Mom Law vs. Kid Perception: What Constitutes A Mess?

She may not be Alan Dersowitz, but Savannah, my wannabe lawyer daughter, is equally relentless and persuasive with her arguments.

“What mess?” she’ll say when I remind her to pick up her toys.

Dare I push further I’m sucked into debate about what constitutes a “mess.”

Under “Mom Law” any misplaced object or possession can be classified as a mess. Wet towels dropped and left on the floor, hit and run; dirty dishes in bedrooms, petty theft; school bags dropped by the door, disorderly conduct. According to Savannah, though, “30 or more items” have to be misplaced for it to be even considered a possible mess.

I hear this and my thoughts leap forward 20 years and I hear my 8-year-old: “Ladies and gentleman of the jury, it’s not murder unless the victim is stabbed multiple times. Thirty, to be exact.”

Savannah has yet to use the sanity offense, though her all-time favorite is: “I’m just a kid and kids are supposed to have fun.”

My response: “And I’m just a mom. I’m suppose to yell.  Pick up your toys!  NOW!”

3 responses to “Mom Law vs. Kid Perception: What Constitutes A Mess?

  1. I find that forcing them to decide works rather well: “Well, any messy stuff left when I come back in two minutes is going in the trashcan…”


  2. I hear ‘ya. I use the “Toy Closet” method. Anything not picked up goes into the “Toy Closet” and has to “earned back.”

    I’d take credit for the idea, but read it in one of the parenting books that tries to teach you how not to yell. :))


    • Those parenting books are really useful in cutting down on yelling – I put one in my mouth and bite down hard whenever I’m in danger of yelling. 😉


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