Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Bit of a Quandry

You know, I go back and forth.

I just finished cleaning up the kitchen. This included gathering all the leftover dishes in the family room -- along with all the various pieces of clothing and single socks and paper and trash. Wrappers, junk mail, that sort of thing.

It also included putting the remains of a cake the size of Texas into a plastic container and then walking out to the trash thingy to throw the massive cardboard container away. The cake was leftover from a church thing on Sunday.

It took about 30-35 minutes total to clean all that up and load the dishwasher and wash the dishes that 1-came out of the dishwasher still with stuff on them because my girls can't understand that you should scrape off the "big chunks," and 2-because sometimes it's not worth trying to load everything into the dishwasher, and some things I just wash by hand, like wooden handled things and pots and pans.

ANYWAY -- it's really pretty easy for me to get that stuff done in the mornings. While I hate waking up to a kitchen that needs cleaning, I do have the time to do it. The house is my area -- my responsibility in the family is to keep it running smoothly and keep it relatively clean. Doing these things keeps me from being really lazy.

I use the term "relatively" very loosely when combined with the term "clean."

The girls have chores, and they are required to do them because they live here. When you live somewhere, you get to share in the upkeep of the place in which you live.

We only have 3 major chores -- those being "Kitchen," "Floors," and "Baths." Obviously the floors are just sweeping and mopping, and bath is making sure the bathrooms are clean.

In my mind, these are simple things. While it took me 35 minutes to clean up the kitchen this morning, it would likely take two people half that time. And they'd enjoy some company while doing it. Many hands make light work and all that.

The other things go pretty quickly too. We have hardwood floors in the entire downstairs, so the only thing you have to vacuum is the area run in the family room. I have Swiffers -- the vac and the mop -- for the rest. It goes pretty fast.

All this to say that really -- none of this stuff takes very long to do.

My children aren't little anymore. They are teenagers on their way out into the world. They've had chores all their lives. They know what it means to contribute to a family. They will soon learn that when they don't pick up after themselves, no one else will. They keep their rooms pretty clean. They are also very busy people with sports, jobs, friends, school.

I, on the other hand, am home all day. I have time to do the chores. And it's really my job ultimately anyway. I don't want to be treated like the maid, but I don't want to overburden everyone else either.

So here's the quandry: should we just throw the chores out the window and be done with all the haggling over who hasn't done theirs?

Or should we keep them in the name of making sure everyone knows that they have a role in the keeping up of our household?

I'm interested to know what you think.


Beachy Mimi said...

Sorry, girls. The chores need to stay. One day you will be the ONLY one there to do them. So, until then...think of all that character you are building in them.

Angela Fehr said...

I don't have teens but a friend of mine with 3 sons was telling me that she does the chores together with her sons and that it is their best conversation time. I'm thinking that having a good conversation with my future teenagers is worth having to wash the dishes by hand.