Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pride of Ownership

Let me first start off by saying I HAVE MISSED YOU!  Oh my gosh I didn't expect to feel a sense of withdrawal! Ha hah!!  After writing this blog daily for ninety-four days, I really felt like I needed to step back and sit quiet because no words were coming to mind to share. I felt like I hit a writer’s block.  (Does that mean I'm a writer???!!!)
Well, I can tell you that I have felt the loss of our daily connection (even though it's only been a couple of days!).  I enjoy our time together and I love hearing from you.  We have a special bond; I realize that and appreciate it so much.  I won't say I'll write daily again, I won't, but please know I miss you and our interaction!

It's time for me to start blabbing again. I had a thought earlier today that I felt compelled to share. Something I had forgotten I was in the middle of with Chris when he passed; Pride of Ownership.
I know many of you don't know me personally, don't know my family or our lifestyle.  You'll just need to believe me when I tell you that we're a middle class, working family, probably like most all of you.  Our house is unpretentious, we drive basic cars, shop for bargains and take a yearly vacation that we wonder how we'll pay for.  We're your everyday household.  I tell you this because it's important to the story.

I was cleaning the shower today and it dawned on me that I hadn't completed a "life lesson" I was working on with Chris.  That bothered me.  I hadn't thought about it since he passed,   I was trying to teach him to take pride in his work, not to cut corners and race through his chores but to actually see what he was doing, pay attention to the details and be proud of his accomplishments.

I know he was proud of the work he did in school and also on the football field but I was pushing him to do this at home with the same gusto.  I don't think he saw taking care of the house and his car in the same light as school.
So, I was taking a shower and cleaning it at the same time.  I have done it that way for years because I figured if I was already soaking wet I wouldn't break my back from the outside leaning over.  I wouldn't have to worry about getting my sleeves wet, accidentally turning the shower on over my dry hair and essentially not doing a very good job in the hard to reach places.  Plus how could I clean the glass doors from standing on the outside?  Tried it; what a pain to do one and then slide it behind the other to clean the second one.  (Am I saying that right?  I don't know if I'm painting this visual correctly.)  Long story short, I wash me, shut the water off, spray the entire interior of the shower down, use a wet washcloth to clean it all, turn the water back on and rinse everything down.  OK, that should do it, picture painted I hope!
(Side note - Scrubbing Bubbles is by far the best shower cleaner ever!)

So, you're still wondering what the heck is my story I'm sure.  I'm getting there I promise!  Well, I'm in the shower cleaning it today and it dawns on me that I never fully got to teach Chris that doing a good and thorough job creates a sense of pride.  See, I think I have the whole shower cleaning thing mastered.  I kill two birds with one stone.  I clean me as well as every inch of that shower.  I do it thoroughly and in minimum time.  I feel as though I get the award for that one because it took me a while to figure that one out after several backaches and missed spots.
I was working on this pride issue with Chris over the summer.  For example, his method of mowing the lawn stunk.  He didn't pay any attention to the details.  He would mow and send all the clippings onto the driveway.  Or he'd weed whack and never rake the debris out of the flower beds.  He didn't pay attention to his work. What he needed to learn was that he created himself more mess and spent tons of extra time when he didn't need to.  He wasn't paying attention to the details, sizing up the situation and attacking it with maximum results in minimum time.  He didn't plan it out like he did with a test or a football play.  I wanted him to use those skills in everything he did.  I don't feel I completed the lesson when I was teaching him that.  I found it frustrating today.  I needed more time with him!

Yes, I know that mowing the lawn was not a big deal to Chris.  He just wanted it done because he knew if he didn't it meant he couldn't get to Bailey's or his buddies as quickly as he wanted and that he was going to get a ration of crap when he got home.  I'd go through the same words you probably use on your children "There's no maid service here", "Who do you think is going to clean this place?”, etc.  My goal was just to get him to realize he should do quality work and be proud of it.
His car was another thing I couldn't understand.  Why wasn't he out there every weekend washing and waxing it in the driveway????  I did when I got my first car.  You might have too.  Chris never hand washed his car.  I know he was proud of it; it gave him freedom to move about.  He bought it and paid his insurance so I know it was meaningful to him.  I guess I just assumed he'd spend all his free time vacuuming it and scrubbing the white wall tires like me and all my friends used to do.  We didn't go to the car wash.  I believe he had pride of ownership in "big blue" although I know he would have preferred something newer had he been offered it.  We felt it was his obligation to pay for it since he wanted the mobility.  I'm sure he was envious of other people’s nicer vehicles but there was a valuable lesson for him to understand the expense of things and how to spend his paycheck.  He knew there was no way we were going into a financial hole so he could drive fancy vehicle.
I used to do a lot of things around the house myself because I knew I could do them faster and better than the kids.  Then it occurred to me that I wasn't helping them in the long run. If I just do it all because it gets done faster than what have they learned?  Nothing!  And I end up frustrated that I have to do it all!  That's a nasty cycle.  So, the thing I realized and was trying to teach Chris was HOW to do some of the ordinary household tasks in a quality manner so he could assist and take some ownership in it.  It didn't really matter if they were done to my standards.  Do the dishes  have to be put in the dishwasher a certain way or the laundry folded just so?  Who cares?  It's more important that the kids participate.  Eventually they can learn to do a more thorough job but initially they just need to learn the basics and build off that.

So, that's my story for today.  It's the one that came to mind and I wanted to share.  I hope it made sense and that you're glad I wrote. :-)  Go buy some Scrubbing Bubbles and clean your shower or better yet show the kids how to do it!

Thank you for reading.


  1. Regina, I missed you! And you are right, Scrubbing Bubbles is the best! While I agree, you didn't have enough time with Chris, you were a wonderful mother! Chris may not have paid attention to the details of mowing the lawn or cleaning but he certainly paid attention to the details of being a warm, loving, personable young man who touched the hearts of many during his short time here! He truly made a difference in so many people's lives. He was a master at the most important lesson in life...he loved it and lived it to the fullest and touched many people along the way. Kudos to you!

  2. Regina, just wanted you to know I missed you too. I may not have made a comment with every post but I did read them all. I would read them with a cup of coffee everyday. I thank you for that. I was excited to read your post this morning. One of the things I have tried to instill in my daughter is a great work ethic, and I don't just mean a a 9-5 job, I mean in washing clothes, washing dishes, cleaning the bathroom, anything and everything. I try and tell and show her how great it feels when you do a good job in either cleaning or grades or sports. I have always told her when she cleans her room clean it mommy way not Gabby way. (Gabby way is shoving clothes in drawers, closest or under bed..hehehe) and when she washes dishes or uses dishwasher part of doing that is cleaning kitchen, the sink, counter tops. I know it has sunk in with my oldest one who is married because when she comes to visit, she does all those things. So I know even if I sound like a broken record I know it will sink in. Thank you for reminding me of all the little lessons I have taught and still teaching both my daughters ! I hope you have a great day. Thanks again for sharing.


  3. Thank you for taking the time to share with us. It was great to have you part of my morning routine again. Your blot is the perfect way to start your day.

  4. LOL! I've been doing the clean the shower while taking a shower routine for years! It works great!

  5. Regina-
    Welcome back! I have missed you too! It was such a pleasant surprise to see the post come up. I clean my shower when I am in it too. It's a tip I got from flylady.net years ago. Although I don't turn the shower off. Wasteful, I know, but aren't you freezing!?! This is such a great topic and I'm working on it with my own kids but I probably needed the reminder today to push the issue just a teeny bit more. Let me just answer your question, as I am sure many others will too- Yes, you ARE a writer. It's another piece of this unexpected turn your life has taken, and goes along with that whole thing of when one door closes, God opens another. You have a lot to say, perhaps not on a daily set schedule, but there are so many people who want to read it when it comes. I'm guessing you will get a lot of responses today! Take "Pride of Ownership" of this new gift you've discovered and developed. And I hope you can take a moment to enjoy this beautiful white blanket we got today. Maybe go out and make a final snow angel of the season, and send it up to Chris. Thank you for sharing. -Anne

  6. Oh so good to hear from you again Regina. Writers block is a little frustrating, and walking "away" from it for a bit is helpful. I think you proved that, your blog today was a sight for sore eyes (literally because my eyes hurt so much from the fever I had the last two days!) Of course you are a writer! It's amazing the clarity sometimes and then the blank stare at the screen when you want to write, but obviously can't force it.

    You were missed on my end as well. I did get a smirk on my face when you described cleaning the shower when taking a shower. I've been known to do that as well. Scrubbing Bubbles is a staple in our bathroom. I love it when the shower doors sparkle and we can step into a crisp white shower. Nothing better than that. Upkeep is easier from the inside too, I totally agree. The bathroom floor, sink and toilet are another story. I think I'm the only one in my house that desires those surfaces be clean all the time! I've gone on strike before to see how long it would be before anyone decided to "lift a sponge"... Don't ask!

    I have been known to be the doer in our house because no one else does the cleaning thoroughly and it is easier to just do it myself, but the busier the days get (and shorter it seems) it's hard to fit it all in. My son finally does the dishes, has been doing his own laundry, but with that comes some frustrations because if there is laundry in the dryer, depending on his schedule he dumps the dry laundry on our bed so he can do his. He says it's because he was "in a rush" but don't you have to let the wash cycle run before you can put it in the dryer? He's getting there... Getting him to realize emptying the dishwasher has been a huge help. He almost does it daily now. Doing the same with Ally, but she's normally running with me, but I have gotten her in the habit of putting the stuff in there! And most importantly, I swallow my pride and thank him every day! I want and need him to know I appreciate the help.

    They are getting there, but it's my fault it has taken this long. I just used to do it all because I wanted it done my way. (I got that from my mother) She corrects me to this day for not putting the dishes in her dishwasher right. Now I'm learning to ask for help and when they help, I don't "my way it up!" I leave it the way they do it! Our house is so busy with 4 people going 4 different ways all at different times so pitching in is really necessary! I never really looked at it as lesson building though. I seem to just roll with what comes in front of me and do what needs to be done without thinking about it. I have friends and family that have set days to mow; to clean; do laundry; vacuum, etc... I do it when I can fit it in and the schedules of the other ones in the family don't always match my available time. It's probably why I'm late getting places because I squeeze stuff in at the worst times! Getting the family to acknowledge a full sink; a dirty sink; a rug that could be vacuumed will be my new goal to set. A lesson of my own. They have the "outside the house" social graces and respect down pat.

    Good to have a chance to respond to you again, and I look forward to that time in the future. I'm home sick for day number 2 this week and while I should go pick up my house because your blog today made me realize it needs to be done, I will hopefully fall back asleep and wake up a little stronger and tackle something...

    God bless...

    1. Hope you feel better soon!

    2. Thanks Hanna and Ann. It's been a rough 3 days... this too shall pass.

      Regina, I was bleary eye'd when I wrote this morning and I just noticed the picture of your bathroom (if that is your bathroom?) It is tiny like mine and I saw the shelf above the toilet. That's a great idea! I'm going to have to try it. With such a tiny bathroom, I need all the shelf space I can get...

      I'll let you know how it works out!

    3. Feel better Justine. I was out of work 2 days last week. Migraine and stomach bug. Finally started feeling human by Friday.

  7. Mrs. Stewart,
    HEY! I've been checking the blog each and every morning since you stopped posting and I smiled so large when I saw another post. I understand it still won't be everyday, but still this is nice. I agree with Anne. You do have a gift as a writer and you should take some pride and ownership with that.

    Now, about the lesson thing. I feel like my parents (and most adults for that matter) underestimate how much we learn without them having to actually teach us. I don't think there's ever been a moment in my life where my mom has said to me, "This is a lesson!" yet, I remember so much of what she's taught me. Don't underestimate how much you taught Chris without knowing. I'm sure that, while we all wish you could have had more time, you did exactly how much you could have with the time given. No stress.

    We love you, Mrs. Stewart! Keep smiling.

    Love, Hannah

  8. Regina,

    I missed your blog yesterday! I love this story. It reminds me a lot of me. I also clean the shower when I am in there. It is so much easier! I am trying to teach my son to slow down . It must be something with boys. He rushes through everything to get to the next thing. I struggle with just cleaning up, etc myself because he just doesn't do it like I do. The same goes for my husband lol. My parents taught us to take care of our things and clean up after ourselves. I find this to be a very difficult task in my house. Some night I don't sit down till 9:00 pm after working all day just because of all the things that need to be in the house. Thank you for sharing your story. I am going to try scrubbing bubbles for the shower :)


  9. Regina,

    woooohoooohooooo!!!! That is the excitement I felt when I saw your post today!!! My heart got all happy and my face broke into a huge smile. It was a pleasant surprise! I missed you too even though it has been only 2 days!

    I too am guilty of cleaning my shower while showering...I mean come on really is there another way? It is all about efficiency, and time saving!

    I do it a little differently though...Love scrubbing bubbles by the way I have tried others, but nothing cuts it like the Bubbles!(wide spray coverage is the best! Hey we should be getting endorsements from SC Johnson for the scholarship for all this advertising!!!) I actually spray the night before and when I get in the shower in the morning everything just melts away once the water hits it. Then I shower afterwards!!!

    Pride of ownership, I don't think it is taught, I think it is learned through observation. Chris's work ethic and dedication to football and school shows that he had definitely observed yours and Mike’s desire to show pride in your work. He had a character personality who would give his best no matter what!!!! You did a great job of showing him the importance of showing pride in his work. We have grown to learn that through your blog…we have seen it in his caring nature, his work on the football field and in schoolwork. You did a fantastic job!!! He learned to be such a hard worker because you showed him through your dedication to detail and didn't just tell him, You were his perfect model!!!

    So glad to have you back!!! I look forward to your post whenever you feel compelled to write...

    You ARE a writer by the way. No ???!! about it!!! ;)

    God Bless, XO

    PS I am am just getting ready to post this and I have the TV on in my office in the background to watch the weather and Channel 13 the TODAY show is on and what they are talking about right this minute..."The proper way to load a dishwasher!!!!" hahahahaha how funny!

  10. Regina - I missed you too! My face gained a big smile when I saw your blog this morning! Thank you for writing today and can't wait for the next one! Also, I am the same age as you and thanks for the new idea on how to the shower as I have not figured that out yet!

    Also, thank you for the idea to start teaching my 10 year old son now about pride in his work. He does it with hockey but not with school or his current (minimal chores) around the house.

  11. I clean my shower the same way!
    So glad to see the post.
    Prayers Always!

  12. Regina,
    I am so glad you wrote this today...As a mother of 4 children under 9, I often do the cleaning and organizing type chores myself because it is in fact, "better and faster" resultwise..(is that a word?) anyhow, I found my 4 year-old, Claire, asking me if she could spray and wipe the table after dinner last night. (This usually involves a half a roll of paper towels and a bottle of spray when she tries..haha) so I said, "Honey, just let mommy do it real quick." It took your post today to wake me up. I'm not doing anyone any favors. Not myself, because the kids aren't learning to do things for themselves, and not the kids because they aren't getting the opportunity to improve how well they do these seemingly basic tasks. I think I always kind of had that little voice in the back of my mind telling me to let them try, but the hurried moom voice in me over powered that. I want to sincerely thank you for opening my eyes!
    Keep smiling and god bless you and your beautiful family!
    Elissa :)

  13. Hi Regina!

    I missed you! I'm sure everyone did. It was nice hearing from you today. I use Scrubbing Bubbles too, although I am still getting backaches.I'll have to try cleaning my shower your way. I really appreciated what you wrote today. I think I need to teach my son the value of his work too. One of his chores is to load and unload the dishwasher. Every time he loads it I have to go back in and rearrange the dishes. It does get a little frustrating.

    You're always in my thoughts and prayers.

    Hugs, Ann

  14. Regina,

    I have been like a kid waiting for a letter to arrive in the mail, checking daily to see if just maybe today might be the day you decided to write! I have missed you too! And the regular responders!! You're just what the doctor ordered after the adventure I had with my Jeffrey today! You put a big smile on my face! I completely understand where you were going with Chris on the pride of ownership. I can hear myself saying to my kids "you need to take pride in your work" as we went over and over the ways to do things correctly and more efficiently...lol. I also understand letting go and letting them do the chores even if they are not up to my standards. At times dishes do go through the cycle two or three times in order to be cleaned! Plus when you have a busy family of six, everyone needs to pitch in. I know it's much harder getting them to buy in at home than at school or sports!!

    Thanks for sharing today! Oh and it may only be my opinion, but I think you're an EXCELLENT WRITER!!!

    hugs and peace

  15. Regina,
    I missed you too!!! I was so excited to see that you posted today. It's put a big smile on my face. I know what you mean when you say that doing things ourselves getting done faster. I am going to be moving in the near future and that will definitely be a change in the new place. Mom will not be the maid and we will take pride in everything we do. I am being a little easier on the kids because of the stress of moving because we do not have a choice. There will be plenty to do with packing up a house after being in it for 18 years. Lots and lots to go through. I will also have to try the shower trick because I also hate getting wet or hurting my back. I also have an awesome product to use. Lysol toilet cleaner. It has a black label. I had some very bad rust stains in one toilet and nothing else worked. I used the Lysol and in about 5 minutes the stains were gone. Glad to hear from you. Hope to hear from you again soon. Hugs and God bless.

  16. Ahhhh my. A few gifts today...
    - The first... checking tweets in my hotel room in Philly... OMG - she wrote! Like a kid at Christmas I devoured your presence in every word.
    - Gift number 2... impromptu lunch with a friend while on a business trip... the best kind of friend that knows and accepts you as you are, and we feed each other with deep wisdom and love.
    - Gift number 3... Came home to a (somewhat sick) family - lots of germs in the house right now... BUT... My hubby says "Hey did you see??? She wrote!" Yup I saw. "And guess what else honey... I cleaned the bathroom, and used "Scrubbing Bubbles" :) :)
    - Gift number 4... Right now... my son, home for Spring Break... is gently playing the piano... while I sit here and have an impromptu chat with a friend... the best kind of friend... the kind who knows who she is... finds the grace in life, even in the most difficult and trying times. And is willing to lean into life... with courage, humility, vulnerability and truth.

    Sending you lots of love today Regina. It must be nice to know that there are no "shoulds" but that we will be here, not so much "waiting" as just "holding the space lovingly".


  17. I think alot of people missed your writing, I know I did..

    Funny thing is I used to do the same thing.. Clean the shower while I was in it.. saves time.. I also clean as I go in the kitchen..

    Teaching our children to take pride in their work is a great gift to give them. When each of my kids turned 13 they received the gift or laundry detergent.. and a lesson on how to wash their own clothes.. I worked full time and I swear my girls wore 3 outfits every day or they were taking in laundry for their friends.. so let them do their own laundry and maybe they won't be so fast to wear 3 outfits a day.. At the time they thought it was horrible.. but they did it.. and when they went away to college, they told me they had to teach their roommates how to do laundry. hmmnnmm

    Same with doing things around the house.. my daughters can hang pictures and paint better than their husbands.. My son can cook too.. teaching them to be independent is the best gift you can give them..


  18. Hi Regina,

    Trying this post again.. Third time hopefully is the charm!

    Missed you as well and happy to see a post from you!
    I really love this topic and have always said.. No matter what you end up doing in life or take on.. Take pride in your work. Have a good work ethic and finish what you started.
    I believe that Chris already had learned so many important life lessons from you. He lived his life with honesty, enthusiasm and love. He had the best of foundations and the rest was coming along. Like many of us he was a work in progress. You taught him the essentials .. And in his short time here he already had made a huge impression on people and was a role model to so many and will continue to be.
    Love to hear from you..