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Dear Mary-anne: My teen sons are household slobs

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I’ve got better things to do than pick up grown boys’ dirty socks and undies.

ADVICE: I have three sons and I’m sick of cleaning up after them. No matter how much I threaten or beg, none of the boys seem to notice their mess. How can I train them so they don’t become untidy men? I’m sick of picking up dirty socks and undies.

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Guys seem to shed their undies and old socks the way cicadas shed their skins. And like cicadas, guys seem unaware a layer is being cast-off. The trouble with socks and undies is they take far longer to break down.

I used to get upset too, about underwear strewn over bedroom and bathroom floors. (I’d like to add wet togs and towels to that tally of annoying castoffs — I couldn’t bear damp bathroom towels left lying on my sons’ beds).

Over the years I vacillated between the ‘clean it up’ or ‘shut the bedroom door’ advice from the experts. I tried to save my energy for other clashes, but I couldn’t stand the mess and I usually caved and cleaned it up myself or created a fight by insisting my sons do it.

It sounds as if the mess is driving you mad, so it’s best to devise a plan now that saves you from that slippery slope. Have your discussion and strategising at a time when you’re not ready to throttle one of your boys….

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