I Can’t Decide If My Kids Are Stupid Or Lazy. Or Both.

Lately I have found myself keeping track of the ridiculous scenes I discover in my house that indicate that one of my children is either (A) REALLY STUPID or (B) REALLY LAZY and I can’t decide which I’d rather it be. All three of my children are old enough and capable enough NOT to do these things so maybe it’s just ONE of the three who is guilty, but based on my knowledge of my children and their habits? I’m leaning more towards them ALL being guilty for different variations of these situations.

  • Hand towels on the floor. Now, this is not a “fell off the bar” situation because it’s never the hand towel from the bar. They actually get a hand towel out from under the sink to do – who knows what – and then throw it on the floor. Maybe because there’s already a towel on the bar? (Why didn’t they use THAT one?)
  • Pee spot simply covered with paper towels, not actually dried. We have a VERY old dog who is having accidents more and more lately. One of the kids is finding these accidents and just folding up paper towels and gently placing it over the pee spot. Obviously to avoid “touching” the pee. But the towels are not pushed down on to the pee spot so no soaking actually occurs. Basically, they’ve just placed an indicator there for me so that I can clean it up the right way. Thanks, kid.
  • Cups in the sink. I understand that no one in the family feels like washing off a dirty plate and put it in the dishwasher. I hate it, but I understand it. But the cups? They don’t require rinsing. It takes exactly the same amount of effort to place it in the sink as it does to place it in the dishwasher. The only “extra” energy you have to excerpt is to open the dishwasher. That’s it. Evidently, that’s the limit though. That pushes them over the edge.
  • DVDs sitting on top of their cases. Really, kids? I know you’re dexterous enough to get the DVD out, put it in the players, and then remove it when you want to watch another one. It only takes one tiny little extra bit of energy to put it back in the case.
  • Dirty clothes next to the hamper. This is probably due to bad aim from throwing it across the room. But you’d think eventually they’d realize they have bad aim and just stop trying to hit it from across the room already. Some of the kid’s rooms have a trail of clothes leading from the dresser to the hamper. Like some sort of weird, invisible, Grand Prize Game from The Bozo Show or something.
  • Passing the recycling bin to put recycling by the sink in the kitchen. Now, in general, we gather recycling from the kitchen next to the sink and then I put it in the bins in the laundry room. This is for when I’m creating the waste while cooking or cleaning the kitchen. Other people create the waste upstairs, or in their rooms, and are carrying the recycling past the laundry room (where the bins are) and putting it next to the sink. Like that location is some sort of mandatory checkpoint for recycling. (And for the record – there is a certain adult in this house who is NOT ME who is just as bad about this.)
  • Garbage not quite all the way in the garbage can. Sweetie will eat anything sticking out of the garbage can. This is how she’s been for eight years. I’ve screamed about this for eight years. Yet still, people throw things away and don’t just simply push the item to make sure it’s all the way in so the can will close. Nope, ice cream wrappers hanging out. Napkins with food on them. Bags of chips. All of which ends up in little pieces all over my house.

Please tell me these things happen in your home too. Or at least variations of them.

And before you tell me, “Make them fix it!” I do. I do all the time. Which is why I’m leaning towards “stupid” more than “lazy”. They know I’m going to make them “fix” the situation at some point, yet they do it anyway. So, obviously they’re mental faculties are limited.

Or their laziness us SUCH a strong force that it impairs their cognitive reasoning. But then we’re dealing with lazy AND stupid. That’s much harder to treat.


  • Monica

    Yes, many of these happen in my house, and I know who is responsible because I only have one kid! And like you, I make him fix them, over and over and over. I end up feeling like a mean old nag. I am tired of fussing but I refuse to pick up after him or let him grow up thinking it’s a woman’s job to do that!

  • Sarah Lena


    Um, YEEEEAAAAAH. I love them, but I was unaware we upgraded to the Invisible Only to Me Model of dishwasher/hamper/stains.

  • Crystal

    It seems totally harsh at first glance, but when I think about how crazy busy everyone’s lives are in that household, to me it’s an even reaction. From what you’ve described there are things that each of the kids get involved in and they enjoy, thus contributing to the crazy busy aspect. However, the ‘problem’ is that it’s taking twice as much time for you to find the things they need to fix and bring it to their attention to fix it while you stand over them. And it adds to your irritation. So my suggestion would be to decide that if a particular child is found being lazy and you having to do double duty with your time/effort to get them to stop, then that time/effort should come back out of the time/effort you normally would have spent doing one of the things that adds to your crazy buzy life. I’m not meaning that you should go so crazy with the plan that it sucks all the fun out of their lives, but the that’s generally how the world works, if you don’t put your time/energy/effort in where you need to, the things you want to do will eventually become inaccessible. If you don’t do your school work, you can’t do extracurricular activities. If you don’t do your job as an adult eventually you lose that job, have no money and can’t play video games. So giving them that life lesson on a more black/white scale that just shows that being purposefully unhelpful is bad. It’s better to learn that now, rather than later. The consequences now are manageable, now, not likely to destroy their lives. But of course, I realize sometimes this may also take something away you wanted, or possibly that another child wanted and this is difficult to determine whether it’s worth it, but if things are out of control between the three of them in that department, it likely is still appropriate and hopefully since they actually are really smart, it won’t take long for them to get it in gear and be helpful.

    But my assumption is that there’s no difference to them whether they do it the first time or wait til you force them to do the task. So, give them a clear difference between those two options.

  • Swistle

    This post RESONATES WITH ME. I have heard my voice hit high notes over such things recently, because I’m just so INCREDULOUS that (1) they could know better and (2) they could hear me remind them repeatedly not to do it and (3) THEY COULD CONTINUE TO DO IT. AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

  • Evelynne

    Yes, that has happened in our house, and the culprit is ME, a 40-year-old woman without kids. I am naturally a slob. I have been fighting it ever since I hit adulthood. I’ve made a lot of progress, but I’m nowhere near where I’d like to be.

    Mostly I am lazy, and since nobody else is going to do the job it’s really a form of procrastination. But there’s more to it than that. Some of it is a tolerance for clutter. The best explanation I can give you is that there is usually something else, at that moment, that I would MUCH rather be doing than putting my cup in the dishwasher. (And yes, it bugs me that it takes longer to put the cup in the DW because you have to open and close the door.) The lure of the thing I would rather be doing is MUCH STRONGER, usually, than my resolution to pick up after myself. For a kid, I’d imagine there’s simply no contest. As an adult who wants to be less of a slob, I have to consciously remind myself, “You’ll feel better later if you pick this up right now.” I don’t think that kind of motivation really exists for a kid.

    When I was a kid, I did the thing with the towels too and drove my mother up the walls. The reason is that I don’t remember ever noticing or being bothered by moldy towels. That changed later. Now I hang up my towels.

    Also, my bedroom has dirty clothes near the bed. My husband and I both do it. When I’m getting ready to go to sleep I just want to take my clothes off and get in bed. I’ll put them in the hamper when it’s time to do laundry. Apparently I just don’t value a clear bedroom floor enough.

  • brenintx

    as I was reading this I was thinking yep, yep, yep…OMG she’s been to my house! Only 1 kid and a husband in my house but so much of this happens. It drives me crazy! How hard is it to just do the job right the first time? Why do I have to come back and make you do it over again?? ARGHHHHHHHHHH…thanks for letting me vent my frustration here 😉

  • Mommyattorney

    THIS!!! I almost sent an e-mail to my husband about this, because he is the culprit. Not so much the kids. And he doesn’t remotely understand why it bothers me that a)he never ever puts dishes on the sink or even in the kitchen (and forget about the DW), b) he never throws away his trash c)he never closes a cabinet door or drawer that he opens d)he NEVER puts ANYTHING in the recycling bin (those things he will actually throw away making me fish them out) e)he NEVER hangs up any clothes f) he NEVER puts his shoes in the shoe bins g) he never hangs up a coat in the closet (the back of any random chair is good enough!

    ARGHHHH!!! Maybe I should write him that e-mail since I’m clearly frustrated by it.

  • Terri S.

    Yes ALL of these things happen in my house too. I think I have a combination of both lazy AND stupid sometimes. Plus my 7 year old will walk by her hamper and throw her dirty clothes under her bed instead…….for the love of god…..WHY?!?!?!?!? It drives me insane!!!!!!!!!!!! Wouldn’t it be easier to just throw them in the clothes hamper instead of crawling under her bed (she has a loft bed) and stuffing them under it???

    • erin

      My 6yr old does the same thing! She is on the bottom bunk and will stuff clothes between her bed and the wall. Then she has the NERVE to complain she doesn’t have anything to wear. REALLY? IT’S ALL UNDER YOUR BED.

  • heidi

    The cups! The cups! They are the bane of my existence. I only have FOUR children why are there TWELVE cups scattered about the house in a mere 3 hours???

  • Mommyattorney

    So I did actually just e-mail my husband and asked him *nicely* to work on a few of these things, and he agreed. I feel much better.

  • Katie McCollum

    Let’s see.
    Cups in the sink. Check. Same here.
    Clothes on the floor by the hamper. Check. (Though since hampers are in their room and I don’t do their laundry I don’t have to see it , except when go in to say good night or talk to them, but yep, same issue.) Husbands clothes end up next to the door, no where near the hamper, so gosh darn, they don’t get washed. No make it to hamper, no washee.
    My BIGGEST pet peeve is the kitchen table!!! I keep my spot fairly clean, and I can gripe at the kids as their’s is cleaned off every few days or so…but my husband’s?? His is the worst!!! Makes me soooo mad! How can I expect the kids to keep their spot clean if dad doesn’t??? (The fact that we rarely all sit down together anymore, :-(., is beside the point.)

  • Jana Holdeman Frerichs

    Mine would have to be the empty boxes in the pantry! Go to grab a granola bar and they of course are all gone, but the box remains. Or the empty milk container BACK in the fridge. Like it was EASIER to put back in the fridge than put in the recycling, RIGHT NEXT to the fridge. The dishwasher is another of my pet peeves, and I ask them all the time to AT LEAST rinse their dishes if they are going to leave them in the sink. Oh, AND…. nobody seems to know how to put toilet paper on the actual roll except me. The husband is JUST as bad as the kid…

  • erin

    This happens all the time in my house and my kids are 8, 6, and 2. Granted, the 2yr old is still learning but he can definitely put trash in the trash can the right way and put dirty clothes away (when I ask him to do it). Today I found a chewed piece of gum stuck to the floor beside the trash can. Really? How do you NOT know that you completely missed the trash can when you threw your gum away? Is that even possible?

    Also? Toilet paper. Never gets changed in the kids’ bathroom. Unless I do it or point it out to one of the older ones. Because yes, they will use the bathroom over and over and over without wiping (GROSS!!!) rather than replacing the toilet roll.

    I did solve the dishwasher problem though. I made a little sign with magnets on the back that can be flipped to “clean” or “dirty” so my kids know whether they can put the dish in the dishwasher or in the sink. NO EXCUSES. It’s worked so far!

  • NG

    I am sooo feelin’ you on every one of these things, especially the cups in the sink. My family walks to the kitchen, stands in front of the OPEN AND EMPTY dishwasher, and puts the cups on the counter above the open and empty dishwasher. They will do this until there is literally no counter space left… and when they happens, they will walk back over to the table and put the cups on the table.

    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\ (that is a representation of my going all “Psycho” with a knife)

  • Kristi

    I am dealing with every negative from all posts. My kids are 15 down to 3yrs old. The refuse to use toilet paper. my son still wets the bed at 14 but wont bathe. They empty food boxes n leave em, throw food waste/wrappers on the floor, wet clothes in a pile in bathroom (try shutting shower curtain), dirty dishes aren’t removed from the table, toys pile high in bedrooms, have to stand over them to get teeth brushed, class work is a joke, they ask the neighbor to take out trash when I send them out, wipe boogers all over the walls, chew gobs open food falling out, scream all day if one little thing doesn’t go their way, fight constantly, and one will drink strangers garbage Mcd’s cups, throw trash in the sink, run water in clogged sink then run, and all is making me crazy. My list excludes back talk and other annoying behaviors.

  • Kristi

    My kids pee everywhere like dogs. So far my son broke at 14yrs old peeing on himself, my daughter at 9yrs old, two other 6yrs and 4yrs are still usually soaked. Food and clothes go in a pile on the floor. They don’t wipe after a poo or even try for toilet paper. If I put TP in the bathroom they get it wet, push it down the sink drain, and on the floor. Many times they poo in the bathtub. I don’t know why. They throw away dishes or leave em everywhere. When I ask them to do laundry, they wash the same load over and over. They pull food out of the kitchen like eggs, peanut butter, cereal, you name it, then dump it all over their beds. Clothes go on the bathroom floor and wet clothes go in the hamper so they can mildew. They have no rational thoughts. When I do laundry they will put it out of the dryer. When its dinner time they tear it apart eat a little and throw the rest down. My daughter puts her used sanitary napkins under the sink. I give them jobs but they will just sit on the floor screaming why me, crying. and making some kind of forrest gump noise. We have spoke about all of these things for years. I’m in phuq it mode at this point. I guess this is an update of same old sh!t different day.