Unique Approach to Parenting

Molly Wagner

4 Stars

September 15, 2012

Cleaning House by Kay Willis Wyma is the story of a mom's 12-Month experiment to rid her home of youth entitlement.

Kay is the mother of five, just like me, so I was immediately drawn to her story. I figured if she could do it, and tell me how she did, I absolutely wanted to know her secrets. I enjoyed her witty humor and honesty. Reading through the ups and downs of her year long experiment kept it real. Realizing it wasn't easy and each outcome wasn't perfect made me feel more normal, like she and I were on the same team.

Right away, I knew that she had hit the nail on the head with her realization that we, as parents, are enablers. There are many principals and great ideas in this book that I think I can use with my own family. For example, filling the allowance jars at the beginning of the month, and removing a dollar (or whatever the daily earning is) when chores aren't finished. Kay shared how she found that emotionally the kids react in a greater way when they see the money leaving the jar than when they see it being put in. I also like many of her other practical ideas, like having the children take turns shopping for ingredients and cooking the family dinners.

About halfway through the book, I realized that this is not a one-size-fits-all idea. Her almost completely hands off approach with her children would not work in my home. I actually laughed at the chapter where she talked about teaching teamwork within her family. While her kids labored in their front yard, hauling off an old stone walkway, she sat on her porch and watched them while drinking tea. Not necessarily my idea of teamwork. I think that for me personally I'd jump right in with my family, and be part of the team. I disagree that this would be enabling, but perhaps more of leading by example. But hey, if that's what works for her family, then rock on.

There are so many principals I will take away from Cleaning House. My thinking has been entirely changed. I love how she backed her monthly challenges with a scripture. While I will not put into practice each thing that she did with her family, or at least possibly put it into practice in different ways, I have been inspired and challenged myself in my parenting and ways of thinking. If you're a new parent, or have kids almost grown, and you'd like to be inspired as well, I definitely recommend you give this book a try.