The kids get more chores. Christmas is a good time to be reminded of
the abundance that we share…and also of the work that goes into it.
It’s time, I think, to get more help (and accept some imperfections…).
I know, the most common kid-related resolutions must be stuff like “spend more time with them” or “yell less” (made that one, anyway) and “have more patience” (ditto). But we have had such a wonderful Christmas, materially–I can’t imagine any of them has any material wishes left to grant. I certainly don’t. Not that any of us had very big ones to begin with, because we simply have all the stuff we could possibly want. We have too much stuff. We need less stuff. Recession, recycling, buying less be damned–all of those things are true, and we still want for absolutely nothing. We’re fed, we’re clothed, we have heat and shelter and education and entertainment, and I’m in the fortunate position of being able to worry not that the kids don’t have enough, but that they have too much.
So I’m worrying about it. I can’t (wouldn’t!) change things so that we need their labor to grow food, or them to start getting paper routes to help support the family–but you know, I do need their help. There are a lot of them, and keeping them fed, and in clean clothes, and in a clean (ish) house is a lot of work that they should contribute to. The trouble is, of course, that having them really contribute (as opposed to clearing their plates and putting their clothes in the laundry and their toys away and all the usual stuff) is often, at this stage, as much work as when they don’t–or at least that’s the way it’s felt. Sam can help–but he’s usually the only one who’s truly useful, and although he gets many more jobs (and privileges) as a result, things get to feeling lopsided. So my resolution is to engage everyone, even if it means a few broken glasses and reloading the dishwasher and rewiping the counters. Here’s a list of the things they can do (and will):
- Clear the table, load the dishwasher (in teams of two)
- Bring down and sort the laundry (teams, again)
- Put out their own clothes for the week (Sam and Lily solo, others with help)
- Clean the living room and playroom (an issue here has been the presence of many toys and other items with no “homes,” and I hope to resolve that over the weekend)
- Bring up the trash can and recycling after pick up, driveway snow-and-ice level permitting.
- Help with non-fun parts of dinner prep.
I’m open to other ideas, but that’s where I am. Other obvious chores, like making their own lunches, have an attached problem–we don’t get them up early enough in the morning, and there’s often not enough time between activities and bed at the moment, so I’m holding off on that. I don’t worry about bed making, they don’t have rooms to clean (in effect, they sleep in a dorm and then share a playroom at the moment). They do share a bathroom that they could contribute to cleaning, but I think I’ll start here. It doesn’t sound like much, but it honestly would be.