contributed to, this culture, she decides to tackle these issues in her family head-on.
Wyma tackles one specific type of job or activity a month. For example, the first month of her experiment focuses on having her children clean their bedrooms. Later months focus on yard work, cleaning the bathrooms, and doing laundry. However, Wyma does not solely focus on cleaning tasks. Some months her emphasis is on “soft skills” such as hospitality, being a team player, serving others, and manners. Another month focuses on working outside the home in a paid or volunteer capacity. Frequently monthly activities, such as keeping your room clean, continue throughout the 12 months although not in the same focused matter.
Throughout the book, Wyma shares stories of real life events that occurred with her children to depict the events that happened during each month of the experiment. In addition to these real-life examples, Wyma includes research to demonstrate the problem of youth entitlement and stories of what has worked by other parents or individuals who work with youth. In this way, readers benefit not only from Wyma’s experiences but also the experiences of others. I particularly appreciated her list of what her children learned at the conclusion of each month as well as what she learned during the course of the month.
While reading Cleaning House, my new motto quickly became “Whatever the kids can do themselves, they are going to do (or at least attempt).” I’m looking forward the conducting my own 12-month experiment in our home which will most likely be the subject of future blog posts. My list of what kids should know before flying the coop may look a bit differently than Wyma’s, but there is quite a bit of overlap. In addition, I will certainly be borrowing numerous ideas such as the dollar a day in a jar (for more information see chapter 1). I have also started following Wyma’s blog, the MOATblog and encourage you to do so too.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Blogging for Books . I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”