So much more than chores
March 8, 2021
I had chores growing up, and I despised them! As I was doing my chores, I would angrily mumble to myself under my breath so my parents couldn’t hear me, “I will never have my kids do things like this. I am supposed to be playing right now, not working! Why do I have to do all the work?”
Sound familiar? I have many moments where I catch myself, now as an adult, saying or doing things my parents used to; the very thing that I promised myself I would never do. When I realize what I’m doing, I laugh and shake my head with a smile on my face. As a parent, I struggle with whether or not I am being too harsh on my kids or making them do more than what they should be doing at their ages. Am I supposed to let them just play, enjoy life, make fun childhood memories while I do all the work for them? Or am I supposed to be teaching them responsibility by having them do daily chores, making them use their manners, respect their elders all while still having time to play afterwards? I chose the latter of the two.
There is a list of words used to describe parents today, some of which include: helicopter parent, competitive parent, exhausted parent, wine parent, hot mess parent, magazine picture perfect parent, gym parent, career parent, breastfeeding mom, stay at home parent, zen parent, or even free-range parent.
On any given day I probably fit into multiple categories. Days when my kids are arguing about everything under the sun with steam coming out of their ears just because the other one is simply breathing – I probably fit into the wine/exhausted parent category who is about to turn into the Jurassic mom with the fangs, sharp claws and a yell that will wake the neighbors. Yet, each day no matter what category I fall under I always try to teach my kids responsibility, respect, that there are consequences for every action, and to not take anything for granted. My husband and I are trying our very best to teach our children what our parents taught us. Even though we might not have seen the purpose of our parents making us do all those chores when we were younger, we sure see the importance of it and appreciate it now.
I was taught early on in life that you work for what you have. At 13 years old I went around my entire neighborhood mowing lawns and picking weeds to make money to buy the things I wanted such as the higher priced clothes or my boots while saving up for a car. Mowing was not bad, but picking weeds was something I definitely drug my feet on even though I knew I made good money. My friends were out playing together, riding bike or swimming, while I was working. UNFAIR! Or was it? Because of the responsibilities I had, I knew how to solve problems on my own. When the time came to go off to college, I wasn't afraid that I didn’t know how to do certain things. As a parent isn’t that our jobs? To protect. To raise our children to be self-sufficient, confident, knowledgeable, responsible upstanding citizens. I believe it is.
My childhood was amazing. We went on yearly vacations, were very close to all our family, my cousins were my best friends. Making memories was more important to us than anything money could buy. Even though I remember the chores and despised them, they are not what stick out to me about my childhood.
So, our children will continue to have daily inside house chores along with outside farm chores because the truth is this: It is about so much more than just doing your chores. It is about respect. It is about responsibility. It is about pulling your weight. It is about knowing that you are a vital part of the family and will always help each other out. It is about putting others before you. It is about lending a helping hand to everyone. It is about knowing you are not entitled to anything in this world. Everything they have they will appreciate because they had to work their tail off for it. It is about so much more than chores.