My kids don't have many regular chores at our house. They're 8 and 5 and, in my self-righteous opinion that spares no judgement, we are woefully behind. It's one of those things that might expose me as a fraud, just what do I think I'm peddling here when I don't even have my own house in order? This is one of the most common loops that runs in my head- some version of just who do you think you are? I speak truth to pain as best I can: I am who I am , I am not what I do.
With thinking calmed and opening, I can look at the broader picture. What keeps me from making chores a regular thing around here? I want the kids to have a different view of chores, to see them as a source of pride in our home, and I mostly think of chores as drudgery myself. See the conflict? I spent most of the day yesterday doing laundry, and while there is a sort of satisfaction in getting the monsterous pile down it wasn't enough to think I'd wasted a lovely day inside doing laundry. So I want them to love something that I find fun-sucking.
Maybe it wouldn't take me all day if I had some help. Asking for help is so important! It often isn't until I do ask for help that I notice what a huge work load I've taken on. I could just avoid the hassle by doing it myself. This thought didn't get its start in my parenting years, but it sure does wreak havoc. But the asking...With an 8 and 5 yr old, I often have to ask and then step out to my happy place for a bit while they pitch their fits. That's the ideal, other times I match their fit with my own- the one that has been bubbling inside about how much I do around here and how little they notice. Yesterday, I was clear-headed and found the words, "I will wash, fold and put your clothes in your baskets for you. I want you to collect your baskets and put your clothes in their drawers. When your baskets are full of dirty laundry, I want you to bring them to the laundry room" There was griping. I found the words, " I understand that you don't want to do it. Think about what you want more: not putting your clothes away or not being able to find clean clothes when you want to go play or go to school?" They muscled their laundry baskets up to their rooms. And you know what? It's what I needed to hear too- accept the things you cannot change and change the things you can.
We don't currently have a focused chores plan at my house. I'm not proud of that, still I'm willing to let that thinking go so that all kinds of creative space opens up for me to develop a plan and reclaim that energy! Worry, doubt, second-guessing, dread, resentment, all drain my energy far more than running loads of laundry. And let's not confuse getting creative with coming up with a pinterest-worthy post about chores in our house, Harper. Great reminder, Voice or Reason! Yes, creativity is an opening to possibility and a spark for learning so it begins as inner work. Share the results if you want to, the product, it's just not the place to start. I'm going to make some notes today about the common spaces we share and the common needs we have in our house and start imagining ways the kids can participate. And I'm going to find places to give them credit for what they already do, my husband and me too, because really nothing is wrong. We are just growing and learning together.
What chores plan is working in your house? I'd love your inspiration! Please share in the comments space below.