Kids Can Work!

My husband grew up without chores. I kid you not. His mother had some philosophy about her husband’s household (13 kids by the time they stopped) having far too many jobs, and somehow equated that with her children needing none.

My upbringing was more typical: keep your room clean, rotating dishes assignment, and more labor-intensive Saturday Jobs. Even with that; my mother did the floors, toilets, laundry, and decorating.

When I first birthed a child, I had no plans or outlines for his future chores. When he started being mobile and ‘helped’ anyway, I began formulating rough ideas.

My first assisted me with:

  1. Unloading the dishwasher
  2. Sorting and folding laundry
  3. Watering or weeding the yard outside
  4. Vacuuming
  5. Dusting
  6. Toy pick up

In practical application; that meant:

  1. Putting some plastic items away and being chased after for removing a glass dish and running
  2. Swimming through the clothes, usually without any on his person
  3. Playing with everything, especially mud, and needing a bath within five minutes
  4. Fighting over how to run a vacuum over carpet, since he did not want to follow any sort of grid
  5. Waaaay too much polish
  6. “I’m too tiiiii-iiiiired to pick up!”

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Not that I didn’t persist. After all, he always tailed me and wanted someone to do something with him all day.

What’s been interesting to me is that years and years of chore expectations and (sometimes sporadic) patterns of assigned jobs has led to them all (A) knowing chores are expected and (B) teaching the younger brothers by example.

Today, I can whip out a chore chart my FIVE YEAR OLD can do; jobs that include:

  1. Clean the bathroom (toilets, sink, counter, mirror, floor; refill soap and TP; empty garbage)
  2. Fold and put away your clothes (including hanging up dress clothes)
  3. Dust and polish the furniture (they still use enough polish to slide off the railings)
  4. Unload and load the dishwasher (a lot of spilled water, but they do it)
  5. Pick up and vacuum a room

The moral of the story? No matter how tiiii-iiiired the kids think they are, they actually are capable. No matter how reticent you feel to assign something as monumental as toilets, they can learn to do it.

Most importantly: no matter how much of a favor you think you’re doing your children by not assigning jobs, THEIR WIVES WILL WANT TO KILL YOU IF YOU DID NOT TEACH THEM.

 

Photo Credits:
Image by LaterJay Photography from Pixabay
Image by truthseeker08 from Pixabay

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Five Minutes Later

Why did I run the load today
When, five minutes later
They’ve come in from play?

Why did I put their cup in the sink
When, five minutes later
They want more to drink?

Why did I have them brush for bed
When, five minutes later
They’re eating some bread?

Why did I make them? I sigh and shrug.
Five minutes later,
One gives me a hug.

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Photo Credit:
Magdalena Smolnicka

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

The Dishes and Other Evils

D’ya know that question everyone likes to ask children?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

There’s a trend lately of adults complaining about no direction in life. To be funny, they/we have coined the term ‘adulting.’ I see t-shirts with the word on it, as in “Adulting is Hard,” or “Tried Adulting Today / Gave Up.”

Adulting
From Amazon, yo.

Why are we all so bummed out about responsibility? My theory is that others have discovered what I did once I moved out: my life goal could never work. See, what I wanted to ‘be’ when I grew up was a lazy sod. I wanted to never have to do chores again.

Whenever my parents assigned us clothes-folding (my own!), dishes-washing (after my mom made dinner every night!), or sock-mating (which we were paid to do!); I assumed they were sadistic monsters whose only desire was to watch us squirm and suffer. It never occurred to me that chores needed to be done. Certainly I never thought I contributed to a mess that needed cleaning.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m as intelligent as I hope.

Because, well…. I still hold out for my goals. I still want to do what I want while someone else gets dirty. Let me tell you, nothing builds resentment quite as quickly as unreasonable expectations.

But I’ve got some working solutions, like:

  1. Training the kids for their own future lives  (AKA hounding the kids every few minutes to do their chores).
  2. Explaining to my husband and ‘help-meet’ that maintaining a house and family is a team effort (AKA nagging).
  3. Hiring out work when we can afford it (AKA asking for a day’s maid as a birthday present).
  4. Accepting how things are (AKA giving up, piling up, until blowing up and cleaning the house top to bottom).

Good thing there’s chocolate.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

A Parent’s Poetic Lament

I ask, I talk, I beg, I threaten
And yet, I cannot get through to those crètins.

Why do they drop their socks and undies
Right where the visitors can see their sundries?

Why do they mark up toilet and walls
Around the baseboards and down all the halls?

Do they think no one sees the yellow?
Do they think they are rather tidy fellows?

Yet, much as I blame them for messes;
As much as I blame them for all my stresses;

I’m the one who whines and gripes, then groans
While I pick it all up and tidy our home.

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Photo Credit:
Image by M W from Pixabay

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens