After spending a week at Princess Camp with my daughter, Friday rolled around. That’s our weekly cleaning day. Since the children are older, cleaning day is so much easier. They help quite a bit. Each of them cleans a bathroom and, of course, their individual rooms. They dust everywhere. And my daughter enjoys mopping. She really does. She asks to do it.
Until she doesn’t. For some reason, last Friday she said, “No, thanks.” I would have none of that. I dangled a consequence in front of her (no “Mulan” – as we were going to watch this movie for the first time over the weekend) very politely and she agreed to mop.
Housework is very important for children to learn and to do. I grew up with a wonderful mom who believed she should do all the chores so that my sister and I could study. “You will do plenty of this when you have your own family,” she would say. She and I know now that she was misguided.
I have spoken to other grandmothers who have adult daughters with issues when it comes to their roles as mothers and housekeepers. This one lady told me, “I made my daughters’ life easy and now they cannot handle simple house chores without falling apart. And they have children of their own. It’s just a mess.”
If you want to help your children, teach them to clean the house and do their own laundry. When they get old enough, teach them to do the dishes, iron their clothes, and mow the lawn. Rotate them doing chores on a regular basis. I may be preaching to the choir, because most homeschooling moms know to do this.
Let’s face it, homeschooling moms would not survive without the kids’ doing some of the chores around the house. For us, it is a matter of not just good common sense for the children’s future, but also a matter of survival. I know I feel sometimes that if I have to sweep under the dining room table one more time, my head will explode. So I learn to delegate.
The most important step for me – and for most people – is to get over my desire for things to be done just so. We all have different standards of “clean” and “neat.” When my eight-year-old son sweeps under the table, he may leave some things behind. Some days I make him do it again, if it’s obvious he was being sloppy and he missed big chunks. But most days I just let it be – it depends on the size of the chunks and how strict I feel on those days.
I know he is still developing his coordination and still building the “chore muscle” in his mind. I don’t want to discourage him. I praise his work and we move on. I have just been spared sweeping and he just learned to sweep even better than yesterday. The message is, “You are a valuable member of our family and we trust your skills to do your part in our team.”