Chores Are a Chore

Does it make any sense to you why a child that’s been responsible for a certain chore for, say, seven years suddenly can’t remember how to do it?

Here and there I’d find a dirty dish in the cupboard, some crumbs on the floor or a cup on the breadboard that was forgotten.  No big deal.  Now, the garbage is overflowing and recyclable items are stacking up around the receptacle they go in which is also at maximum capacity.  The stove looks like something blew up and died on it.  Come on!

‘Doing the dishes’ mainly involves loading and unloading the dishwasher.  But I also expect the sink to be cleaned, the counters wiped down and the floor swept.  That’s total child slavery, I know.

Does it get done?  No.  Not unless I tell them every single night that I expect these things to get done.

So now the kitchen and the rest of the house have this general ‘scuzziness’ feel to it because this laziness has bred and all chores by children have been infected.

‘Pick up after yourself when you get up from the table’ now means only pick up your plate, utensils and cup but go ahead and leave food and crumbs on the table and floor.  In fact, ground it in.  Then move one chair over for your next meal and repeat.

‘Tidy your room’ means create a large pile of dirty clothes and stuff the toys under the bed perhaps hoping that Momma will faint at the site of the laundry and not see the cat digging his way out from beneath the bed where you inadvertently buried him.

‘Clean the bathroom’ means….  I don’t know what it means anymore unless it’s code for go in there and stare at yourself in the mirror for thirty minutes, flush the toilet and then come out.

“You cleaned this?”

“Yes?” a forlorn child asks.

“With what?  A sweaty undershirt?”

And then, every single child when held accountable gives me this completely blank stare.  We just look at each other for a few moments not saying anything.  And then I get, “Can I go now?”

“Newsflash!  You actually have to use cleaning products and water to clean things in here and toothpaste is not a sink cleanser even if you can make bubbles with it.  And you people out there rotating dirty dishes!  I want them cleaned or I will take every single dish out of every single cupboard and you will wash them all by hand.

“And you, Crumb Boy.  Here’s a broom and dustpan.  Get to it.”

“But it’s too hard!”

“So was giving birth to you.  Now get busy.”

Man, it’s a chore getting these kids to do their chores.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • I love that line — “So was giving birth to you. Now get busy.” I’m going to have to remember that one! I’m excited that one of my children is finally old enough to really start being a help around the house. I’m looking forward to the day with they are all old enough to help clean up the messes that they make on a daily basis.

  • anitamarie

    LisaMarie: unfortunately, that’s about the time you’re sad because they are moving out!

  • Cooky642

    Lisamarie, you are obviously a very young mother. Take heart, honey: you’ll get older…..and grayer….and more hoarse…..and more…..never mind. By the time they are old enough to help clean up the messes they make on a daily basis, they’ve lost all enthusiasm they ever had for the task. And, Anitamarie, they only take responsibility for cleanup AFTER they move out and have their own place. That’s when you hear, “boy, you sure weren’t much for cleaning up the place when we were kids!” (P.S. That’s why homocide is illegal!)

  • Bruce Roeder

    Here’s an approach:

    These tasks are not hard work when we realize they are simply training us to give of ourselves for others.

    So don’t even call them chores, call them gifts — that’s what they are.

    Of course you have to assign certain ones to certain children in the family, but so what? We do the same with Christmas gifts.

    We should also thank children for giving them. Even when they are done poorly.

    When we learn to give them freely, then we are not far from the Kingdom.