Get Those Lazy Kids Working

My kids do not like to do chores. I can’t blame them, because I’m in a similar boat.

But I’ve noticed that boat gets rather dingy and near-sinking when the entire crew gives into laziness. Whether the surly crew likes it or no, they live here. They keep eating in the mess hall, pooping on the deck, and shredding the rigging.

Now, to my credit, I’ve had my kids do work around the house since they were big enough to reach the dishwasher and not fall over. Mostly that was because they were already ‘helping’ with any cleaning I tried to do -but I ran with it.

The inspiration for today’s advice comes from an odd idea I formed at the start of this school year: that they shouldn’t have housework because they had schoolwork to worry about.

My boys still had weekend housework jobs, of course, but nothing on the weekdays.

For months I saw them come home, tell me they didn’t have homework, then laze around until computer time (also monitored and restricted, thank you very much).

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We-e-e-e-e-ell, it turns out that I got terribly overwhelmed, resentful, irritated, etc. I also had no time for me, even not counting the times I snuck off to my (messy) closet to type up advice I don’t follow.

It turns out they are more than capable of doing some work after school, especially if they have to finish said work before playing.

I guess this post has two pieces of advice, then.

Let them work; it’s good for everyone.

and

Never underestimate the power of a video game.

You’re welcome.

A Head Start on the Day?

After a few false starts and intentional ignorings of my alarm, I rose before the children needed to with the intent to get a head start on the day.

The idea sounded great last night -you know, during that time I looked over the laundry, paper bills and tax forms, dishes, laundry, to-do list, messy tables, dishes, incomplete homework, laundry, cluttered floors, dirty toilets, almost-sleeping children, and more laundry and dishes- and told myself that I could go to sleep and address it all tomorrow.

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An old picture, but somehow still applicable.

I neglected to recall how tired I am when I first rise.

So, yawning, here I sit, cursing my mental state, for not recalling that I’d need a day to fully wake. I can see why people drink coffee. I think. I’m actually not experiencing much clarity of thought yet.

True, I shouldn’t need much ‘clarity of thought’ to just do dishes or sort laundry. The problem with that is that I’ve pretty much run out of tricks. I’ve tried bribes, calm reasoning, yelling, and reverse psychology; but I just can’t convince myself to do the housework.

No matter what, I know two things: there will never be an end, and there will be more after that.

So, yawning, here I -oh, I already said that. Sorry; tired mom brain.

What’s a dead-brained mother to do? The toilets? Maybe after breakfast, I suppose. If nothing else gets done during this Magic Quiet Hour, I at least got some writing in.

And (don’t tell) some chocolate.

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Photo by Levi Bare on Unsplash

Happiness at Home

I’ve read that finding happiness in life can be a matter of lowering expectations.

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I haven’t got much lower I can go with that, so has anyone else got any ideas?

Boxes on Counters and Warm Woolen Undies

Empties on counters and wrappers beneath me
Dull, crusted skillets and Wet Wipes on Wheaties
O’erflowing garbages dumping on me
These aren’t a few of my favorite things.

What is so difficult about cleaning up? Did I put the recycling bin all the way out the door that’s three feet away? Do you assume your hot cocoa mix dust will evaporate? Will dishes wash themselves?

I get it. -Especially when you tell me.

“I don’t want to.” “I didn’t do it.” “I don’t feel like it.” “I’ll do it after _____________.” “There’s no mess!”

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Guess what? I WANT TO NOT DO ANYTHING, TOO!

One time I asked the other adult in the house, “Why do you leave the empty cereal boxes on the counter when you use them?”

“So you know we need to buy more,” he answered.

know when we’re out of cereal. The kids tell me. The empty pantry shelf tells me. Heck, he could simply tell me. He could also go buy more. My less-than-tactful suggestion of where he can shove the cereal box when he forgets to take it all the way to recycling doesn’t give me the result I really want.

And so, as usual, cleaning up the house is me relocating junk. Their junk. It could have been done at the time of deposit, but that would have actually required effort.

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One time, the other adult in the house asked me, “Why do you keep all the dishes in the sink? They would be easier to clean if you rinsed them off and stacked them. Or, you could put them right into the dishwasher.”

“They’re there so I remember to wash them. I’ll load everything later tonight,” I lie. Later tonight will see me fighting to stay awake while telling children to get back in bed (repeatedly). Those dishes will finally get washed when (A) visitors come over, (B) we run out of even the backup utensils, or (C) he finally gets fed up with the state of the kitchen and capitulates.

It works. The poor man just doesn’t understand my system.