Whether you’re a working mom or a stay at home mom housework is never easy and it gets compounded when the kids do not want to cooperate by doing their part. And even when you give a chore to your child you find yourself going behind them to keep them going. I finally found a way that works at our house and it has made it a lot easier on everyone.
My daughter is seven years older than my son and so therefore she tends to get most of the work. This cannot be helped in many instances because of her age but it is not just her age but her congeniality that comes in play. My son can make a ten minute job take an hour because he fights it for fifty minutes. It drives me crazy and everyone else as well. And usually someone ends up doing it for him which is just awful because it upsets the family and does him absolutely no good at all towards his future as an adult.
My daughter and I came up with a plan that really encourages us all to do chores. Instead of giving out a list of chores to each child and then give them a time frame when it had to be done, we have a chore-a-thon. We decided to write down all the chores that had to be done on pieces of paper and throw them into a bucket. We make sure there is an even number of chores so that each person can draw the same amount. We take turns drawing our chores out of the hat. Since my son is younger we decided that if he pulled a chore that is too hard for his age we would swap out one of ours. We also decided ahead of time that if someone just absolutely hated the chore they pulled they could trade if someone was willing to trade with them. Since I am the mom I would usually be accommodating since I completely understand hating parts of housework.
We only do this on Saturdays since I am a working mom; we have set chores during the week such as setting the table, clearing the table, emptying or loading the dishwasher, etc. Of course keeping their rooms clean is their job as well. I am talking about chores like sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, laundry, dusting, cleaning pets’ cages, etc. I know how I feel about spending my whole Saturday doing chores and I know how I felt as a kid doing chores on Saturday as well. My mom used to drive me crazy because she would give us one chore at a time and tell us to come back when we were done and she would let us know what to do next. I wanted all my chores on a list so that I could get them done! At this rate you could be coming back to mom all day long! It was always a bone of contention in our house and I decided not to do it that way.
This has been an encouragement to all of us because we are all pitching in to get the work done all at the same time. There is something about working together as a team that just seems to help when doing chores. We all set out to do our chores working around the house side by side and we know when we are done with our chores, we are done. Now, having said that I need to add an addendum, this has helped my son to do his chores more readily but he is still a putterer. When my daughter and I get done with our chores we come along side of him and encourage him to get finished because there is always a reward involved. Did I forget to mention that part?
I always have loved rewards myself and my daughter loves rewards and even though rewards do not always have the same affect on my son it does help. So before we begin our chores we always decide on something special we are going to do when we are done. It does not have to be expensive or elaborate; it can be something like going to get ice cream, going to the park, taking a bike ride, going to the movies or renting a movie and having snacks with the movie. Whatever reward we come up with as a group we get to do when we are done with our chores. I know what some of you are thinking, that children do not need to be rewarded for doing what they are supposed to do. Heck, I need a reward and I am an adult!
Now the everyday chores such as keeping your rooms clean, picking up your clothes, helping with dinner, taking out the trash, and the like we do not reward with special treats. They do however get an allowance which they will not get if they do not keep up with those chores on a regular basis. We have included doing their homework into this equation also because my son the procrastinator and putterer can take doing homework and bring it to a whole other level of aggravation. When my daughter was young we would go through her backpack and sort out homework and get it all organized and in order and she would do it so easily. As she got older she took the responsibility on herself and actually told me she did not need my help but would show me her finished homework when done. My son on the other hand concerns us greatly and quite frankly has us pulling out our hair at times in frustration.
So we have made a homework time, the same time each day, which is when I get home and am making dinner. The kids sit at the table together and do their homework. My daughter being so much older is able to help him with his homework. She is always done before him unless she has a special project (which I allow her to work on in the privacy of her own room so she can actually concentrate). She then concentrates on helping her brother, along with me, and dad strolls in about this time and joins in. Who would have thought it would take three people to help one small child? And it is not that he cannot do the work, it is mostly because he is sliding down in his chair whining about his work for the first half an hour before he even looks at it. Then he doodles on the edges and complains some more. None of us can figure out why someone would want to waste all that time complaining, sliding down the chair, whining, and fussing when it is only ten minutes of work. We are hopeful that someday this will all change and he can function on his own. We are not sure however because he tells us quite regularly that he does not have to know how to spell his name or read or do math because he is going to be a professional fisherman. We ask him how he is going to get to the lake or ocean without being able to read to get his drivers license. He will hitchhike. How will you eat? He will stand on the side of the road and hold a sign and get his money and go to Jack in the Box for a chicken sandwich for a dollar. Heaven help us.
There is no perfect blueprint to making a family work in harmony all the time but these are some of the ways we have handled it at our house. Doing things together as a family has helped us quite a bit. Lifting each other up, encouraging and supporting each other daily is the key for making a more unified and joyful family.
This article is contributed by Madoline Hatter. Madoline is a freelance writer and blog junkie from ChangeOfAddressForm.com. You can reach her at: m.hatter12 @ gmail. com.