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Wednesday, February 15, 2006


The topic for today is chores. Carmen has already had her post up for most of the day, obviously she is way more organized than I am.

I have been thinking about this topic, and avoiding writing about, because I am a total failure at implementing any sort of chore system. I should. I want to. But the reality is that 1) I am a pushover, 2) I am a perfectionist, and 3) It is just usually easier and more efficient to do it myself.

In theory, the children age 5 and over are supposed to clean their rooms, make their bed, bring their dirty laundry downstairs in their basket when I request it, and put their own clean, folded laundry away. They are supposed to clean their own spot off at the table and put their dishes in the sink.

In reality, they whine and moan and generally act like they are living in a factory shackled to a bench and forced to sew the Kathie Lee Gifford clothing line for Walmart.

Every night we have what I call "chore time" after we eat dinner. I should rename it screaming and crying time, because that is mostly what goes on. The house is divided into the areas we use everyday. Tv room/breakfast room, mudroom/back bathroom, kitchen, diningroom/sunroom, foyer/staircase/front bathroom. Whoever is on kitchen duty "helps" me in the kitchen cleaning up after dinner. I randomly assign each kid one of the five areas. We have long ago gone over what is expected of each area.

For example, cleaning either of the downstairs bathrooms involves: using the clorox cleaning wipes to clean the toilet... the entire outside of the toilet, use the brush inside the toilet, clean the sink with a clorox cleaning wipe, use windex on the mirror and faucets, use a sponge to clean the bathroom floor around the toilet-- since the boys seem to think that is part of the peeing area, clean off the light switch, and finish up by spraying doorknobs and handles with Lysol and finally sweep the floor.

What I think actually happens: they walk into the bathroom, turn the water in the sink on full blast so that it splashes everywhere, slosh some of it around, make faces at themselves in the mirror and then empty the can of Lysol into the air.

And so it goes.

I am torn about the whole chore issue. On one hand, I would like them to have daily chores and perhaps give them some sort of allowance. On the other hand I don't like the coercive aspect of tying their money to chores and the inevitable angst of being forced to with hold some of their allowance for chores that were not completed up to my standard. On the other other hand, I am a mother of course I have more than two, I feel like they pitch in when asked and that is more important than being tied to some sort of schedule that would stress us all out.

So basically in my house the chores are all mine and I delegate them when I feel like I haven't fulfilled my yelling quota for the day.

As with every other week thus far, if you have an opinion on chores you would like to share, leave a link in the comments section that we can all share./


Blogger Cathy said...

My house gets scrubbed when company comes and I get hysterical. Otherwise I spend all my days trying to keep up with laundry and just putting things away over and over again.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Heth said...

I'm with Cathy.

My kids have some chores, no allowance.

I love what you think actually happens when they are supposed to be cleaning the bathroom. Too funny.

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Lori said...

We do both allowance and cash for chores. There are some jobs he has to do just because he's part of the family and there are other things he gets paid (25 cents) to do. He's a teenager so he's not making gas money or anything, but it helps to teach him that if you want cash you must work for it.

5:12 PM  
Blogger cmhl said...

I wish I could figure this out--- I have such fabulous chore intentions (delegation, etc), but usually end up doing it myself. sigh.

5:18 PM  
Blogger speckledpup said...

I only have four.
I have made them do chores from the time they walk.
No allowance.
We give money as money is needed.
However, you live here, you work.

They iron. (yes I said iron.)
They cook.
They make their beds.
They vacuum...
dishes, whatever.
I mostly do the laundry, but they all know how to.

My two oldest are on their own. They have both written me a card thanking me for making it so easy for them when they moved out. They have no culture shock. They know how to keep the house. How to keep their clothes presentable. How to feed themselves and .... how to do it better than their girlfriends...
chuckle chuckle.

Make them do chores. Make them do it over if they didn't do it right.

From personal experience I tell you...they WILL thank you for it.

But wear earplugs right now...

5:38 PM  
Blogger "D" said...

I like speckledpups response. My 16 yr old can keep a house and she knows how to pack one up to move also (and unpack too!). My son cleans as well as you think your kids do (splashing of water and spraying of air) but I keep on him to keep doing's good to have little helpers!

5:52 PM  
Blogger aka_Meritt said...

Mine have some chores... (feed the cats, do kitty litter, do dishes, clean the kitchen, put your clothes away, clean the shared kids bathroom and clean your room).

Although they do have to make sure the cats are fed everyday, the clean rooms, bathroom, etc. doesn't happen on any regular basis. LOL. They are pretty good about the 'dishes' but not the rest of the kitchen. I do that.

No allowance... that's just being part of a 'famnily'. (I don't get an allowance either, it's fair! LOL).

But then we do give them money sometimes for a movie or bowling for the older ones, or buying "Floam" or something coveted for the little one. As for their 'real' money they get that for birthdays and for what my son calls "my teeth money!" (toothfairy). LOL.

No allowance here though.

5:53 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

That's pretty much what happens here too.

5:55 PM  
Anonymous Blairzoo said...

My kids have a few basic chores they do every day, but I wish I was better about getting them to do more. I'm SO grateful that they do the ones they do, I'm afraid to rock the chore boat. Every morning before they leave for school (7:40ish), each of the 3 big kids does one of the following;
-unload the dishwasher
-pick up the living room
-take trash out and bring dirty laundry down

Frankly, the living room pick up is a joke as they take everything, including clothes, trash etc., and stuff it all into the toy bins. Makes me furious, but never enough time to deal with it in the am and then forget later in the day.

At dinner time, each kid has to either, set the table, clear it after dinner, or unload the dishwasher (hurray! most days I never have to do that one!)I REALLY need to add in loading the dirty dishes, as they all need to learn it. I'm just way too tired by that time of day to put up with all the arguing and fighting about it. Maybe next year I'll add the soon to be 6 yo to the chart and create some new jobs. Yes, I actually have charts posted for the am and pm chores.

I'm SO glad that I started the dish thing years ago, because now they all just do it without a fight...non-negotiable and really just part of our day. And I never have to unload. Did I mention how glad I am about that?

Weekends they are supposed to clean their rooms. Ha ha. And sometimes dh or I will hand out chores for go vacuum upstairs, you clean the basement, etc. It's nice to have a vaccum done by someone else some days, but I am a perfectionist too, and hate the way they mop ("I only had to wring it out twice for the whole kitchen", and, "I don't need to carry the bucket of soapy water upstairs with mop will do the whole bathroom" NOT!) clean bathrooms, etc. But some days it's better than nothing. Oh, and I do the laundry and sort it into bins but they are supposed to fold and put away, which they generally don't. As long as I don't have to look at it, or re-wash it because it sat on their floor, I'm not too bothered, but I do make them put it away every Sat.

It's an interesting thing these chores. I know some families that do WAY more than my kids, and other that don't have their kids do anything, and they still get big fat allowances. We don't give them....contributing to the household upkeep is part of being in a family in my book.

7:00 PM  
Blogger blackbird said...

We have never had chores or allowance.
I do expect them to be able to keep their rooms somewhat tidy but I also clean their rooms --
I stopped cleaning Oldest's room when he was about 13 and that was a mistake as it got disgusting and he never minded...I minded.
Somehow they realized that it was polite to bring their dishes to the sink, carry laundry to the basement and help pick up when asked.
And I realized that it was nice for them to have a few dollars in their pockets when they were out with friends, and see to it that they do.

I like your attitude.
I like that you have a big housefull of kids and don't preach to your readers about how perfect everything is --
my children are pretty much grown, there is no real draw for me to read a 'parenting blog' or a blog about little ones and yet I always enjoy reading yours.


8:29 PM  
Blogger Chuck Pierce said...

I posted about our 6 and their tortured life on my blog...

8:42 PM  
Blogger Carmen said...

Well, you KNOW that I don't have it all figured out.

I'm with you on the perfectionist thing, lol.

9:21 PM  
Blogger eko said...

My chores were cleaning the bathroom and unloading the dishwasher. It took me about four hours to unload (or load) - NO kidding. And back in my day there was the highly toxic foaming lysol (which is probably still made but I won't have in my home) and I would spray the bathroom countertops - they were red in one, black (yes, black) in another - and I would make artistic designs for hours :P

My mom checked up on us - but we definitely never got it perfect. She was a perfectionist and probably went around after us - never spent time with us - perfect/clean home - but I didn't know my mother. (Until years later)...

10:43 PM  
Blogger moe said...

I love reading your blog. I figure if you can home-school 7 I can survive 5! Here's how we manage chores work at home mom at our house

10:55 PM  
Blogger deputyswife said...

Right now, if I give my two older ones (4 & 5) a chore, they think it is fabulous. Last week, I had them cleaning the bottom kitchen cabinets. I swear they acted like I gave them the entire Thomas the Train set. I am undecided how I am going to handle this as they get older.

On the flip side, I grew up choreless. Gasp! My mom catered to my every need. Almost. But, she took care of everything. Even made my bed everyday. Now, you would think I would be a mess in my adult life. Actually, the opposite. I am just like her. I think she did this (me too) because she couldn't stand not having it done her way.

12:18 AM  
Blogger Bickler3 said...

My thought is this...if your kids don't do chores then when do they learn how to take care of themselves? When they are on thier own....and they have never had to do the laundry..humm... moms house??
I have a list for my kids, it consists of Personal responsibilities, family responsobilities then a list of things they can do to earn money. I also have that money broke down into parts, saving, giving, spending. We have to teach our kids these things!! They are a part of a family and everyone should pitch in and help!! It's a pain at first, showing them what is expected and how to accomplish it can be tiring, but in the long run best for everyone !! I know that if anything happens to me my oldest can handle most anything on her own, we do it together for a while then I let her take it over...then we switch around so no one is always stuck with the crap jobs !! It really is worth the time!

12:21 AM  
Anonymous Tammie said...

Oh my. I grew up on a farm and we ALWAYS had chores. I can't imagine you being the only person who does the work around there. Although I don't have kids, I do believe that chores do instill responsibility and pride in a child, as least they did for me.
My chores as a kid? Feeding the pigs and cows (and sometimes, there were dozens), feed the chickens and help butcher them when needed (and there were lots of chickens), clean the barns and henhouses, help my parents cut meat, make sausage, and then clean up after we were done (this would take hours), as well as do work inside the house (dishes, cleaning, etc).
Yes, my sister and I whined at first, but we had a choice: either help out and do chores, or find another place to live (which isn't easy when you are seven). I HATED doing chores somedays: i wanted to play or go to a friends house, but I knew I had to do it and there would be some sort of purpose behind it. We did get an allowance: $5.00 a week each, which probably was slave wages, but at the time, it seemed like alot.
Today, I am grateful that my parents made me do chores as a kid. And the purpose? When I was 35, I had to do chores all the time, as my dad got cancer and eventually died. Taking care of the farm and my dad would have been impossible had I not had that foundation as a kid.

1:20 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Posted the details of my chldren's indenture o my blog.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Jody said...

I posted mine!

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Scooby said...

I have three daughters and all of them have chores - my oldest is 14 and she does all her own laundry (and mine too if I am really sick or something). She can cook basic meals etc. They all hustle and bustle around the house doing their morning routines and their bedrooms MUST be clean. I dont do it for them - they do it over and over until its presentable.

We do allowance but it has nothing to do with chores. Hey I gave birth to you, feed you, shelter and clothe you. You live here so you WORK with the rest of us. Gosh I am a meanie.

In addition, we are currently preparing to move and my 14 year old is packing her own room. The only rule is that she has to pack it well because it if breaks its her fault. ;o)

1:45 PM  
Blogger DollyMama said...

Chores yes, payment for it, NO. :) Nobody pays me for doing my chores, and I detest it when children say "How much am I gettin paid for THIS?!" ugh.

Money stuff might be a good topic for next Wed. Eh?

3:35 PM  
Blogger Goddess said...

I only have two children,but as a Single Mom, and admittly, OCD, I find that it is easier to clean everything myself as well. But, I will say this..... I have been on both of them since they could pull toys out that they need to put them back, and of course, they didnt listen. Well, my now 7 year old has blown my mind. For the last month, she has cleaned her room EVERYDAY, made her bed, and basically, taken care of all of her things. It is amazing. Now, if only the 4 year old was at that point in her life.....

3:21 PM  
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10:26 PM  
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9:42 PM  

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