I find idioms reassuring. It means a significantly large number of people have had the same experience in order for a phrase to become part of a language.
How do you keep on top of the trails of mess and destruction of having a large family?
As a child I developed the ability to ask 'Is there anything I can do to help?' since my mother had a chronic back problem, and not doing things wasn't really an option, for someone like me who doesn't deal well with guilt. I am glad I learnt how to clean a bathroom, wash up etc but still wish for my children to have a little bit more of a childhood. No doubt I have got them to do chores such as the above, and sometimes they quite enjoy them. But to expect them to be done to adult standard and on a regular basis seems nigh on impossible.
We have a system of 'good deeds wiping out the bad deeds' and recently developed a 'House Rules' list (Supernanny has got in there somewhere) as debates come up as to whether a 'crime' was actually committed and actually deserves the punishment (invariably deduction in pocket money). If it's written down there can be no debates. Most of the 'bad deeds' involve some form of injustice to another sibling. So for example we have the obvious no kicking, pinching etc as well as the verbal teasing etc (and later 'burping on someone' was added by consensus). So they get the chance to earn some of it back by doing chores. However it's really only if someone is saving up for a particular thing that they want to do this. I'm trying to 'train' them so that at least if they're living alone or when married inshAllah they are able to be a bit domesticated. Putting their dirty dishes in the sink is a start, a sister suggested I get them to put them in the dishwasher but as often I haven't got round to emptying it..
However I feel there lies much room for improvement. I know it must be frustrating for the bigger ones when it is not them that makes most of the mess, but also I do come across a lot of male clothes on the floor etc. Nagging them does always seem more effort than doing it myself. I try to leave notes about now and again. I just hope it never comes to me leaving one saying 'I've gone to my Mum's, sort yourselves out somehow.. .'