Why It's Okay That My Kids Don't Make Their Beds (And I Don't Either)

by Laurie Ulster
Originally Published: 

“The state of your bed is the state of your head,” is quoted in this article about why making your bed will make you happier and more productive. So my head is a little rumpled, and not particularly orderly. I’m okay with that.

I don’t have my kids make their beds, either, even though it would be remarkably easy for them to do so. We all use duvets, so there’s no tucking of sheets, no folding back at the top, no careful layering of sheet and blanket. Still, you have to budget out your time and pick your battles, and this one has never been a priority.

Here are the reasons they give for why making your bed brings happiness, and then my rebuttal.

1. It’s manageable.

They say: You should do it JUST because it’s so easy, and you can use that time spent on the task to create your mental to-do list for the day.

I say: Meh. I need a better reason, and I scoff at such low-hanging fruit. And while I use my shower time to go through my to-do list, my kids rarely think more than five minutes into the future anyway, so they don’t have to-do lists.

2. It gives you an accomplished feeling first thing in the morning.

They say: This quote from a Naval Admiral: “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.”

I say: I accomplish a LOT in the morning. Before anyone else in my house is up, I’ve already showered, dressed, emptied the dishwasher, made the coffee and fed the cat. That can make me pretty smug! As for the kids, they accomplish getting their butts downstairs after the third time I call them down for breakfast, which they feel pretty good about.

3. It helps with the clutter and visual appeal of your room.

They say: Your room is your sanctuary, and looking at clutter increases stress. They provide numerous quotes from experts to back this up.

I say: The rooms that I spend time in when I’m not asleep are the rooms that can add stress. The kitchen, the living room, my office…I focus my decluttering efforts on rooms we live in during the day. And still, the kids don’t really understand why I want them to pick up their stuff, until it’s done and the living room looks like a nice place to hang out. It’s a much more rewarding lesson.

4. It increases productivity and happiness.

They say: Statistics prove it. Seventy-one percent of the bed-makers in their survey described themselves as happy, while 62 percent of the non-bed makers say they are unhappy. People who don’t make their beds don’t like their jobs, avoid the gym and are generally tired.

I say: I think I’m in the 38 percent. I like my job, and I’d be a lot more tired if I wasted time making my bed! My kids are happy too, happier than they’d be if I added another task, plus nagging them to do it, to their busy mornings.

5. It prepares you for things you don’t want to do.

They say: It’s good practice for other things you don’t want to do.

I say: Pshaw! We have enough things we don’t want to do already. My kids don’t want to brush their teeth, or put their dishes away when they’re done, or even wear socks. I think that’s plenty. I can’t get behind practicing for things we don’t like. I don’t like dentist needles, but I don’t practice painful things just to prep. No thanks.

6. It’s a gateway to other good habits.

They say: It’s a “keystone” habit, something that spills over into other good habits. Then they add that everyone’s keystone habits are different, and making your bed only counts if you actually like doing it.

I say: No one in my house actually likes doing it. And isn’t all that gateway stuff exaggerated anyway?

Fortunately, they wrap up the article by adding that there are some benefits to not making the bed at all, like warding off dust mites. Yes! That’s what we’re doing, as a family, keeping dust mites away!

Honestly? There are many, many things we know we could improve on, that we work on, to make our house nicer and our habits better and our lives happier. And if something small like this can go by the wayside and create a little harmony? I say let it slide.

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