I like things done a certain way. I definitely have preferences.
Yet, as a mom
…a homeschooling mom
…who is home most of the time
…and using my home to double as a school for my children
…I am having to learn to relax about my preferences.
Because as much as I would love to think of myself as someone who can do it all, I can't. I need help. Help from people who, as of yet, do not have the motor skills to do things exactly as I would.
Help for Mom comes by way of chores.
(Collective gasp!) You make your children do chores?!
Yes, I do.
You see, we live in a family. In a family, everyone needs to help. A family requires a lot of hands to make it run smoothly. And since we do not have the luxury of housekeepers, cooks, maids, valets, and the such, our hands are the ones that need to make our little castle run smoothly.
Chores teach responsibility. We all say that we want to raise responsible children who are self-sufficient when they leave our little nest. But if we as parents protect them from having to fold a towel, put their own laundry in the hamper, clean up their own living space, put their own dish in the sink, then what kind of adult are we actually releasing to the general public when they hit that grand old age of 18? Hmmmm….. you know what I am talking about.
Chores teach that everyone is part of the family team. When everyone has chores, everyone is part of the team. No one feels left out. No one feels overwhelmed. Everyone is treated the same. Everyone can reap the benefits of a job well done.
Chores are age appropriate. My two and a half year old does not have the same type of chores or the same amount of chores as my six year old. Here is a great list of age appropriate chores/responsibilities.
Chores teach that earning trust and responsibility comes with promotion. As my daughter and son grow, their chores will change based on their age, ability, and level of responsibility. Isn't that how “real life” works? A dishwasher at a restaurant may end up becoming the manager- or even owner- if he does his job well, shows he can be trusted, and can handle responsibility. Yes, the work gets harder, but the benefits are also better.
Chores can be given based on personality and talent. Addie enjoys dusting (and I have no intention of discouraging her) and has been known to go into my cabinet to get my dust wand. That is how she ended up with dusting as one of her chores. Ian enjoys helping Daddy on trash day. Why not give them chores based on their preferences? There is a lot less fuss when chores come up if it is something they actually enjoy doing.
Yes, I still have preferences in how I like things done. Yes, I am a little more detailed and precise than my 6 and 2 year old. Yes, I still have a Type A personality. However, my very capital Type A has smoothed out into a round, sweet, little lowercase “a” as I allow my children to learn the valuable lessons that chores are teaching them.