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Sunday, December 03, 2006

2 Have Asked.....How Many Wonder?

In the past, two bold people have asked.......well, what do YOU do? They were asking me, the mother of 6 children, what in the world I do around the house since my kids have all been turned into some kind of slaves.

Yes, our kids help with housework, but I am hardly lying on the couch reading novels and eating peeled grapes while they are working their fingers to the bones.

There was a time when my husband told me to work out a plan where the kids would help more around the house. I think our oldest daughter was around the age of 10 at that time.

This is kind of how the flow has gone around our home:
mom: all the housework
mom: most....kids some help
mom: lots.........kids a lot of help
mom: clipboard and coffee cup.........kids most

Any time you see anybody with a clipboard and cup of coffee, it usually means he got to that position by acting a certain way. He probably didn't get there by being a lazy sloth. If you've noticed, there are more people holding a shovel than the proverbial clipboard. That's the way it has happened to our family. I have worked and worked and worked to train our children how to work, so I am constantly working myself out of a job. Any job. But it isn't just so I can sit around reading and painting my nails. Work is good for kids. Being idle and lazy is not. Working your way out of a job takes lots of time. There's really not a lot of rest on the way. He or she who thinks that you can have 6 kids with a job card and that means that nothing else needs to be said or done,,,,,well, they've probably not ever had 6 kids with a job card.

What is a job card? It is a notecard with each child's name on it and the things expected out of them daily. I have been doing it for years. I walked around the house and saw what needed to be done, then assigned each task to a child depending on their age. We have boys mixed in with girls so they never had to do many dishes or laundry. Likewise, the girls don't mow or do the garage and trash.

I made notecards for lots of reasons.
1. jobs are down in black and white
2. no excuses about forgetting
3. no excuses about not knowing what was expected
4. no excuses about not hearing
5. they can't say.....I didn't know

BUT, job cards can make monsters out of your kids. They can get the age old idea in their heads that if it isn't in their job description, they don't have to do it. That is where you have to instill serving and giving over and above what is expected. I can't say I have the corner on this yet, but I try.

Here are some of the things that have been, and ARE, on the job cards: dishes, trash, vacuuming, sweep, shut garage door in evening, all bikes in garage, clear tables, prepare meals, dust, clean bathroom, change lightbulbs, change ac filters, laundry (this includes using the clothesline), clean garage, yard trash, bookshelves tidy, piano music nice, vehicle trash, sweep outside doorwary, hang up coats and keep front closet neat, gather hangers, ice chests dried and put up clean, water plants, do cats, shake rugs, and last but not least....keep your room clean.

My husband and I don't think this is too much to expect from kids. Most of these jobs can be done one time a day in less than half an hour except for meals/dishes and laundry. Of course any job can be drug out I have learned. We won't go there in case blogger can't contain the volumes.

We are not dictators, we are parents that want our kids to know how to take care of things when they grow up. What girl wants to marry a man that can't rake, put on a roast, do a load or two of laundry, or shake a few rugs? What man wants to marry a girl that can't make a house a home and smile as she does it?

Our oldest daughter has a 4 year old and 1 year old twins and she keeps her house in order. Very snug and nice. Our next son had to gear himself WAY down when he started on a mowing crew. He was getting others in trouble because he wanted to hurry and get things done. Our next daughter manages the grocery buying, menu and most of the cooking. She also works at a library and got all high points on her 3 month check-up. Our next son is the happy employee at a mom and pop place here in town. They say he's just what the place needed except he cleaned the grill too good one day. Made it shine. They didn't exactly want it to shine. Our next daughter is cooking up a storm also. She made supper the other night and it was pretty near a 10 as you can get. She can make the house sparkle. Our next daughter, we hope, is growing up to be like her sisters.

I haven't answered the question. What do I DO?
I sew, I garden and I make an occasional pan of cinnamon rolls. I clear tables constantly, dust off school books, rotate my rabbit collection, crochet, re-pot plants because some boy ran into the silly thing and crushed it, stir my mulch with my old shovel, hang clothes on the line, pick avocados, move my bricks from place to place, fix up gardens, tear down gardens, avoid people that paint, take the dog out only to have him 'go' in the kitchen, buy books and buy books, shop in thrift stores, buy and wrap presents, find places for Lydia's horses, do yard art, feather dust dusty things that the kids miss, curtains, make purses for girls, sew jumpers and sell them, prepare school, do school with Lydia, sew jumpers and don't sell them, arrange and re-arrange the old animal cages in the garage, rake, pull weeds, plant radishes, brush hair, clean out the fridge pretty often cause Olivia doesn't like to do it, sew slits up on skirts, dust my collections, fill the squirt foam soap containers up, take Daniel to work, pick him up, take Daniel mowing, pick him up, take Olivia to work, pick her up, run to the $$ Store, go to the post office, cash checks, take Olivia to buy groceries, run off Hobby Lobby coupons, clean up coffee when I spill it and I'm pretty sure I'm the only one that sweeps under the couch.

So, you people that look at me and wonder what I do all day, this might give you an idea.
Not to worry, I am not on the couch unless I am sick or we have company.
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