The Same Thing Happens Every Week

Bill Cosby is a genius. If you've never seen his concert film Bill Cosby: Himself, rent it, nay, BUY IT. You'll not only laugh harder than you knew you could, you'll realize that so very little has changed in the parenting world - at least in the essentials - since it was recorded in 1983.

There are so many things I love about it, but I particularly identify with the segment he calls "The Same Thing Happens Every Night."

In my case, the same thing happens every week. I know what day it is without looking at the calendar by the state of my house and the arguments coming from the basement where my 10- and 7-year-old sons have taken over.

Here's a basic recap:


Absolute quiet. The boys are playing well together. While I appreciate the quiet, I am absolutely positive they're making a mess. By the afternoon I usually have a reason to visit the basement where I find 56 gallons of Legos poured out on the floor. (They have a 56-gallon bin where the Legos are kept and it's so full the lid resists staying closed.) I find the toy box has been completely unloaded. I find every character from both Cars movies in what can only be described as an NHTSA nightmare.

The children PROMISE they'll put it all back before bed. Yeah, right.


Absolute noise. The boys are fighting over who gets to play video games on the "big TV." The Xbox and the PS3 are both connected to the same television and no amount of negotiation will end in these two small people rationing time or playing together. I ground them from everything with a battery or a plug as I point out that their argument is moot because they did NOT clean up their messes from the day before.

Every eight minutes following, one of them stops to tell me that the other one isn't cleaning or I hear yelling and screaming through the air vents.


Absolute mess. Not only did they not get anything put away the day before, they managed to make it worse. Grounding from everything with a battery or a plug continues, which actually punishes me just as much as it punishes them. They're instructed to get it all cleaned up by dinner time or else.

After dinner, we inspect the basement to discover they have cleaned up the main areas by moving everything into their rooms, which are now a mess.


Absolute repeat. Thursday is a repeat of a different location. Rather than being responsible for the main areas in the basement, they're responsible for their respective spaces. Even though they both piled the junk in both bedrooms without carefully putting things where they belong, they're directed to each clean their own bedroom because they don't clean well together (or apart, for that matter).

Every eight minutes following, one of them stops to tell me that the other one isn't cleaning or I hear yelling and screaming through the air vents.


Absolute UGH. The kids have until the end of the day to make the basement something that won't warrant a visit from the health department. If they fail to comply, we will make sure the weekend is the opposite of fun.

Somehow, during the last 20 minutes of the day, they accomplish what they could not over a four-day period.

Two-thirds of the summer vacation down, they have spent more time grounded because they cannot do one simple thing: pick up after themselves.

And to all those moms who want to tell me to make sure they pick up their toys before bed each night, forget it. They are capable of cleaning the entire house in record time if I stand over them, tell them what to pick up and where to put it, but that's not the point. They need to be able to do it themselves.

While a lot of this is an obvious exaggeration, the fundamentals are quite accurate and yes, we go through this every single week.

About the Author...
Karie Bradley
Karie Bradley is the Content Director for MomsEveryday. She lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband Ben and their two sons Dylan and Logan.

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