Monday, September 19, 2011
The secret life of a pretend housewife: Episode 3
'Failing at getting kids to do chores' is the title of this episode. (And btw. Wow. Episode 3. This is very unlike me.)
One of the common assumptions about large families is that of course my children will help me. That by somehow being in a largish family, their desire to serve one another will be stronger than other kids. It's not true. They're as lazy and self focused as everyone else.
So I still have to work hard to get them to help out and contribute. Which is a problem, when you're as haphazard and disorganised as me. So they'll make their beds diligently for a few weeks and then I'll run out of 'hassle-puff' (as I call it) and the whole thing collapses again.
Is it possible to get them to do housework without the charts and chore list? I think so. As they've got older it's become a norm that if Mum asks for help, you need to be obedient and contribute. So they do actually do lots of housework, but it still requires me to get them moving on it.
I'm sure there are many good parents who would think this is a hopelessly, unstructured system (as I often feel it is). But more recently I've had various children come into the kitchen when I'm looking (and sounding) stressed out at dinner time asking if they can help. Or my 7yo just set the table for us last night - unprompted. It's not all bad. But there are still issues with the kids who manage to get away with doing nothing. The upside of being in a big family - easier to hide and not be noticed if you just keep quiet!
I think next week will be the end of my 'series'. I'm exhausted by all this structure!