What They Hear

“Scrub your plates,
And then the floor.
Wash your feet,
Then wash some more.”

Yet, through the filter
Of their brains,
The message shifts;
It’s not the same:

“Scrub your teeth,
With cookies, cake.
Wash the walls,
With homemade waste.”

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©2020 Chelsea Owens

Photo Credit: Photo by JACK REDGATE from Pexels

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

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

Cleaning Tip 1

Most of my housekeeping has the end goal of never needing to do it again in my life. I’ve got to change that philosophy because, lo and behold, every day brings more clothing and more dishes.

*Sigh*

Part of my 12-step process has been to learn what does work with cleaning. Surely there are methods, products, tricks, etc. (besides death or a maid) that make housework easier. Right?

Cue discovering a new cleaner: Bar Keeper’s Friend.

No, I don’t have a link nor a picture. You have the internet; you search. That way you can’t blame me for being a sales-pitch blog and all that.

This is a picture of the inside of my crock pot after using the cleaner.

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It’s actually a picture of the inside of my crock pot after my sister-in-law cleaned it for me. I didn’t even know she’d purchased the stuff. That is also why there is no “before” picture.

Just imagine streaks, stains, and several dubious brown spots.

The stuff seems to work so, if you have a kitchen implement or sink or whatever that’s listed on their bottle; try it. Hopefully your pan/pot/sink/child* will come out looking brand-new again.

 

*Do not try Bar Keeper’s Friend on your child.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens