March 17, 2011

The Value of Work

I am not a perfect parent.

I’m not a perfect person.

I have very clear boundaries and expectations, especially concerning the members of my household, and I expect those to be met at all times.

(Which is why they are classified as “expectations” and not “hopes and dreams”)

Am I a strict parent?

It all depends on who you’re asking.

I expect my children to work.

They are members of my family, they live in my house, that makes them part of my team.

They have chores.

They have responsibilities.

They are expected to speak nicely to one another, to keep their hands to themselves, to always tell the truth.

They are expected to pick up after themselves, to make their beds, to brush their teeth, and more.

In fact, some of those aren’t even expectations so much as requirements.

If you live in this house, you are required to help with the housework.

I am so over hearing mothers lament about how hard life is and how much housework they have to do.

I am SO TIRED of hearing other moms telling me that they want their kids to “just be kids”… as if I am somehow ruining the childhood of my own.

I am SO TIRED of listening to them complain about the never ending housework, and the laundry, and everything else that goes along with it.

I am SO TIRED of watching women try to do everything perfectly, and then beating themselves up when they realize that perfection will never come.

Here is what I do know: 

The things in life that are worth doing are never easy.

And making your life easy NOW won’t be helpful to you in the future.

Work is hard.

Work is mandatory.

Work can be extremely rewarding.

When my children were small, it would take us 90 minutes to clean a bathroom.

Vacuuming could take hours, and I folded and re-folded more laundry than I want to remember.

THAT BEING SAID:

My children, ages 3, 4, 6, and 7, are perfectly capable of:

  • cleaning the bathrooms
  • sweeping
  • mopping
  • folding and putting away laundry
  • making their beds
  • changing their sheets
  • picking up
  • dusting
  • unloading the dishwasher
  • putting away the groceries
  • making sandwiches and various snacks
  • and SO MUCH MORE.

We do chores for 15 minutes each day.

On Saturday, we might work for an hour.

My children take care of our home, because they are proud of it.

They have helped to paint the walls, and clean the light fixtures.

They pull weeds out of the yard, and sweep the front steps. 

They feel ownership towards our home, and are glad to be of service.

Children LIKE to work.

They LIKE to step back, and say “I did that, ALL BY MYSELF.”

So sure, go ahead and call me a “mean” mom…. Tell me how strict I am.

But know this: by not requiring anything of your children, you are doing them a disservice.

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