My darling kiddos, I’ve been saying this to you forever and nine times out of ten you completely ignore me, but here we go again: make your bed. Please, just go and make your bed right now.
It seems like such a simple thing. The kind of thing that makes your brain go lah-lah-lah while I’m talking to you. But I promise you, it’s not.
Here’s why you need to make your bed: it matters a great deal.
A soft landing
Even if the whole rest of the day sucks, at least you’ve got a crisp, fresh bed to jump into that night. There will be many, many nights in your life when you are grateful for that.
The thing is, in the morning we don’t necessarily know how a day is going to go (although sometimes we know all too well). Which is why you need to make your bed every single day — just in case today is a day when you need a soft landing. I guarantee that the days when you don’t make your bed will be the days you really wish you had.
You might not understand this until you’re buying things of your own, but everything you own is precious. Each item took someone — in fact, many someones — knowledge, time and energy to allow you to own it. I truly believe that if you can develop a deep respect for that, you’ll live a good life.
What better way to demonstrate your respect for the things you own than the act of making your bed. It’s the spot you spend a third of your life in, so taking care of it makes sense.
Life’s steady thrum
Which brings me to the next reason why bed making is fundamentally important in life: it’s the bass to your life. The older you grow, the busier your days will become. Some days will feel like utter chaos. A loud noise of needs, wants, should haves and have tos; pulling at you, shouting at you, pushing you around. While life swirls around you, making your bed every day forms a steadying thump, thump, thump beneath it all.
Even if you took away all the other benefits, this steadiness is enough.
Other things in life play the bass too. You make your bed, you brush your teeth, you run a comb through your hair. Wash the clothes, fold the clothes, put the clothes away. Instead of fighting this everyday beat, let it run through you. Thump, thump, thump.
One last very important thing about bed making before I go. It’s the bedrock of conscientiousness. (And yes, your mother did just make a cringeworthy pun, sorry kids.) Taking time to smooth the sheets, plump the pillows and unruffle the doona is a visible reminder every day that the little things matter. Oh, how they matter.
Conscientiousness is the trait that means you step up. For others, but also for yourself. It’s honesty and responsibility wrapped up in paying attention to the details. Conscientiousness is taking care of the small things so the big things have room to grow.
Taking time each morning to make your bed trains conscientiousness. It shows you how to take pleasure in completing small tasks well. Learning that doing the ‘right thing’ makes you feel good is an important step along the path to a happy life.
And so, my dear children, here endeth today’s lesson. It’s a big one, disguised as a little one; as important things so often are. Next time I’m ‘urging’ you (nagging, what’s nagging!?) to make your bed, perhaps you’ll be less dismissive?
Love always and forever, Mum x
My eldest turning 17 made me feel like all of a sudden I was ‘running out of time’ to parent my kids into adulthood. What did they still need to know? What hadn’t I taught them yet? It was a moot point, of course. Teenagers would rather die than listen to their mother… but maybe, possibly, hopefully, one day. And so, ‘Dear Children‘ was born.