Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I am not the Maid

I have been reading the book The Help. It is very interesting. But as I read about all the different chores these maids do and how little their employers do during the day it has had me thinking about how little my kids do all day while I slave away at the chores.  I have decided to change this. I don't want my kids to think that they don't have to help out around the house and I want to make sure they know how to do all the different jobs that are required to keep a house clean and running smoothly.  My kids are all pretty young still and I have used that as an excuse for their lack of work. But I trying to change things a bit and teach them a few new skills. I started doing something new this week and hopefully it will become a habit.

I have been starting our day with a family chore. After breakfast but before we start our usual school day we work. This is a chore on top of their usual "pick up their rooms" and "make their beds" morning chores.  I guess I just don't want to be working and doing one chore after another while my children just play and make more messes.

We sorted dirty clothes and folded laundry one day. We cleaned a bathroom the next. Today we vacuumed all the rugs in the house. Tomorrow I think we will empty out the fridge and wipe down all the shelves. There are so many chores around the house that only take 15-20 min and go pretty quickly when there are 4 of us tackling them. I usually put them off until I get a change to do them (which often means it never happens or finally gets done when I can't stand it anymore).   I want my children to one day take over the maintenance of the house so I can "retire" from being the maid. 

It hasn't all been fun and games. Henry really hates folding his own clothes. And we have had many tantrums about it.  He is only 4, but he can do it. He made the comment that he didn't know that boys folded laundry. He thought only girls did laundry. Sophie and I have often done the sorting and folding of laundry. Now I am having the kids each fold their own clothes so the boys know how to do it also. 

Hopefully, this new "family work" job each morning will help us keep up with some of the chores. But most importantly my kids will learn how to work. Living in the city, in a house that isn't our own, with a gardener that comes every week, doesn't lend itself to a lot of outside chores so we have to take what work we do have and go with it. 


Alison said...

Great idea. I think I need to have Jack helping out more. My Mom used to charge us for maid service if we didn't make our beds etc before leaving for school. Each day we forgot we got charged more. We didn't forget often.

Bibliophile said...

Great idea! I always had trouble in this area, much to my regret.