Chores! Yuck! Chores by definition is an unpleasant but necessary task. Unpleasant but necessary? That instantly puts a negative spin on cleaning, doesn’t it? Reading that definition doesn’t make you excited about having to do these “necessary” tasks. Who defines these things? A parent must have come up with this definition for sure.
My ex-husband is very strict about chores when it comes to our two children. He is always on their case about doing their chores, not only that but he expects things to be cleaned and done to his specifications. (You see why I divorced him?) Haha just playing! I, on the other hand, am not a strict parent when it comes to chores. I used to be extremely OCD about how things were cleaned and how it was put away. My OCD was so bad that I didn’t want anyone to do anything. I WILL do it all, I vowed! And I did everything, for my daughter mostly. She was my first child, so my OCD was the worst with her. Her toys had to be picked up and put away in a specific order, so I did it. As she got older, she didn’t know how to clean, and she didn’t like to do it. I had to give up the control of needing it to be done my way and just allow her to clean her room in her way, put her clothes away however she wants to, as long as they are put away, right?
I didn’t like other people to do my dishes; I was super OCD about my dishes. So, I will do them. I am the one that wanted things done a certain way so I will just do them. How crazy was I? I had to change my thinking to change my OCD tendencies, to allow others to help me. Instead of thinking about the food that gets left on SOME of the dishes when I allow other people to do them. I thought about all the dishes that got done without food on them. All those clean dishes that I didn’t do. So what, if a few dishes still have food; at least I only have to do these few instead of that entire pile.
I would clean my house from top to bottom, and a child or two would come blowing through like an F5 tornado, destroying everything I had just cleaned up in their path. I realize that is a bit dramatic, but to my OCD tendencies, that is what it felt like. It took me years to learn to be grateful for the mess, to just let it be and to just let them be kids and have some fun. LIFE is not about cleaning and having a clean house and having everything in order; it is about having fun and living life to the fullest and making fun memories, not memories of me nagging and bitching about CHORES!
This got me thinking even more if we didn’t put a negative spin on chores, to begin with, if we didn’t set these expectations on our children on how we want things done would chores be that big of a chore? So I took to Facebook, and I put out a poll. I wanted to know who was forced to do chores and who wasn’t and how that has played a role into, their adulthood. I was surprised to see the results; there were a lot more positive results around chores then I thought. I also saw the negative side as well, and that is when I started to see a pattern. If a child’s parents associated chores with something positive, that person grew up having a positive mindset around chores. That person actually liked, enjoyed, doing chores. Those people found joy and pride and felt accomplished when a chore was completed. Some people felt cleansed, felt that chores release negativity in their homes. Other women wrote in and were just as OCD as me or worse. One woman wrote in saying that if she didn’t stop her OCD tendencies, her son would grow up and not know how to do anything because she does EVERYTHING for her son and I mean EVERYTHING. She also thinks this is why he doesn’t take care of his things because she has never taught him how to take care of them and put them away. I mean how many of us can relate to this? I know I sure can! Other’s wrote in stating that their parents used choirs as a form of punishment. When I read this, I realized that I do that as well and immediately felt guilty for putting such a negative spin on chores. No wonder it is such a fight to get my kids to do things around the house………
At the end of the day putting a negative spin on anything doesn’t make people, especially children, teenagers want to do chores. If you want them to help out around the house or your business or whatever it is, you have to make it fun, make it a positive experience so that your children will grow up with that positive mindset around chores. Your children will pass down that pride, that joy, that excitement, that feeling of accomplishment when that task is done to their children and so on. You have to find your way of making it fun for you and your family. I no longer nag my children about chores, I no longer expect things to be done to my expectations because I changed my thinking, the way I look at the situation. Now if my children want something, daughter wants her nails did, one of my three sons wants a new video game or some pack thing that goes with the game I make them work for that thing that they want. We make deals, we negotiate terms, I set guidelines, and when they are done working for that thing, they are so excited and have that feeling of joy, and accomplishment and pride. One of my sons would brag about how he finished a chore without me or anyone else having to remind him. Things are not perfect, my house is messy more then it is clean, but there are four kids, laughing and playing, just being kids and enjoying their lives while they are young and wild and free. Look at the situation through the eyes of love and gratitude and see how things start to change.
Thank you for taking the time to read, I hope you enjoyed this post.
Drop a comment and tell me how you feel about chores!