Raise your hand if you grew up in the 80's and thought you were SO. RICH when your parents handed you a whole $2 for your weekly allowance. Keep them up if you feel like you worked HARD for that money! Not done yet...now keep them up if you now have children of your own doing much the same work; but for a LOT more money!
There are numerous debates over whether or not children should do chores; and whether they should get paid for them or just do them as some type of compensation for the free room and board they are getting at home for 18 years or so.
I was a child that did chores every weekend, in addition to keeping my room clean during the week. Both my parents worked; and on Saturday mornings, I dusted, I vacuumed, I swept sidewalks, helped with dishes and whatever else my mother needed done; and I got my $2. The independence and freedom I felt I got with my $2 was so invigorating. I could go to the movies AND buy popcorn for that $2. If I saved for 2 weeks, I could get a drink and candy as well. I could stop by the corner store on the way home and buy my favorite candy or soda for a treat. I could buy a package of scratch n-sniff stickers (Come on...you know you had them too!!)
Of course, as a child you don't realize what you are learning as you do chores. Things like, responsibility, taking care of your things, pride in what you have, time management etc don't come into your head while you're cleaning a bathroom. No, it's all about the money!
Fast forward many (and I do mean many...) years later and I'm now a mom myself with three kids and a busy house. Along with that busy house comes a lot of dirt, disorganization, dirty dishes, laundry and well, just general life happenings. I have been a stay at home mom for 12 years now; and I'm grateful for the opportunity to raise my own children rather than paying someone else to do it for me. However, until very recently, I spent a long time frustrated with the fact that I felt like I was just here playing the part of the maid and not the part of mom. I was feeding my own frustration however by not utilizing an untapped labor force: my children! Oh, sure I thought about it; but then I always found an excuse not to do it or to sit down and figure it out. I thought, I'm home all day, why should I wait until they get home from school before I fold laundry or unload the dishwasher? Honestly...I thought nothing would get done. I thought about the age differences. What could the younger ones do so that the older child isn't unfairly saddle with the hard jobs?
Finally, when we moved last summer, I decided that it was time. The kids needed to do some chores; and yes...I was willing to pay for it. I think it's important for kids to do chores because it does teach valuable skills for life. I sat down and came up with a system that works for us.
So, while the domesticated duties around the house are much more evenly spread around, meaning I have more time to dedicate to "mom things", I find that I am still largely alone in the "Mom's Taxi Service" business. Some days I spend nearly all day in the vehicle, coming and going with one kid or another for an event here, an appointment there...an emergency trip to Target or whatever. That's OK however, because playing the part of the chauffeur is worth the time spent together in the car; and sometimes if I'm lucky...the teenager lets me choose the music!
I love this. I agree with you that chores are so important. They're learning much more than how to collect a few bucks. Also thanks for the scratch-n-sniff flashback...gosh I miss those :)
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