Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement

As a break from the massive quantities of literature I’ve been consuming, I took a few hours to gouge my eyes out while reading this ridiculous book. The premise is great—a mom decides to whip her five children into shape by having them do household chores and to learn basic life skills. Even though I caught a whiff of Bible-thumping from the Amazon review, I decided to plunge ahead. It was terrible.

She did restrain herself and wait 12 pages before quoting scripture, but page 2 has her equating her slacker kids with socialists, “I think I’m raising little socialists, the serve-me kind that are numb to the benefits of ingenuity and hard work, the kind that don’t just need to be taken care of—they expect it.” I squinted a bit to try and make the real definition of socialism fit this Fox-News-worthy description, but I was tripped up by having a brain. Later, she rails against the provision in the Affordable Care Act that allows children to remain on their parents’ insurance plan until age 26. The government (read: Obama) fueled the entitlement crisis that our youngsters are facing by providing “parachutes” (aka safety nets! for people who need them!). “Great message to send the future leaders of America: keep relying on your parents.” My rage began simmering, this lady blind to the realities that are keeping people living at home (stunning lack of job opportunities and high cost of living).

In one scene she drives a son to Wendy’s to buy dinner for the family, pitching in $10 while the son covered the remaining $10.14. When they got home and his order was wrong, she “whisked it up, put him in the car, and drove right back to Wendy’s. How dare they mess up my kid’s order!” She justifies this overbearing mom behavior by using it as an example to show her kids how to return an order gone wrong. On the plus side, she lives in the Dallas area, so I hope she was stuck in traffic for a good bit of this tantrum.

She has no qualms about hammering gender training into her kids, blithely coming to expect cooperation from her daughters while her elitist sons whinge. After laying out that month’s task, “cheers from one side of the room, moans from the other. No surprise from whom.” When the task is party planning, one of her daughters opts not to spend the $50 budget on a floral centerpiece, and the author loves this. Naturally this doesn’t come up in the sons’ party experience. When the experiment is first announced to the kids in a family meeting (gag!), she actually says “Jon [the husband] lets me explain the premise…” Let that seep in for a bit. Her husband allows her to speak. Don’t even get me started on the manners section where doors are opened for ladies and when a kid asked who made these rules up, she says “It actually goes back to the way men should treat women, which is to cherish them, to care for them.” I had to finish reading in the bathroom from barfing so much.

There’s an idiotic section that states “the jury is still out as to whether technology and the pervasiveness of social networking helps kids connect with one another or hinders their emotional development.” Oh honey. Pull up a chair and read the thousands of studies that are crying out against the act of friendship through intermediaries of our phone/screens.

And wacko Christianity oozes across the pages. A neighbor “went home to be with the Lord recently,” one of the worst euphemisms for “died.” Funny how it’s totally cool to “do service” for the poor but god forbid we set up social programs to help them. It continues to be one area that baffles me, the hypocrisy of these Bible-thumpers who are intoxicated by their own privilege and can’t fathom how someone without the benefits of being white and wealthy might need extra care to survive the grueling battle of capitalism.