Here’s a post you won’t see much on a parenting blog…Why My Kids Don’t Have Chores! Can you imagine?! I think I can literally hear parents gasping across the web now!
In this day and age of increasing responsibility for our little ones, I realize I’m in a very small minority of moms who don’t give age-appropriate chores.
What, you may wonder, would make me take such a different stance when I see all my friend’s Pinterest boards filling up with cheat sheets for age appropriate chores and ways to teach your kids to help out around the house.
Well, the reason is two-fold.
One, like most people, my biggest influencer in my decision is history. Growing up, my mom and dad didn’t give us chores. Don’t get me wrong – we were expected to do simple things like clear our plates from the table, put away our clothes, clean up any toys we pulled out. But to me, those are simple manners, not chores.
I never thought this was strange though my friends did! They wondered how they could get in on my family’s arrangement! But for us it was normal and as a young child, I didn’t really question the reasoning.
But as I got older and especially after I was grown and had moved out of my parent’s house, my mom shared with me her philosophy on not giving us chores. And honestly, it was so sweet and heartfelt that as a mom, I can’t help but feel the exact same way.
She told me – “Hillary, the reason I have never given you chores is that, from where I sit, your job as a child is to BE a child. To enjoy the simple things. To play. To laugh. To have fun. To enjoy this carefree state for as long as you can. To focus on school and extracurriculars. To find a hobby you love. To encourage your passions in life. To own the responsibility the world will throw at you even from a young age. But not to throw more at you by creating mundane lists of things you need to “do” at home.”
Isn’t that awesome? She let me and my sisters just BE and enjoy our youth. She knew that there would be plenty of time for making beds, and setting tables, and washing clothes.
She also knew there would be many years of us doing it not only for ourself, but for our own little babies as well.
So she just let us enjoy our time – focus on friends and school and all the stresses that come with youth and adolescence – peer pressure, fitting in, dating, and on and on and on.
All the while, Mom cleaned the bathrooms, vacuumed the house, washed and ironed our clothes, and cooked for us (among a million other things).
And guess what? Among my friends, I am the Neat Freak house keeper. I know how to clean toilets, and make beds, and sort and wash laundry. I cook a pretty decent meal and can bake a mean cheesecake. I figured out sweeping, vacuuming and mopping when the time came.
I lived in dorm rooms and shared apartments with friends and not once did a roommate feel I wasn’t an equal partner in housekeeping duties. If anything, I always felt I was doing more than my fair share a lot of the time!
And my 2nd reason for not giving my kids chores is this: Just as their job is to be a child, I feel my job is to be their mom. And included in that definition (for me) is to do all the things that would preclude them from doing their job!
So my point here is this: Moms who create chore lists for their kids are not bad moms. Mom who don’t create chore lists are not slacker moms who are raising irresponsible children.
It’s just two different approaches to parenting and I think we have all figured out by now there isn’t any one “right” way of parenting.
So make chore lists for your kids…or don’t! But make that decision based on what you feel is right for your kiddos. Not because you think they won’t respect you (I respect my own mom more than anyone on the face of this earth). Or because you think they won’t “figure” it out…because trust me, they will!
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