How do you know when to quit complaining and put up with the terribleness of life? We shouldn’t torture ourselves, but maybe some things should be endured.

I am never sure if my son should have to clean his room on a day when he’s practiced four hours of cello and three hours of piano. I want to just clean up the room for him. It’s so easy for me, and the music seems so hard.

But for him, the music is a pleasure. Maybe. Practicing for everyone is really hard. But he chose it. And he did not choose to have a clean room. That is my choice, so I clean the room.

I know. It’s not ideal. At best I’m teaching him that he needs to marry someone who cleans rooms. At worst I’m training him to be an entitled brat who thinks the world revolves around him.

I compensate in other situations. We have family visiting from out of town, and we live three blocks from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Everyone who visits asks to go there.

My son said he was sick of the museum and he’s not going.

I told him he was going because family is important, and you do stuff to be with family even if it’s not what you want to do.

He told me he does stuff that he doesn’t want to do all the time.

I know that sentence is the lead-up to him telling me how hard it is to practice seven hours a day. And if he says that then I’ll lose my resolve. So I cut him off: “I don’t want to hear anything from you. You’re going.”

We followed the guests through the rooms of the museum they wanted to see most. My older son looked at the paintings (God bless AP Art History), I took pictures for my blog, and my younger son snapped and clapped and grunted, with restraint, to find the acoustically perfect spot in each room.

Which I take as proof that he’s happy doing music stuff all day long, and I shouldn’t feel bad making him clean his room.