Topic | Feel like I'm failing

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  • suzukimom

    I just feel like I’m failing at this, and have been for years.  And it is due to MY weaknesses, I know it.  And I don’t know how to fix myself, so I continue to fail.  But it messes up my kids.  

    I feel like my house is always a mess.  My kids trash their bedrooms.  They don’t take care of their possessions, so things get wrecked.  I was tired of always washing clean clothes over and over (because they got dumped on the floor) – so their clothes got moved into my bedroom – but now they get dumped on MY floor.  Games are also stored in our room, so they get dumped all over.  So I’m sick of my room looking like a storage room, that everything is dumped all over in.  But the girls room is also always trashed.  I can’t see my sons room very often – but generally it is trashed with Lego all over.

    Neither my husband or I can handle stairs too well – so I can’t regularily check my sons room.  It also means that my kids do the laundry – but I can’t check the laundry room for how bad it is.  (My step-daughter was checking it roughly once a week when she was here for my grandson to go to cubs with my son – but that is over now.)  

    My kids don’t do their chores well – they do it about 1/3 of the way.  I’ve tried a few chore systems – but my inabilbity to properly check, as well as my kids resistance, and my overall tiredness means I end up not being consistant…. so we end up back to the default of my telling them what to do (which causes bad attitudes).

    There are other issues – again with a route cause of my lack of energy because of my health issues.   And there is no likely (good) end to them.  But more than enough guilt for me.

    I know how I want life to be.  It is such a far way from reality.  (Of course it is never how we would LIKE…..)  


    I just don’t know how to change.  And it has always been like this.  And I don’t see any hope for it to ever get any better.  How do I fix me so I can help my children get better habits?


    I don’t have advice right now but I do want to say I hear you and hope there is some great loving advice coming your way soon. I do not have health issues but I do struggle with consistency issues and I often feel I’m not living up to my own expectations.

    Or maybe I could say that likely you already know several steps you can take to improve the situation, but when so many steps are needed it feels overwhelming. Pick one. Only one. And stick with it until it is a routine for you and your children. You need their help and they need to step up to provide it. They just need you to train them to do so. I think if it were me we’d start with the clothing issue. It isn’t complicated or difficult to take care of your clothes, they just need better habits. Start walking them through it each and every day, each time they change clothes. NOTHING else happens unless the clothes are taken care of. Make sure your expectations are clear and then follow up. Eventually clothes won’t be an issue and you can tackle something else.



    Suzukimom, you’ve posted about feeling this way before.  I’m so sorry you are still struggling with this.  How frustrating.  I want you to remember something very important—Heavenly Father does not mess up.  He has created your family.  Yes, there are things that are not perfect.  That’s all He gets to work with, since we are all that way.  (Remember the line–that must be terribly frustrating for Him, but He deals with it.  LOL)  But He obviously thinks  you can be what these children need.  So.  First thing taken care of.

    Next thing–as Shannon has mentioned, you just can’t fix everything at once.  You have limitations.  So do they.  Pick ONE thing.  Do that thing until you get it down.  If it takes six days or six weeks or six months, do that thing first until it’s good.  Then pick another one.  Do still set a few goals each day of course, but consider everything after that one thing gravy.  I think consistency is hard for many of us.  You really need to harness the power of habits, but you can’t make them all at once.  Pick one!  For you and them.  JUST DO THAT ONE THING.  

    To be perfectly honest, I gave up on my boys’ rooms a little while ago.  I laid it all on them and told them I just had too many plates I was spinning.  I told them what would happen to their stuff if they let things go to pot, that I was not responsible for replacing anything that was ruined, and to let me know if they needed any particular help, but to consider that their own stewardship.  At this time two rooms are pits and one is OK.  LOL  Clearly we still have a ways to go too.  


    ((HUGS)) I wish you felt better about things, but I understand what it is like to be overwhelmed by life. What about this: remove everything from bedrooms but bed, sheet, pillow. Box up toys, books, box up clothing beyond enough for 3 days. Then keep the laundry where you can keep an eye on it. Maybe keep 1-2 toys out per child, but that’s it. And if Lego is one of them require it to live downstairs in a bin in a closet, used only with permission.

    Harsh? Yes, it may seem that way. Necessary for a while until they learn how to clean up? Maybe. It would be for me in that situation. It sounds like they have too many things and get overwhelmed at keeping it all clean and put away, and if you can’t get upstairs often to deal with it and them then make everything easier for all involved. Stuff is not a NEED, and it is most certainly a privilege to be earned.

    I think we live in fear of offending our children these days. Would any child have gotten away with this 50 years ago (or even had enough stuff to do so)? I doubt it. Would they have gotten out of helping around the house? Why do we accept less now? We are not raising them to be children, we are raising them to become responsible, helpful, hardworking, hard-playing adults who believe in doing work before play.



    {{{more hugs}}} I know how you feel… I am such a capable creative talented person… and my house is a total mess most of the time. LOL laugh about it or I’ll cry about it. And I do the same routine every year.  Here it is: I blame the mess on homeschooling. Then summer comes and it does not get any better, so I face the problem (in the mirror lol cuz its me ) and I say I am going to use the time off in the summer to get organized and purge the house and etc etc. I have already been through this whole process this summer. Have I purged the house? NO. LOL.

    I cling to the thought that I may not be the best housekeeper, but I do read to my kids every day. When they are grown they will not remember how clean the laundry room was, but they will remember all the books we have read. I tell myself that, anyway. And my mom was a great housekeeper and I did lots of chores growing up – I still struggle with household routines. 

    I agree with the other posts – choose one thing and work on it. And if you had the energy to get all the stuff out that would definately work LOL. I wish I did. Where would I put it? 

    The one thing I do have a handle on is Legos. I keep them in the living room. It can be stressful when they are playing with them, but as soon as they go into a kids room – they are gone. Legos are my one triumph LOL. My own bedroom is a storage building – like yours. My laundry area is not too bad but piling up – the winter summer transition has not been done. My floor needs badly to be vacuumed as we speak. 

    I may not be able to give you any good advice – but I can be a bad housekeeper with you! {{{hugs again}}} and try to find something positive that you can do – like read aloud – or focus on something positive that you are already doing – and do it consistantly. that is more important than laundry 🙂


    Suzukimom, I know how you feel. And I agree with Gem about homeschooling having an impact on this. That’s kind of funny when you think about it, because we often talk about spending time focusing on life skills, personal development, and habit training. Maybe that’s all like nature study–many of us long to incorporate more nature study into our schedules but find it gets left in the dust (yeah, pun intended) behind academics and other subjects that pull us in.

    As we speak, there is a grimy-looking streak in front of the wall at the entrance to our kitchen, and I can’t recall when it was mopped last. There are piles of books, magazines, junk mail, I’ve-got-to-look-at-this-later mail, and school papers…..oh, the school papers!….in most of the rooms. Except the bathroom. However, my elderly dad occasionally leaves a book or two in the bathroom, but what’s an 86yo with “old guy issues” gonna do in the bathroom for that length of time?

    My room is the storage bin for everyone’s stuff plus the things that I want to “hide” from my aggressive, destructive, autistic son. My girls share a bedroom, and you can’t even walk in it without fear of twisting an ankle. They have a large pile of clothing, girly stuff, hair appliances, manicure stuff, and scraps of paper that my daughter affectionately calls “the crap pile.” (And she knows how I hate that word….no, not “the” or “pile” but the other word.) My son’s room is actually somewhat better because a) you can walk on 75% of the floor, b) he puts his laundry in his hamper, and c) he keeps the junk shoved under his bottom bunk where it is not greatly visible. The main problem with his room is the damage he did to a couple of the walls a few years back before he decided that banging his head against walls was not a good way to manage physical & emotional pain. (That’s a hard & lengthy lesson for some autistic kids, but, yay! He’s pretty much stopped that.)

    Somewhere along the way of homeschooling & raising three kids who are each about 15 months apart in age, being a single mom for the last 7 years, handling an autistic child’s behaviors & physical needs, and just plain getting old (I’m 53 & didn’t have my first child until I was 38), I have been too lax with habit training, especially getting them to do chores. Consequently, my house is usually a mess, I’m tired & occasionally not well, and I often don’t like my kids’ attitudes. We should have a club; I’d join, but don’t ask me to be president!

    I have tried incorporating FlyLady principles to my home management, I’ve read Emilie Barnes books (lovely lady–I just love reading her books but seldom put into practice), I’ve read Sandra Felton’s Messies Anonymous books (which helped a little, for a short while), and I’ve looked at the possibility of using Chore-Paks but didn’t think my kids would go for that. I haven’t stuck with much of any system for long, so any progress I’ve made toward “House Beautiful” quickly regresses back toward disaster area.

    Plus, when we moved in with my dad in 2006, he had been a widower for 10 years & never dusted, never mopped, never put away anything he thought he would need later & not be able to find. He has got to be the inspiration for the phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle” as he saves everything he can use again (no matter how awful it looks) and he has been taking aluminum cans & papers to bulk recyclers who pay for them for decades. However, he has plastic crates of stuff, bags of stuff, and piles of stuff everywhere….everywhere! We had to clear everything out of the kitchen, living room, and the bedrooms before we moved in. We still don’t use my mom’s lovely dining room with her lovely solid wood dining furniture because it is “Grandpa’s office” (as the kids call it) with “stuff” lining the perimeter of the room and covering the once pretty china cabinet and dining table. The house is also old and some things really need repair, even if it’s just cosmetic. I think this has had an impact on how we feel about keeping house.

    I found FlyLady and other organizational systems a bit overwhelming to keep on going with, but I wish I could figure out a simple, one-thing-at-a-time method of accountability that I could join with others to keep up with just one or two things. I’m not really sure what that would be like, though. The daily email thing with FlyLady didn’t seem to work for me, but there must be some simple, effective way to encourage each other and motivate each other.

    For now, I guess I’ll just leave it at “I hear you” and “Don’t be so hard on yourself” because I do know that regardless of the messes we are in, the Father never loves us less. And I really think I (and other moms) could draw strength from His example. I know God never considers Himself a failure when He sees what His creation has become. If He does not call us “Failure,” we should not call ourselves that, no matter how tempting it is to apply that label. He calls us a lot of wonderful things, but never that.


    Well. I have to join the crowd with the my house is not perfect either…I am so sick of STUFF – instead of Legos at my house right now it is Polly Pocket type dolls, animals, and baby dolls, and then all my school and church assignment mess. ARGHHH!  (I just want to runaway and read brain-candy books – how’s that for dealing with the stress!!??)

    I wanted to tell you when I read today that Foxtrot has mastered reading and RightStart level 1 at 5, there is no way that you are a failure. You have figured out Delta and Echo’s issues, figured out how to work with them and they are all making progress in their educations. You are not a failure.

    Everyone had something to eat today, you all have a bed, and you are together. You are not a failure!!

    Echoing everyone else: Pray and ask the Lord what He is trying to teach you through these experiences. Then pick one thing to start with. Even if that is all that gets done everyday, you are not a failure!


    Thanks everyone – yes, I’ve been struggling with this for years….  I grew up partly with my Mom, who ran a fairly tidy house (and yes, I had chores) and partly with my Dad, who probably could have had his house on the show “Horders”.  Yes, he would bring home “garbage”.  (The school he taught at having renovations? – we had lockers in our backyard (rusty ones, at least they were when I remembered them – they might not have been when he brought them home….) – ceiling tiles.  Whatever.   One of my step-daughters has horder tendencies…  I remember us shoveling out complete garbage (ie food cans, pizza boxes) out of her area when she moved out.  So I’m sensitive to a mess, but don’t seem to have the skills…. and I’m sensitive to what my kids might be learning…

    My hsuband says I’m too hard on myself – that kids don’t keep bedrooms clean. But occasionally there are comments about the mess (in the whole house, not the bedrooms – directed at the kids, but it makes me feel bad because I’m the one that didn’t make them clean up whatever mess it is.  Actually, he is overall pretty good, and sometimes gets the kids doing some cleaning while I’m at the store or something…  He was a divorced man with 3 kids so he knows what it takes to run a house and will step up at times.

    I’ve tried Accountable Kids, I’ve tried Chore Packs.  (I also tried making a schedule from Manager of our Homes – that didn’t last long!!!)  But I find these things seem to work well for a couple of weeks then fails.  

    I’ve tried the – you can’t play until the work is done – but honestly it wears ME out.  

    I’m considering “Chore Wars” – I know it will appeal to Delta for sure – not sure how long it might help….


    As for too many things – I don’t know.  I keep taking things away – we have a lot of stuff upstairs that was taken away until they can show me they can keep their room clean….. and well it never gets brought back down.  Toys just seem to multiply.  I keep going through their room (the girls’ that is) taking out broken toys/drawings/paper/etc….   and packing up toys to donate, and putting a few things upstairs.  I know a few things migrate downstairs when they aren’t being watched carefully (so now I donate most stuff).  I had them down to 1 doll, 1 “yoshi”, and 1 stuffy each, plus their doll furniture.  But they even strip the sheets and blankets off the bed – every – single – day.  (and more than once if I make them remake the bed….)   You know it is like they are trying to train me or something…. (you know, the if they don’t make the bed right, you make them do it 3 times, or whatever?  Well they are training me by “if they make us make the bed, we’ll strip it so she has to make us do it again…)  I’m not even sure which kid (or all of them?) are actually doing it…..    

    Oh, I guess I also let them keep their costumes for dress-up…. they can make quite a mess, but they do a lot of creative play with them….

    I just also see other issues popping up that I don’t even like to mention.    We don’t keep Jam, or Syrup, or Honey in the house because of the mess that they make.  I have to keep cereal and now crakers up out of reach.  I now hate crayons…  

    It also doesn’t help that our house is about 800sq ft, honestly just a 2 bedroom (with 1 “bedroom” in the “loft” upstairs), and no storage except the basement and loft…  There is a single “linen” closet that is our homeschool shelf – and and anything else gets stored in the bedrooms…..


    Ladies, Ladies, Ladies…  “Be Still And Know I Am God”.  This scripture is the most comforting to me.  I am with you all right now.  Been there, am there, will continue to be there.  Life is too short to be stressing your souls out.  As Scarlett O’Hara says in Gone With The Wind, “Tomorrow IS another day”.  Let’s just make a tiny little list that has 3 things on it per day that we’d like to accomplish.  Kids making their beds, wahing dishes, washing a load of clothes.  CHECK!!!  We’re done with it.  Anything else we do is icing on our AWESOME CAKE!!!  If, for some reason, we only accomplish two things on our list, that’s OK!  Look at what we DID do.  Also, it’s time to have a heart-to-heart with our darling little monsters…er…um…CHILDREN, yes, yes, THAT’S it!!  Our children need our help and we need theirs.  It’s time to tell them so.  Try this make a little note and fold it over like a party invitation, draw a picture or print one of some people having a great time.  Then write on the front of the invitation, “You Are INVITED…” and on the inside, write “To A Family Meeting”  (yes, I know the groans begin in your head but stay with me).  Put the date, Time, and Location for the meeting in side the invitation.  Then, before the meeting make a few notes as to what you’d like help with.  Also, you need to include just how crummy you feel physically and emotionally and that you need your FAMILY’S help.  They love you, they will want to help you.  Pop some popcorn, have some Kool-aid or whatever drinks are a treat for them, even bake some brownies if you feel up to it.  It’s a meeting but it’s a party too.  You’re celebrating the fact things may change for you somewhat and they can indulge in some goodies.  It will work for a while, just don’t let them get back into bad habits.  Remind them, daily if need be, that you had a meeting and in that meeting they gave you their word they would HELP you.  (Be sure and make them give you their word.)  And breathe easy.  Things won’t ever be perfect, but they can be better.  And take heart, one day, we’ll look back on these days and MISS them.  Ha!  Can you imagine??  lol!!!

    My love to each of you as you struggle.  You are not alone.  There are many other mamas like us.  Oh, and one more thing.  Just remember this, you can ALWAYS count on Jesus to get you through just one more day.  : )  Hugs and Kisses, my dears!!!


    There has to come a point where you decide to make a stand, mean what you say, are consistent in consequences, do the work to habit train, and let that become the new normal. If you keep trying things and they ‘stop working’ it’s probably because you’re not making a permanent change, just making a temporary effort and giving up/giving in when it’s hard or change doesn’t come as quickly and easily as you want.

    PLEASE hear this in love. I understand tired to the bone all the time. What worries me most is that you continue to beat yourself up because changes don’t stick. It’s okay to have a messy house if your priority is elsewhere. Really! Because unless you have a fundamental change of heart so that creating permanent habits of cleaning and chores becomes a priority for you it’s never going to work. If you are not at that place heart-wise it doesn’t matter what else you try to do, it’s not going to last.

    AND it’s okay to not be there! We each have to choose what is most important for our mental health and spend what energy we have on that. A clean house and children who have learned to habitually be clean/neat and do chores may not be the priority for your mental health. But if that is true own it, don’t let you beat yourself up over it any more. It doesn’t matter what anyone else does or how their home runs. What matters is that you bring your family’s needs and situation to God and see what He wants you to do about it. Then do it. Even when it’s hard, because no matter what He says you should focus on for this season it is going to be hard. If it were easy He’d pick something else…LOL. Then let go of the guilt over anything and everything He didn’t tell you was the priority.

    You know habits of clean and chores are a priority at my house, it’s for MY mental health. There are tons of areas I have to just let go of the guilt on because they are not a priority for us. But this happens to be the area where I’ve had to invest the work and take a stand as our priority. It’s what Heavenly Father laid out as where I can best focus what energy I have to train my children to smooth our days mentally and physically. Other things, no matter how good or worthwhile, are not where I need to spend my energy and focus right now. And sometimes I feel guilty about that, but I have to let it go. I can’t dwell on things that I can’t do things about right now. I also can’t keep offering excuses about those areas. I have to simply be honest with myself and others that I simply am not going to change things in those areas right now. They’re not my focus. Even if other people think they should be. Giving excuses doesn’t help, though I could come up with tons.


    You’ve already received great practical advice. I just wanted to say that you’re not failing, just struggling. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses. My mom is bi-polar and has struggled with depression most of her life, I remember her often being in bed as I was growing up. Our house was always a disaster. Piles of newspapers laying around was common. If somebody showed up unexpectedly we’d be shoving dishes into the dishwasher to try to look more presentable:) We rarely hosted guests. My sister and I now keep fairly clean homes and love to host. Go figure:) But now as an adult I don’t think of those things as failures. She stuck up for me and attended my basketball games and concerts. Those are the more important qualities. I hope you find a peaceable routine soon:) Gina


    Great concept, Gina-

    “not failing, just struggling”

    What I needed to hear today!


    Glad something was encouraging, Jenni. BTW, every time I see your smiling face on here I pray for you. Hope your health is well…please keep us posted!

    I was just at a conference and heard an amazing Christian psychologist speak. He was talking about the worlds mistaken focus on self-esteem when the true focus should be on self-identity…..who we are in Christ. He loves us just as we are. One thing that stuck with me for raising kids is to teach them, ‘you win some you lose some.’ So their value doesn’t shift by people’s comments, shortcomings, etc. Good advice for us moms… I constantly feel like there’s things I’m not doing well!

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