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

A House(work) at War

The kitchen floor detests my mop;
It’s been on strike all year.
The great room carpet, as you see,
Has developed vacuum fears.

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Meanwhile, the toilets, yellowed raw
Fear brush and boy alike;
While nearby sink and faucet friends
See sponge and yell out, “Yikes!”

The piles and piles (and piles) upstairs
Of clothes shy from my hand.
Our blankets, sheets, and pillowed beds
Won’t lay as I demand.

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And so, you see, oh dearest spouse
I’ve tried hard as hard can be.
One simply cannot fight a house
Nor law of entropy.

 

Photo Credit:
The Creative Exchange
Tracey Hocking

Get Those Lazy Kids Working

My kids do not like to do chores. I can’t blame them, because I’m in a similar boat.

But I’ve noticed that boat gets rather dingy and near-sinking when the entire crew gives into laziness. Whether the surly crew likes it or no, they live here. They keep eating in the mess hall, pooping on the deck, and shredding the rigging.

Now, to my credit, I’ve had my kids do work around the house since they were big enough to reach the dishwasher and not fall over. Mostly that was because they were already ‘helping’ with any cleaning I tried to do -but I ran with it.

The inspiration for today’s advice comes from an odd idea I formed at the start of this school year: that they shouldn’t have housework because they had schoolwork to worry about.

My boys still had weekend housework jobs, of course, but nothing on the weekdays.

For months I saw them come home, tell me they didn’t have homework, then laze around until computer time (also monitored and restricted, thank you very much).

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We-e-e-e-e-ell, it turns out that I got terribly overwhelmed, resentful, irritated, etc. I also had no time for me, even not counting the times I snuck off to my (messy) closet to type up advice I don’t follow.

It turns out they are more than capable of doing some work after school, especially if they have to finish said work before playing.

I guess this post has two pieces of advice, then.

Let them work; it’s good for everyone.

and

Never underestimate the power of a video game.

You’re welcome.

If Only…

“If only, if only,” the young mother sighs, “I did all the chores;” there’s hope in her eyes.
She washes and foldses and relocates toys.
She vacuums and bleaches and separates boys.

“If only, if only,” the young mother shouts, “You’d not kill your brother when I’m not about.”
She wrestles and time-outs and wait till Dad’s homes.
She chastens and kisses and picks up her phone.

“If only, if only,” the young mother frets, “I didn’t buy takeout whenever we’re stressed.”
She hustles and buckles and drives to the queue.
She searches and scrounges and pays for the food.

“If only, if only,” the young mother fears, “When I spent the money, the money was there.”
She saves scraps and worries and checks the receipts.
She eats less and coupons and admits defeats.

“If only, if only,” the young mother pleads, “You’d all go to bed so that there’s time for me.”
She chases and washes and brushes their teeth.
She last-drinks and stories and wishes sweet dreams.

She closets and darkens and blocks all her calls.
She’s lonely and hopeless and sees only walls.
“If only, if only,” the young mother cries, waiting for change till the day that she dies.