19 June 2014

Chores are a Real...Chore?

My kids now have assigned chores as part of my "turn these horrid little tyrants into humans" plan.  Basically, they are just responsible for the kinds of things that keep a household going.  Make your bed, get your clothes in the hamper, put away clean clothes, help load dishes after meals, ensure the bunny has food/water/lettuce/papaya and some bigger weekly tasks like helping gather up trash and recycling.  We are slowly but surely building a little home-culture of everyone just pitching in and keeping the place running.

BUT...and isn't there always a "but" with kids...this has not actually made my life easier.  The thing about assigning your kids chores is that is actually makes getting those tasks done, and done completely/correctly, soooooo much more time consuming.  It takes me five minutes to make three beds, but it can take 15 minutes of arguing, tantrum throwing and fit pitching to get Liz to pull her comforter up and toss the stuffed animals back on the bed.  Sure dishes get put in dishwasher, but with no end of fighting, clattering of silverware and milk splashed over every square inch of the counter-top.  Feeding the bunny leaves a trail of hay and food that requires me to sweep the floor an extra time. All in all, this is not a particularly rewarding parenting task on a day-to-day, chore-to-chore basis.  I easily spend way more time reminding them to do these tasks, and dealing with the fall-out than it would ever take for me to to all this work myself.  Of course, doing it all myself  is how you get 32-year-olds who can't figure out where the measuring cups go (and the spouses who silently seethe)...so you know, we shall carry on.

Overall, they have been doing very well with their chore lists and it seems to have helped the general "flow" of the household.  Since doing household stuff has become routine, they also fight me less when we have to do other chores like the weekly overhaul of the playroom, sorting out summer clothes or getting the garage put to rights.  While day-to-day the chores provide way more work than they mitigate, I do actually feel like I am doing something that will help my kids be functioning adults one day.

This may only be worth it in the big-picture sense, but that is good enough for me.