January 23, 2012

All in a Days Work

"Mom? Can I play games on your kindle?"

"Mom? Can I play games on the computer?"

"Mom? Can I watch a movie?"

All day long I hear those questions over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again.

And then all over again. Gah!

Stinkin' winter.

And I might or might not be confessing that the time my children spend watching movies may or may not have increased just a teensy bit since Hubby signed up for Netfilx.

Of course, that all depends on your definition of "teensy".

*awkward moment of avoiding eye contact*  Eh hem.....

Still despite the "teensy" bit of extra time the kids may or may not be spending in front of the new big screen or on the kindle, they do have to work for it.... most of the time, and they know it.

"Mom? What jobs can I do so I can play games on your kindle?"

"Mom? What can I clean up so I can watch a movie?"

"Mom? You are so pretty and nice and the bestest mommy ever and I love you so much..... Can I play a game on the computer?"

Sly little buggers.

I confess I've never had a chore chart. I confess that I've never been very consistent at making them do a set job every day. And yes, my house does tend to be in some sort of constant disarray.... or total annihilation.  But still, we are a family and we work together, and my children know what is expected of them when we announce that it's time to clean up.

It would seem I have raised a few eyebrows when I've told people what my children do/have done in the way of cleaning.

Yes, they have cleaned the bathroom before. (even if I have to go back and clean it up again later)

Yes, they have cleared and wiped down the counters and tables. (even though they leave streaks... I hate streaks)

Yes, they have helped with the dishes. (although secretly I dread it because they always get everything so wet)

Yes, they have swept the floor. (even if they stink at it)

Yes, they LOVE to mop the floor. (I think this is their favorite chore)

Yes, they have wiped down the cabinets, and the sliding glass door, and the windows, and dusted the blinds, and vacuumed, and helped me load and unload the laundry.

I don't mind handing my children a spray bottle of cleaner and tell them to go at it! Mostly because all my cleaners use natural solutions instead of chemicals, and they only cost me about 95 cents a bottle.... thankfully. You'd be amazed at how much children love to spray things. Especially each other.

But there is one chore that seems to be universally despised by my children: folding the laundry.

Well heaven sakes, join the club.

And YES, I DO have them help me fold and put away their clothes. Even the two-year old.

Sure they stink at it and sure their clothes might not be perfectly folded and lined up color-coordinated in their closets. But I am a firm believer that children are never too young to start learning, especially the value of work.

If my children have the time and capability to spend hours playing outside, or hours sitting in front of a television, then they darn-well can spend an hour here and there developing a sense of accomplishment at the end of a job.

Wait... did I just say "hours in front of a television"? I mean, err.. *cough* not that I am actually admitting to such a thing mind you....


Well, Friday, Joseph was begging and begging to play a game on my kindle and so I gave him a choice. He could either do three jobs that I would assign him (usually it's something like, picking up the living room, or making their bed, or taking out the trash) or, he could fold all the laundry on the couch. There were three loads in a big ole' heap.

'Cause I'm awesome like that.

He chose the laundry. Fine.

It wasn't five minutes into the job when the whining set in. It's too hard, I need help! I can't do it! I changed my mind!

But like any good mean mommy would do, I told him that he had made his choice and he needs to see his job through to the end.

About five minutes later I hear, "Mooooom! I'm all dooooone!"

What!? No way. Something was so wrong here. Or he found a magic wand, which I would totally have confiscated for my own selfish purposes... lovingly of course.

I walk into the living room sure enough, all the laundry was gone!

It had all been thrown into boxes and hid in his room.

Haha! Like he actually thought I would fall for that one.

Wait, not quite sure how that reflects on what he thinks of me....

Anyway, I made him pull them all back out and start over. Oh the whining! He wanted me to help and usually I do. But for some reason I really felt like this time, he needed to know how to complete a job without my help from start to finish and experience that sense of accomplishment.

And no. I don't think five and a half years old is too young for such a thing.

Finally Jacob and Alayna decided they wanted to play games too and soon the three of them were going at it to get the job done.

I had told them to fold everything nice and set the clothes in piles and I would help them put everything away.

I left them to their own devices and about ten minutes later I hear, "Mooooommmm!! Claira's jammies and stuck on the fan!!"

What the.....

Apparently, they had been playing toss the clothes, rather then fold the clothes. Not a thing had been folded.

And yes, I intend to dust my fans now. Gross.

I reminded them that they didn't have to fold the laundry but since we had made a deal, that would mean no games either. Well, that sure got them back to work. When I came back to check on them a bit later, this is what I found.

I'm referring to the laundry on the floor, not Alayna's hand down her pants. Just to clarify.

Some of the clothes were folded, some were laid out flat, and some were just tossed into piles. But they were trying, and that's all that mattered to me.

When the couch was finally emptied... onto the floor, (whatever) I helped them put all the clothes away and handed over the kindle.

Perhaps Joseph didn't learn anything from the experience, but here's to hoping that next time, a job won't feel quite so overwhelming, that it is doable, and he can complete it.

Okay I lied. This whole post was about how I got my children to fold all the laundry for me. MWAHAHAHA!!

Oh come on... I'm kidding!!!


10 super cool people speak:

Amy said...

This is awesome and I completely agree. You're NEVER too young. I worked day care once when I was a teenager and once when I was cleaning up I asked one of the kids to help me by sweeping. She didn't know how. A 7 (8? 9? Can't remember) year old didn't know how to use a broom. I said "Doesn't your Mom have you do chores at home?" She said no. I was shocked.

Child labor. It's why we have kids, isn't it? That's what my mom always said when we whined about having to do the dishes.

Larsen said...

I couldn't agree more.

I made Cate load the dirty dishes. You probably heard her.

Didn't you?

Thought so.
You just didn't know it was her.

Sue said...

I also think it's good to start them young...and they are usually a lot more willing at that age, too!

(Thanks for clarifying that part about the hand in the pants.)


tomiannie said...

This cracked me up. I have a very vivid memory of myself (age 7 or 8) and my little brother, supposed to be folding laundry, but really having a throwing-laundry-at-each-other war, resulting in something very similar to the last pic. Ah, good times. My kids are workers, too, much to their chagrin.

Kazzy said...

I always found it hard when they were little to let them do jobs. Ugh... I always wanted it done right so I robbed them of the chance. Bad me!

Jocelyn Christensen said...

Ha ha! Sounds about right! :)

Garvin Smith said...

It's not really whining. It's more like "weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth!"

Do you remember when we raked the front two acres of our yard? All my children thought it would be so much fun to help daddy rake . . . for about fifteen minutes. Do you remember that we finished the job . . . days later?

Mama Smith said...

If we did ONE THING RIGHT with all of you children...it was the development of a "work ethic"...How would you be, today, Sarah Serene, if you didn't learn how to "rake those two acres" your dad wrote about? (smile)

the Damsel in Dis Dress said...


Now that I'm "old" and have a couple of grandkids, it's even worse. I didn't think any kid could be more addicted to "screens" than my son...but HIS son is. When he comes to see Grandmama, he will hug me...long enough to frisk me for my smartphone.

Charlotte said...

My kids are always in charge of their own laundry. Which means my playroom (where we fold) always looks like that. I think some kids have gone MONTHS living off of clean clothes they pick up off the floor.

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