Wednesday, June 18, 2008


If you were to walk into my house right now and noticed the vacuum lines on my carpet (everyone notices, don't they?), you would think that a drunken sailor must of been hired to clean my carpets...

Close, but it was actually Bobcat.

This was his first whirl with my precious. It is somewhat heavy for the little guy, and he had to find his own technique for maneuvering it... but all in all he did a good job and he was pleased with his work.

Side note: If you are pleased with your work, you're more likely to continue on right... it's half the battle if you will.

Our kids have jobs around the house. First it's school! That will always be the priority... but since they live in the household they are required to pitch in (with out monetary reimbursement). They've always had to pick up after themselves. Maybe once or twice have I actually had to go behind them and pick up their toys. We made that important from the time we brought them home. We also worked on the notion of 'put it away when you are done with it', this way clean-up was never more than a few toys at any given time (also going from one to the next just because has always annoyed me... pick something and play with it for crying out loud).

We've since moved on to putting away laundry. I fold and hang it in my room, then call to them and they come and retrieve their items and put them away... this has been a huge help when it comes to laundry time! Then we got a front load washer, and now I can ask them to unload the washer and put it into the dryer... and from the dryer they can bring it to my room. I still don't like laundry, but with their help it makes it easier to manage.

And in the last year we've added even more responsibilities to their plate, and they actually seem to thrive on their jobs. In the mornings Bobcat and Bubba team up getting the dogs outside (one opens kennel doors, the other mans the backdoor). After breakfast Bobcat takes to dog bowls back out to the garage, and brings the dogs in. Bubba gets the dirty laundry basket out of my bathroom and dumps into the laundry room, and empties the little trashcans around the house (bathroom cans). And in the evenings Bobcat and Bubba load the dinner dishes into the dishwasher, and I've even shown Bobcat how to put the soap in and set it (I love having a delay feature on there!).

If you've noticed, Snookie doesn't seem to have any jobs. We're working on that, he mainly helps me with laundry... that's about his level (Mommy's little helper).

Why am I saying all of this... well first, I'm always so amazed at how old they are getting, and how well they take on the challenge (and the satisfaction they have with themselves when they help me out)... but also to vent a little. I see and hear moms all over the web and in my real life complain about how tired they are, and what a mess their houses are. Usually after a few questions I find out that their children don't help out (at all, or very little). Moms think that their kids aren't capable, or shouldn't be bothered with such menial work... um, they live in the house and contribute to the chaos and so therefore should help keep it tidy. I think a pitfall for a lot of moms (well both moms and dads) is not seeing their children for how old they really are. It is interesting to watch families with small children who could be doing more (jobs, behavior, etc.), but aren't because the expectation isn't there. We did have an advantage, I think, in this area because when we brought the boys home they could walk, talk, and understand us (for the most part). We never had to figure out the earliest stages of life, and what they were capable of.

Advice: Set the bar HIGH! They want to please you, and they will work to reach that goal if they know that you will be overjoyed by their success! When it comes to setting up jobs for the kids, know that it will take a little time in the beginning... but it is so worth it when they get the hang of it. And (this one is hard for me) perfection isn't going to be achieved, but let them work on it anyway.

And no, Bobcat will not be taking over vacuuming duties (it is part of my cleaning therapy :-)... but will from time to time get to that job for me.


La Familia said...

Great post. I'll be linking it under Couple's Meeting Material.

nicole said...

We have given our kids more jobs recently too. I could probably still let them do more, but for now what they are doing is helpful. Abandoning the idea that it will be done just the way I want it has definitely been hard for me. It is such a pleasure to know I can ask them to unload the dishwasher and vacuum the kitchen though. Of course, that means fewre excuses from me about not getting other jobs done. ;-)