Ask Micah 4-7-11

Messy Males

Dear Micah,

I have a husband and two sons with him plus he has one son from his previous marriage.  My house is full of males and they have no respect for our home.  Clothes land anywhere they throw them.  Dishes pile up in bedrooms and in the den.  The toilet seat is always up and I always fall in.  Friends come in and out at all times of day and night.  How can one woman train three guys to respect the home?

going crazy

Dear Going Crazy,

How old are these kids?  If they’re of a certain age (9-14ish) you’ll have an easier time training them, if they are 15-18, it’s probably too late for any real change.  Let’s operate under the assumption that they are still trainable.  The first thing you have to do is get it into your mind that these kids must learn to help out around the house.  One day they are going to hopefully find mates to share their lives with and they are going to have a hard time of it if they’re slobs.  Your first mistake was never teaching your sons to have any responsibilities.  You obviously married a guy like that as well.  It always frustrates me whenever I hear parents complain about being overwhelmed with messy houses and having too many household chores to accomplish when they have perfectly able-bodied children that could help out.  An 8 year old can load and empty a dishwasher.  A 10 year old can put a load of towels on to wash, then dry, then fold them.  A 13 year old can mop a floor or run a vacuum.  When I was a kid I not only did the laundry, I cleaned the whole house and cooked many of the meals because my mother was a working single parent.  You have perfectly capable help living in your home and they are doing nothing because you ALLOW them to do nothing and you have TRAINED them to do nothing.  Start retraining.  No TV, X-Box, or Facebook until X, Y, and Z is done, it’s that simple.  As for your husband, tell him that he doesn’t get to enjoy the bedroom until he learns to clean it.  Stick to a plan of action and make these deadbeats help out and take some pride in their home.  As for the toilet seat thing–get over it.  You live in a house of males.  It’s ridiculous for four guys to all have to remember to lower a seat when you could just do it yourself.  As far as that goes, tell me why its automatically considered the man’s responsibility to lower the seat?  Why can’t a woman raise it when she’s finished?  In my opinion If you live in a house full of males, the seat is supposed to be up!

On His Own

Dear Micah,

My son just moved out of the house with a couple of his friends and I am a little bit concerned.  I always thought when one of my children moved out that I’d hear from them  from time to time and they’d come home for dinner some.  My son doesn’t do these.  I get a call maybe once a week or two and he hasn’t come home yet for a meal with his family.  He’s also out of his apartment most of the time when I call and he doesn’t answer his cell right away.  He also doesn’t call his brother or sisters like he should.  I feel like he’s trying to distance himself from his family completely.  I raised my children to feel a deeper connection to each other and the family unit so I don’t know what I should do to reconnect him now.  It’s like he’s gone wild out on his own.  Tell me some suggestions to get him to come home more. Or will you just say that I am being a pest?


Dear Mom,

You probably are being a pest but it is coming from a place of love so I’m not going to attack you…too much.  Look, your son is experiencing life all on his own  for the first time.  I remember what that was like.  My roommates and I would stay out all night just for the sake of being free to do it.  It’s an empowering feeling when you first realize that you answer to no one.  He’s just exploring that freedom.  Coming home for a visit and being placed back in role of someone’s child again doesn’t appeal to him right now.  Eventually it will.  Eventually he will long for the company of people he doesn’t have to impress, or keep up with, or regale with stories of how his crazy weekend went.  At some point we all calm down and get back down to being the people we were and we settle back into the family dynamic.  Just let go and let him revel in his newfound adulthood. He’ll reign himself in when it’s time.

When the %#@^ that Hit the Fan Falls back Down Somewhere Else

Dear Micah,

My son’s ex-girlfriend really did him wrong.  She made a fool out of him with her lying and cheating.  I was so angry over how hurt he was that I called her out on everything one night and told her just what I thought of her.  It wasn’t a nice scene and I really let her have it.  Flash forward three years later.  I went to my sister-in-laws house last night and there sits the ex-girlfriend.  She is my nephew’s new fiancée.  It was awkward and uncomfortable but neither of us said anything about the past.  I don’t know if I should warn my nephew, my sister-in-law, or what.  What do I do?


Dear Anne,

Warn him about what?  That she cheated on your son?  It’s really just her word against his and you don’t really want to create a rift between the two cousins.  Maybe she has already told her fiancé that she dated his cousin.  Maybe she didn’t know they were cousins until last night when you showed up and she’ll have to come clean now.  And to be honest, you really only know your son’s side of things.  Perhaps this girl had a completely different story way back when.  All that matters now is that none of it is any of your business.  Your son obviously was not this girl’s Mr. Right, but maybe your nephew is.  Furthermore, if he’s in love then he isn’t likely to feel differently after his bitter aunt spews her hostility over his fiancée at him.   He’s just going to write you off as the crazy aunt and you’ll become an enemy of that branch of the family.  You might be able to garner some concern from his mother, but do you really want to upset your sister-in-law like that?  What if this girl is actually a good match for your nephew?  Do you really want to turn your sister-in-law against a daughter-in-law that might actually make him happy?  This girl shouldn’t have to pay the rest of her life for breaking your son’s heart.  I mean, she didn’t kill him.  Keep your mouth shut and if at any time you and this girl end up alone, just shake her hand and politely say, “I know we had our differences when you dated my son.  I wish you all the happiness in the world with my nephew.”  If you say that, then family gatherings may not be so awkward.

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