Conclusion and Consequences To Our “Do Whatever You Want Week”

Our “Do Whatever You Want Week”  is officially over! Thank gosh is my first thought of course. I am not sure I have much of a tongue left, after having to bite it countless times throughout the week. But, there were times were it was actually fun, and we did have some good laughs. After all, that was part of the point – to do whatever we wanted and have fun!

But, it was also a lesson in consequences – that we all need to take responsibility for our actions, and lack there of too. This is something each of my kids had to learn the hard way. I just hope they realize that while this experiment was conducted in a safe, controlled environment, the “real world” won’t necessarily be so understanding…

If you have no clue what I am talking about, the declaration of our week can be found here, and the daily updates of our fun are here.

Mom Line - Do Not Cross

Conclusion and Consequences

Officially at 6pm, I informed the kids that our week was over. They actually looked depressed about it – until I spoke again. I told them it was now time to pay the consequences for their non-actions throughout the week.

I was at first accused of playing a trick on them and punishing them for things they did over the week, when I had told them they could do what they wanted. Grrrr They still didn’t get it!

This was not about grounding them or punishing them for the extra things they did throughout the week that were not normally allowed. It was “do whatever you want week” after all. This was about facing the consequences for NOT doing what was required. That we all have things in our lives needing to be done that we don’t like. And if we don’t do them, there are consequences! I was the one that was handing out those consequences. I figured the consequences for the actions they did perform, all spoke for themselves.

So it’s 6pm, and their father was going to be arriving any moment to pick them up for his weekend with them. Or so they thought 🙂 This is when I tell them that it just isn’t possible for them to leave the house – until every single room, and person, is back to the way it was, before this experiment started.

You’ve never seen 3 teenage boys scramble so fast….lol

This included washing/drying/putting away all dishes, cleaning up every single room, vacuuming the entire house, washing bathrooms, finally cleaning the kitty litter box, emptying all overflowing garbage AND taking showers.

They clearly had their work cut out for them! Yet, off they went.

My ex-husband of course arrives during the scramble and fully supports my demands. He parks himself on my couch to watch it all, with quite the smirk on his face. I can’t help but give him a doo-doo lecture for his crappy dish washing job. I am sure he was sitting there thinking “…and there’s yet another reason we are divorced!”

It takes them a little over 90 minutes to complete everything. For the sake of my sanity, I washed the dishes to ensure they were actually clean. It probably cut down at least an hour of fighting too. (Are my kids the only ones who constantly pull names out of a hat for chores and then fight over who pulled their piece of paper out wrong??)

We then sat down, with their father, to discuss everything that happened this week, and what they “learned” from it. This is when reality finally set it…

They were all grounded… No xBox and no computer time (except for school work) until further notice.

They were pissed! After all, they had just spent 90 minutes cleaning the house and figured this was all they had to do in order to escape the week unscathed. They wanted to know why they were grounded.

I repeated the  mantra of the week – “Do whatever you want, but be prepared to accept the consequences“. (I truly lost count of how many times I said that throughout the week.)

I then let them know that they were not being grounded for what they did do that was “out of norm”. Those penalties spoke for themselves already. Brendan had received a zero on a test because he didn’t study or ask for help. Alex could barely keep his eyes open due to staying up late every night and had almost no Christmas money left. Ryan had already lost his laptop the previous day for activity not allowed in this house, and Brie could no longer find her favorite Christmas puppies due to the never ending mess in the family room. They punished themselves for the things they did this week. I didn’t need to add to it.

I was punishing them for what they didn’t do.

This was to make them understand that it IS possible to have fun AND still do what is required of you.

It was possible for them to stay up late, play the xBox longer than normally allowed, eat snacks throughout the week and spend as much money as they had…. AND still complete the very few chores they have in this house.

Heck, it could have been a really fun week, that would have been repeated as a reward, had the chores been done. Just because it was “do whatever you want week”, didn’t mean that those chores suddenly disappeared…

They finally got it…. “Do you mean if we did the kitty litter and dishes we would not have been grounded for anything?”, I was asked.

Yes!! That is exactly what I mean. (And the garbage too of course…lol)

Finally understanding the whole experiment, and its results, they all head off to leave with their dad. But, I had one more trick up my (err his) sleeve for Alex… As he picked his jacket up from the hallway floor, and attempted to put it on, his arm found the egg carton I had placed in there earlier that evening. The conversation went something along the lines of this:

Alex: What the heck is an EGG CARTON DOING IN MY JACKET!! How did this get here?

Mom: Oh yes! I forgot about that. I thought you wanted to save it.

Alex: Why? I don’t need it. Why did you put it in my sleeve? (By now, his father is killing himself laughing….)

Mom: Hmmm.. I thought you wanted it. So I put it in a safe spot so you’d remember it. I know you like eggs.

Alex: But it’s empty Mom!

Mom: Yes, I realize that. I wouldn’t be silly enough to put actual eggs into your jacket, now would I?

Alex: No, I don’t think so…. (I can see his brain gears grinding now, as it starts to sink in…)

Mom: So if you don’t want the carton and didn’t need to save it for something, where should I have put it?

Alex: It goes into the bluebox Mom, duh!

Mom: Oh really? Is that where empty things go? How strange! I thought that since the jacket was lost and the empty carton was lost, they could be lost together and hopefully someone….

He cuts me off with a sheepish look and an “OIE!”, as he runs off to the recycle box.

We all had a good laugh 🙂 It was super funny seeing him pull that carton out of his sleeve.

Overall the week was a success! We did have fun and quite a few laughs through it all. And despite the general chaos, it was quite a relaxing week.

I really did hate to ground them in the end, but I truly think they understand why. At least I hope they do! With any luck, this is something we can experiment with again – hopefully with much more positive results!

P.S... No persons, places or things were harmed during this experiment – except of course my feet and 1 dinner plate. Oh yes, and a matchbox firetruck!

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