Friday, February 26, 2010

To Chore or Not to Chore

As many of you know I am a stay at home mom with three children; two of them who are old enough to help when needed which is exactly what they do.  They help when needed, or better when asked.  My 15 year old daughter's chore is the trash.  It is her responsibility to take it out whenever it is needed which is on a daily basis in our house.  My 6 year old son's chore is to make sure that the dogs have food and water.  That's it.  Those are the only responsibilities they have other than doing well in school.

Let me ask this - is this good.  I was once convicted that I am not showing my daughter how to be a good woman if I am not teaching her household tasks and my son won't be able to know how to take care of himself when it is needed.  I agree with that on a level.

The reason I am bringing this up is because it has become blatantly apparent to me that I NEVER sit down!  Seriously!!  From the time I rise until my day is done at night I am constantly on my feet.  Since we have a breakfast bar we don't even sit at the dinner table now.  The kids are around the bar and I am standing on the other side eating and feeding the baby.  Still standing.  Dishes, laundry, the constant pickup from a one year old, training a puppy that wants to chew everything in sight, sweeping, mopping, vaccuuming, taking this kids here and there, working on the computer, dishes again, another load of laundry, dusting, cleaning up the kitchen.  Honestly the list goes on and on....all day......every day.  It is so monotonous.

the other day when I asked my son to get my shoes for me since I was sitting down for a couple seconds to get a breather.  He said, "Gosh, why do I have to be your slave?"  [jaw dropping]  WHAT?!?!  It made me really think about what I do around here and how I am the one doing everything and he has no clue what a slave is.  Don't get me wrong I love what I do, but it was proven to me right there that he doesn't show any appreciation for the house that he is raised in.  It might be messy at times but that is a given with a busy family where someone is always home.

My question - I have a hard time instilling chores when I would rather do them myself so that I know they are done properly, there will be no arguing, and  they will be done when I want them done and when they need to be done.  My daughter helps a lot with my one year old so that I can finish stuff around the house so I don't know which one is better.  My son would rather sit and play video games all day and my daughter would be a hermit in her room reading or something which means they are out of my hair and I don't have to hear their constant bickering.  Let me tell you the age difference doesn't make that go away at all.  They fight like none other.  My son is annoying and my daughter is just - well let's just say she isn't very nice.

What do I do?  I have a really hard time watching my kids do chores around the house so that I can just SIT.  I feel like I am not doing my job.  How do I overcome that and get them to help me around the house so that I don't feel guilty and yet they don't feel like I am working them like slaves.

What do you think?


Jen said...

My parents did a Saturday morning chore fest that lasted 1-2 hours where vacuuming, bathrooms, dusting were done by everyone. Once it was done the weekend was ours to do what we wanted. When I was in my teens, my mom thought it was important that I knew how to cook, do laundry, change a tire etc. So I cooked once a week choosing a dish of my choice. My dad taught me how to change a tire and oil in the car. They knew I had only a few years left in the home and wanted me to be equipped to handle the everyday life of being on your own.

Patricia said...

There were three of us in the house, so she divided up the chores, and we each had a chore that we had to do between the time that we got home from school and the time our parents got home; usually cleaning the hall/bathroom mirrors, dusting the living room, vacuuming the living/dining room. And then for meals we either had to set the table, clear the table or do the dishes. We just rotated to a different job every day. Then at the end of the week we got allowance. Whatever chores we didn't do got deducted from our allowance. Don't know if this would work for you...... If feel for you though. I don't implement chores in my house either. Kind of like you - if I do them myself they get done right the first time....:O) Hang in there!

Amanda said...

The kids do the dishwasher now when they're home. I don't do dishes at the same time every day, so I just holler "Kids, Dishes!" and it gets done. I decided that I'm not going worry about stuff in the wrong place (yes, that is to be expected from a 5 & 7 year old), and that I'm not going to micro manage them so that they have some responsibility themselves. My son complains that he has to do stuff in general, I just say "Excuse me? I believe that car[Insert your own item to confiscate] will be mine...." The trick is, make them believe that they will in fact lose that item until their chores are done. This is just the strategy that works for me. Hope it helps.