One of my sisters said something to me once and it has stayed with me all these years. My sister Maylyn and I were taking about whether my children had chores and I told her they had none. She chuckled at me and warned me to give them some. At the time I think I felt like I just wanted them to be kids and I was fine doing most things so it didn’t matter much to me. She, I think, had lots to say on the topic but she kindly listened, talked about how things work in her home with her family and we left it there.
Well my boys are slightly older now (almost 10 and 8) and most recently, my mind has clicked into them doing chores; not so much for the chore itself but for their participation in keeping the family running. So what are their chores you ask:
1. Each Friday before the cleaning ladies arrive, they have to strip their beds of their sheets and such; placing them by the washer so that things can be cleaned.
2. They do have to take the clean dishes out of the dishwasher and put them away.
3. I taught them how to sort their clothes and now they do it so that they can be cleaned.
4. I used to rotate and put away their clean clothes. Now they do it on their own…well the putting away part anyway!
5. Now that the summer garden is in, they do have to water the tomatoes and peppers
6. Pick up after themselves and return things to their place when they’ve finished playing with it.
Now for all that is good with this, boy do they fight about some of these items. My youngest doesn’t get why he has to, as he says “clean his room when we have people do that for us.” So they do it because I insist.
I had to start a rule, you can’t have your breakfast if you didn’t empty the dishwasher.
If I see your stuff laying around…well I just throw it away. They have lost toys and a shoe or two around that one.
The growing pains are for all of us:
They have to remember to do their chores, I have to remember to remind them to do their chores, I have to inspect for the completion of chores and most importantly, I have to fight back my urge to control how they go about completing the chore.
All in all, I don’t understand why I am still tired.
I thought this was supposed to get easier as they got older!