Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Many Hands Make Medium-weight Work

Paulie and I have been trying to come up with a functioning chore system for our kids, (read: I grumble about the state of the house and he agrees that I should enlist more help). So far, the results are iffy. I tried just asking people to do things verbally: FAIL! Then I made a chart with rotating chores for a week: FAIL! Most recently I just gave everyone specific tasks to do the entire week long.

I tried to go easiest on those who are the least used to doing (or willing to do) chores, and loaded the rest of us up with the brunt of the rest (read: Jonah and I did most of the chores). That worked okay. 

I won't lie: when I was a kid, I had a shit-ton of chores. I made the mistake at a very young age of asking my mom how the washing machine worked and that was that - after she showed me she said "this can be your job now!" like it was fun or something. From that day forward, I washed, dried, folded and put away the laundry. Allllll of the laundry. The towels, my laundry, my brothers' laundry, visiting guests' laundry, my mother and her husband's laundry. Lots of laundry. 

But it didn't stop there!

Work, Work, Work!
I also got to dust and vacuum the living room, take the garbage out and burn it (country livin' folks!), cook meals, and do bajillions of dishes. Okay, okay, maybe I'm exaggerating there - I didn't do a bajillion dishes. Just six kids and two adults' worth.

Perhaps as a result of this, I've been a little soft with my own kids. They have chores, of course, because as much as I resented my workload as a kid and teenager, I was certainly prepared for real life after I moved out, and I pitied the fool who didn't know how to wash their own damn socks.

So I do believe in the importance of knowing how to do chores and manage a household. But I try to keep the expectations light. And I'm always surprised at how willing my kids are to do chores. 

"Jonah, can you please take out the recycling?" "Sure mom!"

"Evie, it's time to do the dishes." "Okay mama, can I use lots of soap?"

"Jonah, did you put the chickens to bed yet?" "Oop, nope, I'll go do that right now!"

The chicken whisperer
It's kinda...great. I have to vow to myself not to go the route my mother did by just turning all of the chores over to the kids, then not letting them do anything fun or extra-curricular until they finish said all chores. It's pretty easy to find a balance among all of these people. And as long as I can keep convincing them that it's fun, I think we'll be alright.

Lots of soap: check!

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