We don’t care about stuff like that

Is this a kid thing, a male thing, or just other people?

My son called me yesterday from school while I was out running errands. He had wanted to bring a friend home in his lunch break to install a program on his computer. (He got a hand me down computer from another friend this weekend.)

I said that the house was flying, and I really didn’t want him to bring anyone over until I had had the chance to organize and clean it. Plus his bedroom was not exactly in a welcoming state either. He told me that he doesn’t care about that kind of thing, that it only matters to me, and that they won’t notice the mess. Plus his side of the room was fine. (Hmm, his definition and mine don’t gel. Interesting).

I still put the kibosh on the whole idea. I explained to him that I wasn’t comfortable having any guests until the house met my standards of cleanliness and neatness. He thinks I am crazy. When he says that boys don’t care about mess, he is certainly right. (I just sent him back to his room to pick up hangers off the floor – how can he not notice that they are there? In plain sight!! Argh!)

Would you have done the same or am I obsessed with cleanliness as the kid claims I am?

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  1. Rebecca says:

    The condition of the house would not bother me as much as having a child in my house that I don’t know. I know that your son most probably would not hook up with a kid who has less values or standards than your son does, but no one knows. That is what I would have said… I have not met this boy yet and once I do, we will look at your request again.

    • HSaboMilner says:

      Rebecca, good morning! I know all the boys in his class. That didn’t bother me. I also don’t allow them to be home with a friend when there is no adult around. It was the mess that bothered me, plain and simple.

  2. batya from NJ says:

    i too don’t like to have ppl. over when my house is in disarray but that applies more to having my friends (or other adults) over. i agree though with your son that most likely this kid could not care less whether your house was neat or not. most boys just don’t notice these things & chances are the kid would just be busy with installing the program on the computer & not notice anything else.

    as i mom, i would want to find out more info about what program exactly this kid was installing onto the computer. that would be my biggest concern in this scenario.

    also, if i did feel self-conscious about the messiness of the place, i might say something like, “excuse the mess but we are busy getting started with our packing” or something like that even though as i mentioned, it probably would not make a difference with the teenaged boy. besides, who knows how neat or messy his own house is in the first place. maybe he’s used to a little disarray in his own house so he would feel right at home :).

  3. I’m uncomfortable having people over when the house is not exactly the way I’d like it to be. But when boys come over, although I may still feel a bit uncomfortable, I know that it’s only me. The boys rarely notice…or care…and I wouldn’t even excuse the mess. Why bring attention to it if they didn’t notice?

  4. Lady-Light says:

    What a great post, ripe for comments! Wait, let me get me a cup of coffee-be back in a minute…
    Ah, that’s better!

    Ok, this is how I feel about the subject: you are the Ima, and the ba’alat ha-bayit, and the house is your domain. Your kids, by your largesse, live there and eat there. They have to ‘earn their keep’ – I believe the old-fashioned way (before the 50′s) of bringing up kids was the right way: it taught kids responsibility and appreciation of their parents.

    One of the house rules (I am guessing here–you decide how you want to configure these “rules”) is that:
    1) kid’s room has to be neat & picked up, and/or 2) house has to be in order to your satisfaction.

    Problem: kids wants friend over. Solution: kid helps you clean and organize
    house, so that tomorrow he can have his friend over.
    Problem solved.
    (hmmm, there’s nothing like commenting on a blog while sitting in PJs and drinking coffee…haven’t even made the beds nor folded the laundry; heaven on earth!)

    • HSaboMilner says:

      Lady Light – last night he cleaned his room, his brother cleaned his side, and the others decided to clean their room. They continued on to clean the bathroom and beg me to let them clean the kitchen. Yet I still have cleaning and laundry to do today…how does that happen.

      • batya from NJ says:

        b/c trying to keep a house clean when you have a house full of kids is like trying to shovel snow during a snowstorm :)!!!

      • Lady Lock and Load says:

        I think that if he did spend time cleaning his room last night then it would be fair to allow him to have his friend over, if you are home. If there are certain things he overlooked, tell him that this time he can have the friend over, on condition that after he leaves he does X,Y, and Z. (of course after praising him for his efforts on cleaning his room). I remember growing up that I once swept up the living room floor (unasked) and instead of thanking me and praising me, my mother pointed out the spots I missed, I felt terrible and I still remember it to this day.
        It’s good to keep in mind what matters in the long run.

  5. Mark says:

    If we waited until our house was clean and neat to have guests, we would never have guests!

  6. Lady-Light says:

    Ah, your kids sound pretty responsible. So why, if they cleaned the kitchen (did they?) is the house in disarray? Maybe you should offer them a prize to clean & organize the living room, too!

    • HSaboMilner says:

      they cleaned last night before dinner. 4 boys can leave a lot of destruction in their wake ;) Only takes me a little while to straighten up but i like for them to take some responsibility for mess of their own creation.

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