Monday, June 14, 2010

My Personal Little Work Force


To say that I have a lot of work at home is an UNDERSTATEMENT. Now, this is no pity party. I'm not doing the whole "woe is me" whining. But I just say it to preface my next question for y'all:

Exactly when does putting your children to work stop being abuse and start looking like a good idea?

My husband's ironing pile seems to multiply exponentially. Our continual mountain of unfolded laundry baskets have become a regular fixture in the living room, like the T.V. or the couch. My pantry constantly needs straightening and organizing. My refrigerator has magnets that hold papers/coupons/notices which are months old. Clearly, I need either a) a bit more resolve to stay off the computer, or b) a wife.

Since neither one of those are very likely to happen, I have put my children to work. Mild work, have you, but it helps. Every M, W, F they take turns emptying the trash cans, cleaning the bathroom countertops, emptying and sorting the laundry baskets, and sweeping the kitchen floor. Probably once a day they do dishes, either loading or unloading the dishwasher or hand-washing the dishes in the sink.

And yet, still, I can't get caught up. So, at what age can a boy cut the lawn without my neighbor screaming, "Don't you know he'll chop his foot off doing that?!?!?!" When can I put my daughter to work with a hot iron and a stack of cotton shirts? How young is too young for a child to operate a heavy vacuum cleaner???

I know, you think I'm being funny. But, as they say, many a truth is said in jest...



Texan Mama

8 comments:

Wym said...

I count the days till I can put my kids to work. Too bad I have to go over and do it my way after they are done...

Aunt Crazy said...

My son has been mowing our yard since he was about 9 or 10. We have a riding mower because it's about 2 acres that get mowed. My kids are 13 and 17 and know how to do laundry, wash, dry, put away, we don't iron around here, we use wrinkle releaser...LOL Your kids are old enough to be doing everything you mentioned and more!

Wendy said...

Anyone who is a member of this family gets to help maintain this family.

It makes them feel like they made a contribution. It gives them a sense of pride. And when you ask a 7-year-old to do something that's hard for him/her, like vacuum a room, and you don't re-do it, they are on top of the world.

You have to get them into it NOW before they are old enough to realize they don't wanna do it.

My kids are 9 and 6 and they can pick up, help with laundry (they sort their own dirties & put away their own clothes), clean their shared bathroom, vacuum, dust, scoop dog poop, help with dishes. No, they aren't little slaves here and we have plenty of time for fun... but we have time for fun because Mom isn't out of her mind trying to do it all or aggravated at not being able to get it done! Everyone pitching in means more fun for everyone.

Amy O'Connor said...

I don't see any problem with kids helping out around the house. In fact, I need to get my kids to help out more! I really can't stand it when people say that their kids shouldn't be doing any house work. I think that if someone is a part of the family, they can help in the things that take care of the family.

The way I see it, kids are going to have to learn how to do all of these things. One day they will have their own homes and their own families and Momma is not going to be there to do the stuff for them. Plus, why doesn't Mom deserve to have a little down time too? Everyone works together and gets what needs to be done done and then we all have more play time!

Angel said...

I have been cooking, cleaning, Ironing and taking care of my brother from the time I was 8, and then added on taking care of my baby sister when I was 12, so I don't think that kids are really ever too young.

Jennifer said...

Baby Girl is 5 and I already have her doing small stuff like taking the clothes to the laundry room, picking up, folding towels. Being a working mom means I have so little time to get things done and I need all the help I can get.

Gigi said...

They are NEVER to young to help. In this house the motto is, "You live here so you have an obligation to help out around here." Don't worry about what the neighbors think - it's none of their beeswax anyway. If you feel you must explain - tell them that YOU are raising your children to be productive members of society. Then give them *that* look (you know, the one that silently says - "Unlike YOU.") and walk away.

Because in reality, giving the children chores is teaching them to fend for themselves later in life & to be productive members of society who aren't afraid of a little work and the satisfaction of a job well done.

Draea Lael (Rose) said...

Exactly what Gigi said. I have 4: 14, 13, 10, and 6. They all have specific chores and are required to do a fullhouse clean-up once a week (we do this as a family). Both my hubby and I were raised in that deep south mentality of work before play and are raising the kiddos the same way. Yes they have a DS, a Wii, tons of movies, etc....but they don't even touch them until after 3pm when all the chores have been done and they've spent a good portion of time playing outside. When they whine, I gently (not) remind them that there are 4 of them to share the load that dad and I were only kids that had to do it ALL! Ultimately, its a good thing for them to be responsible. Just have them do age appropriate chores.
And to be totally honest, I am a teacher, and my BIGGEST peeve with kids in school (ms/hs) is their lack of responsibilty about ANYTHING...most have absolutely no pride in their work, no work ethic, and blame everyone else for their failure/trouble. Kids that are taught it first at home tend to ne the ones that I never have to argue with over a grade or lost paper.