Are your kids old enough to do chores?
Do you feel like the family maid?
Are your kids ordering you about for things they can do themselves?
When I first became a mother, I undertook all household responsibilities because I was fussy about how I wanted things done. It took me years to realise that I was the family maid and did loads of unnecessary chores. My kids would nicely make requests for things they could do themselves and I would automatically do it. It didn’t dawn on me that I had become the family maid until a couple of years ago. During a family dinner out, one of the waiters dropped a load of plates on the floor. My four-year old responded with: ‘Don’t worry mummy will clean it up’.
We work ourselves to the point of exhaustion and forget to ask for help.
My husband had told me that I did too much, but it took this restaurant incident for me to understand. I was creating lazy kids and working myself to the ground. However, the first thing I needed to do was difficult and I struggled with it. I needed to release control and the unrealistic standards I had created in my mind. This involved delegating some of the household responsibilities to my husband and kids. After all we lived in a cute little house not Downton Abbey.
Being in control is good but being too controlling can hinder you.
My liberation started when I introduced a chore chart for the whole family. My kids are still young so their responsibilities were focused on maintaining and cleaning up their own areas. Even the simple task of putting their plates and glasses in the sink after meals is a great help. In the morning they ‘attempt’ to make their own beds and at night before bedtime they must tidy up their room. We have a standard called ‘mummy clean’ that has to be achieved before I inspect it. Now a days, they automatically complete most of their chores which has reduced my work load and frustration level.
Your kids are capable of doing a lot around the house.
Ultimately, I believe children want to please their parents and relish the positive feeling of doing a good job. A little incentive can be positive but my kids love being ‘helpers’ and want to contribute to the household. After I learnt to delegate and relinquish control, my kids volunteered to do other household chores. I wonder if they will be so helpful when they reach their teens!
We want our kids to be independent and domestically competent adults.
Personally, I have learnt that my kids are capable of contributing to the household. By involving them from a young age, they are learning responsibilities and skills that will help them in their future. I recently met a 24-year-old who didn’t know how to cook or wash her own clothes. Teaching them the basics is important as it allows them to become independent and domestically competent adults.
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