Recently a new regime of household chores has struck our home. We are now in our third week, officially the longest a household routine of this nature has actually lasted.
The problem with leaving discipline around chores until the ripe old ages of 14, 12 and 9 is decade in which bad habits (or lazy) have had to become entrenched.
Now, I think my offspring are most certainly the most gorgeous beings that ever walked the earth, but goodness me I am sick and tired of waiting on them.
So the jobs list went up. Each and every child has a list of tasks to achieve each day, attached to the list is pocket money, internet time and a whole lot of tenacity on behalf of the parental supervisors.
These three weeks in I can certainly attest to the cries of my babies, housework sucks.
With a regime of jobs in our house there are more arguments, there is more negotiation, it takes more time, it’s noisy, it’s frustrating. While the kids begrudgingly drag their attitudes through their tyranny of chores I find that the person most wanting to break down the regime is me.
The mere sounds of discontent in the house are utterly exhausting if not demoralising. If I did it myself the only sound would be the quiet contempt and perhaps crash, smash of pots hitting the sink but so much less conflict all in all.
The only thing that keeps me hanging in there is the thought of my poor, sad kids as big 20 year olds being that squalid flatmate that nobody wants to know. Inept of cooking and cleaning skills lying languid in their own filth and completely oblivious to the grime that surrounds their every moment. Oh wait, that was me.
I’ll readily admit, in the land of empowering my children with cleanliness prowess I’ve failed miserably. A heady combination of mum guilt, a dire shortage of time and a strong desire to leave my workplace and cease hollering tasks at people. I just wanted to get on with it via the path of least resistance.
I got it wrong.
Now as I try to fix the mistakes I’ve made I realise how much time the earlier investment would have saved. Teaching kids at a younger age may be a pain, but it’s a great time to create habits, and their friendly next door neighbour expectations.
If you are parenting a little person take it from me, the earlier you start the better off you’ll be.
In all it’s a pretty ironic conversation coming from someone whose whole business is in empowerment over helping. It brings me closer to a realisation about help I had many years ago, sometimes helping is about avoiding the stuff that we are dealing with ourselves. I can certainly attest to secretly enjoying the silence at the end of the day as the kids scarpered away from the zone of jobs to something more aligned with fun.
But tonight they work. And tonight I sit by the fire, laptop on lap, writing about kids doing jobs, as they work. And I notice that actually this frustration might just be working out. Kids are working, I’m indulging in creativity. Ah ha! It’s paying off.
Feature image from Smoking Gun PR