Teach Them While the Cost is Low…

Growing up, I did zero chores. My mom is Super Woman, clothed in a less sexy, more modest Kari Jobe vibe. Somehow she worked full time, did ALL the housework, ran us to our various activities, was always put together & made us each feel as if we were loved & important. A few times, she attempted to have us do chores, like clean the bathroom. However, I’m pretty sure it played out like this- 15 minutes of us whining that she dared ask us to help, drama filled stomps into the bathroom where we wiped a cloth across one surface with our eyes closed then immediately shouting we were done. Could you imagine if she asked me to do my own laundry? Surely, my head would have spun around 3 times as my eyes glowed red and growls poured out of my mouth.

I aspire to be my mom, I really do. However, sometimes you have to be real with yourself and realize that I am not Cinderella. The only things following me around as I clean are screaming & making a bigger mess in their wake. If anyone has the magic key to turn my Tasmanian Devils into cleaning Song Birds, hit me up! Part of that realization is being real that I do not possess that magnitude of multitasking. I try and try only to fall short each time. Something had to give.

Somewhere between being buried to my neck in kids toys & researching what inpatient clinics take Quitting Mom’s, we took a “love & logic” parenting class at our church. I’ll be honest in saying that we don’t full embrace everything they have to say, HOWEVER, some of what they teach has been transformational to our parenting style. The biggest one was, “Teach them now while the cost is low”. Show them how to do things, teach them about consequences , teach them about the power of words/hard work etc BEFORE the severity of the consequence increases. It’s much easier to teach them how to obey rules set before them NOW when the consequence is a grounding or no cupcake than them learning LATER when they find themselves jobless or incarcerated.

Combining that statement with watching our College Age Staff struggle to do “simple” life tasks, fueled a fire in us to focus our parenting style on preparing our kids for their futures all while filling them with self confidence, truth, love & respect. For heaven’s sake, my kids WILL NOT be 21 & unable to make grilled cheese (a real story). This may mean that I have to swallow my “control freak” mentality, this may mean that it takes 20 minutes to do a 5 minutes task & it may mean that I deal with far more tantrums, it WILL NOT be done the way I would like…. However, one day, I will look at my self sufficient, successful, confident, helpful husband, son’s and know it was worth it.

During a recent conversation, we were telling my youngest brother everything our boys know how to do in the homemaking department. Laundry, dishes,cooking, vacuuming, dusting, taking care of pets etc. He sat there, mouth wide open in shock. Not because he thought we were horrible parents ripping our kids childhood from them (at least I hope not) but because he was proud of his nephews for accomplishing what many 20’s are struggling to learn now. The next response, the most appropriate one of course, was to give them all a fist bump. Pride radiated from their little faces.

So what do my kiddos do on a daily/consistent basis?
1.Laundry
2.Help cook- they LOVE this. They beg to help.
3.Vaccum, dust & make beds
4.Care for dog & guinea pigs- including cleaning cage.
5.Sweep & Mop
6.Dishes- they know how to do these but I couldn’t handle HOW they did them anymore so I’ve taken that task back.
7. Clean up toys/Books

Here I am, Worst Mom of the Year 9 yrs in the running, offering you parenting advice. Advice that you can take or leave. However, I do hope you teach them enough so that they aren’t 22 and watching a YT video on how to cook scrambled eggs.

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One thought on “Teach Them While the Cost is Low…

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