When you let go of perfectionism, you teach your children responsibility.
I've only had this realisation in the past few weeks and it's been a valuable lesson for me.
For Che's six years of life I have followed him around; picking up after him, cleaning his room and laying out his clothes*. Daniel has always said that if I do it all for him, he'll never learn for himself, but there's a part of me that enjoys this element of mothering, I enjoy nurturing and creating comfort. And let's face it, it's easier and more productive to do the cleaning, sorting and organising myself.
However, there's only so much I can do and regardless of how much I clean, children will be children - their rooms are caves for them to retreat to; safe places to create, dream, read and make a really big, glorious mess. My role is to teach them responsibility for their belongings, not to put those belongings back on the shelf.
And so, while I may place folded washing on the end of the (unmade) bed, I do little else. I encourage a sense of order, I encourage him to take care of his toys and to pile up his books...the rest is up to him (his room is quite messy as a result!).
There's just no way that parents of two or three or four children can stay on top of bedrooms as well as the entire house. It's just not possible.
So: don't clean their rooms, have a cup of tea instead!
Is it motherly instinct to do everything for your children? How do you teach your children responsibility?
*But I'll never stop placing their pyjamas on their beds in the evening (wrapped around a hot water bottle in wintertime).