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‘If It’s Empty, Fill It’… and 10 Other Rules for Living Companionably with Teenagers, Kids and the Generally Clueless

I created this slide show a while ago, after a particularly interesting challenging irritatingly irritating few days when I felt like I was the only one in my household who recognized stuff that needed doing. And the only one who subsequently did it. Can you relate? I’m sorry.

Some mothers yell. Some mothers threaten. But I’m the kind of mother who gets out her iPhone and documents the crime. Then creates content from it.

Which is more effective? You decide. But know this: If I was a yeller, maybe the neighbors would hear me — so, a handful of people, tops. But this slide show has 3,307 views on Slideshare. So in terms of reach, we have a winner. In terms of targeting the message? Well, he’s at college.

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15 Responses to ‘If It’s Empty, Fill It’… and 10 Other Rules for Living Companionably with Teenagers, Kids and the Generally Clueless

  1. Christopher Carfi says:

    I’ve found that relocating the left-around-the-house dirty dishes into the bed of the offending offspring gets the point across pretty effectively, resulting in said offspring then taking said dirty dishes and putting them in the dishwasher.

  2. Kathy Miranda says:

    So it’s not just my house?? LOL! Great!

  3. Ann Handley says:

    Thanks, @Tema @kathy…. sorry you can relate! 🙂

    @chris: Must try something like that… !

  4. Jeanine Delay says:

    Wonderful! Think I’ll put this slideshow on a loop on one of my computers! Just the title of this post, with the “generally clueless” reference made me want to shout, “Yes!”

  5. Kristin Zima says:

    You just documented my life with a 15 & 12YO. (boy and girl…gender has NO bearing on disgustingness) The pretzel wrapper between the couch cushions photo made me laugh out loud. I take the passive-aggressive approach–I take the wrapper, the wet towels and throw them IN their beds. Yeah, it’s icky, but it used to get the message across. Apparently, they don’t mind wet crumby beds….

    Completely sharing this and letting it loop too. Brilliant.

  6. I will be printing out this presentation, emailing it and sharing it with every parent I know! This made me laugh so hard, especially the “Really?” slide of the wrapper in the sofa.

  7. paige cox says:

    looking forward to reading this–

  8. Tim Washer says:

    “If it spills, consider applying something absorbent” is my favorite. And slide 3 and 11 are also my favorite.

  9. I always love your writing, Ann, but in this case I think you may be overreacting just a tad.

    In the first photo, the fuel gauge clearly has just reached the border of the red zone. If you count the little tick marks, there’s about an eighth of a tank left. Even if it’s a small car, you probably have more than a gallon of fuel.

    Just keep an eye on it… oh look! A squirrel!

  10. This is excellent – I’ve already sent it to half a dozen friends. You know, when my daughter was just a toddler, I remember watching other kids at the playground and thinking “wow, they’re all exactly alike!” Now she’s a high school senior and looking at your slideshow I feel the same way again!

  11. Tricia White says:

    After having everyone home for the holidays, this was so appropriate. I wish I could have hung it at the front door. (Especially the toilet paper slide!)

    Kind of funny, I sent my son back to Philly with an “Incredibles” Christmas ornament and laughed about loving that movie.

    Thanks for re-capping my weekend, and making me laugh. You’re incredible!

  12. Kumar Gauraw says:

    Oh wow! I couldn’t stop smiling going through this slide show.
    I landed here through your Twitter page and really enjoyed watching this.
    I will visit again.

    Thank you!


  13. Thanks, Ann! Will be printing a copy of this for my family.


  14. Alex D says:

    As someone who has been both the student and the teacher in many of these situations, I can relate to nearly all of them, especially slide #9. Very funny!

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