Ah okay, time I faced things as they are. I am a lousy mother. A serious parenting #fail. I never seem to have the house in order and my daughters spend most of their lives stuck behind a screen deaf (and blind) to my attempts at discipline. Sometimes, when for the hundredth time, I enter their room and ask them to shut the drawer, they stare at me like I have fallen from the sky. They have no idea it is meant to be shut. Obviously I have not been able to teach them anything!
I also believe it's never too late to start making amends. So, instead of beating myself up about my inability to discipline them, I have, as of today, developed a set of "House Rules" which will be prominently displayed in the girl's room so that they (and their friends) know the rules and cannot claim ignorance! Wonder why I didn’t think of this before!
So here goes, this is what they have been given: (I'll let you know if it worked, as of now as I write this one girl is howling with laughter in the next room, she has no idea how dead serious I am!!)
(My house, my rules. If you don't like them, find another place to stay)
1. You have been given a room to live in. However that does not give you a right to convert it into a pig sty. Your parents will have right of entry into the room at any point of time and expect it to be kept clean. If the door is locked, you shall open the door as soon as a parent knocks. If the door is locked and a parent can hear you screaming, the parent has a right to break it open.
2. The cupboards all have doors that close. Let's keep them that way. Shoes found outside the shoe cupboard can and may disappear and may not reappear in time for the next party or ever.
3. Books habitually do not jump in and out of shelves. Any book taken out of any shelf can and must be returned to its place when you are done with it. The same rule applies for DVDs, scissors, cello tape, nail-cutting equipment and the stapler, especially the kitchen scissors.
4. The washing machine will be turned on every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and occasionally on Sundays. Your mother will not touch wet stinky clothes that have been sweating in the bucket and you are responsible for washing the same and hanging it out to dry. It will continue to lie in the bucket and raise a stink till the needful is done by who-ever that stink belongs to.
5. Meal times are known to everyone and are to be adhered to. Snacks are not a matter of right. Your parents are under no obligation to ensure that kebabs, bacon, sausages and chicken nuggets are permanently displayed in the freezer so you can eat them. Kindly ask for permission before gorging on such items.
6. The refrigerator has a function and that is to preserve food. You do not open the door and stand there till icicles grow out of your nose. Nor do you eat all the ice in the freezer section. Cheese and chocolates are not bread or rice and do not form part of our staple diet, do not devour it as though it is.
7. You ought to be old enough to know what purpose the bathrooms are used for. Kindly desist from taking your speakers and listening to music for two hours while you shower. Water is precious. So are the shampoos, conditioners and body washes that flow with it when you are bathing. When you exit the bathroom please ensure that it is dry, the toothpaste has been put away and all your odds and ends removed. Remember wet towels do not fly and hang themselves to dry, kindly do the needful to ensure that the damp towel gets some air.
8. The iron is not a toy. As and when you feel the need to use the same kindly ensure that the appliance is switched off when you are done and do not keep a hot iron face down on the ironing board. There is a reason why the ironing board has a burnt chunk and you know what it is.
9. Any items of yours (read shoes, slippers, bags, books, accessories) of any nature whatsoever must not be found in any room other than your own. If it is, you will be summoned to remove the same with immediate effect and no one cares that you are tired or sleeping. Whining will not help either.
10. The television is for entertainment and the characters in your serials are not real. I do not care that you have to cry each time you seen that re-run of that serial just because the hot guy died. If it makes you cry, stop watching it. If it scares you, shut off the TV. Go read a book. Any use of this device should be limited but as I know you sneak in shows with meal times and have it on whenever I am not home, let me advise you on its use. You do not turn the cushion of the divan into a flat pastry by sitting on it. You do not eat on the sofa and wipe dirty hands on the upholstery. When TV viewing is over, especially when you have hear the car come in, kindly switch off the TV, the set–top box, the electric switch and the fan. Most importantly please remove personal effects like slippers and hairclips and brushes from the vicinity. Leaving them lying there will let people know you are watching TV when you have been pretending that you haven’t.
11. The telephone has not been subscribed to with you in mind and it is not your birth-right. Please bear in mind that until you are old enough to earn and pay the bills, we are not under any obligation to ensure you get to chat with your friends. You have your own pre-paid cell-phones for a purpose, kindly use them. Top up is once a month and you know how much you will get. Kindly be on notice that once the dying cordless phone's battery dies completely, we are under no obligation to get a new one. So it is in your interest to ensure that it stays in the cradle and does not walk around the house.
12. Similarly, electricity bills are paid by us. Kindly desist from wasting the same by turning on every light and fan in every room you walk into and not turning it off when you leave. You talk about saving energy and the environment and conservation of natural resources; let's start by turning off all the unused devices in the house.
13. The Wi-Fi is not supposed to be on for every minute that you are awake or asleep. To switch it on, kindly take express permission of either parent. You will specify the purpose for the same and used it for a limited period of time as granted permission for. Remember when you say you have to do research and spend all your time on FaceBook, Instagram and SnapChat, the Wi-Fi may be turned off without any warning.
14. The maid is not here to make your life comfortable. You do not holler for a glass of water when you can jolly well help yourself. She does not have to fry you snacks or make you Maggi at the drop of a hat. Housework will not kill you and you do not become a servant if you help in household chores even when the maid is there. So make your own bed, dust your room, clean the dressing table and the study table. Believe me, you will feel better for it.
15. You have only one job to do and you know what it is. You have to stand on your own feet. And be happy. Towards that end, your parents are doing everything possible to ensure you have a balanced, healthy life. All your indulgences, extra-curricular activities, socializing with friends, TV benefits, Wi-Fi use etc are designed for that purpose only. Obey the rules and your parents will also be happy. And do fit in your studies. You have a responsibility there and it is all yours as only you know exactly what you have to do: it is the only way to ensure a stress-free neighborhood.
Thank you for your attention. These rules are not absolute and may be amended, altered or added to by either parent at any point of time.
Therefore, all questions, comments, concerns, complaints, frustrations, tantrums, imitations, aggravations, insinuations, allegations, accusations, consternation and suggestions should be directed elsewhere._______________