2.28.2008

The Cleaning Fairies Have LEFT The Building!


They really have.

About a week ago I was visiting my favorite bloggys and I read THIS post from Lara. If you have a minute go over and read it and then come back here. If you don't, let me just tell you that it discusses children and working and doing it together as a family.


I have adopted Lara's motto:

"If mom is working, EVERYONE is working."

And it has been fabulous.

I start doing something and my kids get right to work. They LOVE to help. It started with me telling them that I would have more time to do fun things with them if I wasn't the only one in the house working. If they did things like clean the bathrooms,help with laundry, help with meals, etc that it would free up time for me to have more fun with them. I had to find their currency. My kids love doing things with me. Currently it is sewing. So when we get all of the housework done, we head to the crap...I mean CRAFT room. We have a great time and there is a much better feeling in my house.

My kids had chores before. Each had their assigned task and once it was done, they went on their way. Usually to watch a movie or veg out. All while I was still working and resenting that I was the only one who didn't get a break. They were always happy when they were working and keeping busy. It was once they stopped working that they started bickering or arguing. DH and I don't believe in giving them an allowance as a reward for accomplishing their chores, it is something they have to do because they are members of our family. Lara's insights have taken it to an entirely new level.

I am learning that my children (and my husband) are much more capable of helping me than we all previously thought. Even last night when I was hanging a batch of laundry he came in and helped. I am hoping that it will get to the point where my family can just see what needs to be done and then just does it. I am excitedly optimistic about that prospect.

My children are learning more than just how to work. They are learning that running a household takes time and effort. They are learning that their help is invaluable; that their little piece of the machine helps to make things run more smoothly. They are learning their value in the process.

I no longer clean after they have gone to bed. I get to enjoy my evenings now. That cleaning fairy has left the building and now that I have a taste of the good life, she will never be welcome back.

13 comments:

Tori :) said...

What a great system (for lack of a better word)!!! Thanks for sharing!

Chel said...

You are a woman after my own heart. I think that's why I think you are so awesome!! :)
I loved this!! Thanks!

itybtyfrog said...

Way to re-invent the machine. I hope this continues working for you. I know I need to change the way we do things around here. I think I will use some of these ideas as well.

Do you give your kids allowance?

Blackeyedsue said...

We do give our kids allowance. They get $5 on the 1st and 15th. We use it as a tool to teach them about tithing, saving and spending. They are saving up for things they want. It isn't connected to their jobs in the house. Some days the work load is too much for that and some days not enough.

I don't know if we are right on that or not. I guess we will know when our kids are older and we see how their financal savy is. They are hard little workers so I don't worry too much about it.

Amber said...

I'm on my way to read that post and be inspired (hopefully). I'm trying to come up with a better way to get more cooperation with chores around the house.

Mattsmom said...

Good for you! I am with you on not "paying" the kids for doing house hold jobs. I am really on the fence about how exactly to give them money. I worry that an allowance when they haven't earned it will make them feel like we "owe" them something. How does it work at your house? Any advice (from a more experienced mom) on the subject would be greatly appreciated!

Blackeyedsue said...

mattsmom: I know what you are getting at. We have had quite the quandry about allowance. I guess our one saving grace is that we are not consistent about it. Some months they get it, some months they forget about it. They are young enough that they don't realize that it falls on our paydays. They just get an allowance when we give them some. Most of the time it's when they want something and we ask them if they have saved enough of their allowance. Then we remember to give it to them.

We have worried about the same thing. Where do you draw that line? We don't know. How do you know if you are doing the right thing? We have talked about how when they are teenagers cutting off the allowance completely and having them rely on babysitting money or having them come to us to get $ for things they need and doing bigger chores that need to be done that we don't always get to to earn their money. I am sure we will cross that bridge when they drag us there kicking and screaming.

Right now we are just trying to teach them the concept of saving and tithing. They were always asking for treats at the store. Rather than buying them treats, we asked them if they had brought their $ and if they had saved enough for what they wanted. We wanted them to know that we need our $ for things like groceries, utilites, and other things. Not candy or toys for them. They are learning that the candy bars that are gone in two minutes are not as valuable as the toy they want.

I was raised that you do things in your home because you are a part of the family. You aren't entitled to anything. You have to do your part and you are expected to do your part. Thank you for that Mom and Dad. That was a hugely valuable lesson.

I earned my own money as I got older. I babysat starting at 9 (it was a different world then) and I learned to work hard and saved. My parents gave me a great work ethic.

The Lazy Organizer said...

Way to start with "The Talk". This whole post just gives me chills. It's so exciting to get the kids involved and there are so many rewards. We are eating better now that the kids are helping with the cooking! Imagine that!

Andrea said...

I agree. My 8 and 10 year-olds have been doing jobs around the house for years. There is absolutely no way that I could run this house solo. My 5 year-old has been emptying the dishwasher and cleaning up after his brother (hehe). We debate about the allowance issue also. I want to give them money unrelated to chores. That money will be used for extras (snacks, toys, friends's party gifts, yearbooks, etc). We are not consistent either with allowance, and I struggle with some guilt about not letting them "be kids". I know that it is a true life lesson that I am teaching, it just feels a little uncomfortable sometimes.

You are right. Everyone can have more family time if everyone helps out. And mommy is happier, which is important, too. I even told DH that a man doing housework is very sexy-hopefully he won't catch on :)

Nettie said...

I am always amazed at how much we can get done when we work together as a family. Its the inspiring them to put in a good effort when we do that I struggle with. Thanks for being such a good example!

The Rookie said...

I wish that when the Cleaning Fairies left your place, homeless and pushed out by your fantastic kiddos...they had seen that my house is warm and inviting and in need of a few good cleaning fairies! Especially ones that specialize in laundry.

Stupid cleaning fairies!

The Barber Bunch said...

Found you while surfing Blogger. Very nice Blog. Keep up the good work!

Carolyn

Jeremy said...

Thank goodness for Lara (whoever she is :D). When you wife asked me to rally the troops and clean the house as a family Saturday morning. We did it, from 8:45 a.m. to 12:00 noon. It was a lot of work but the silver lining was that, besides the house getting cleaned, the kids were so busy doing something worthwhile I didn't hear one fight. Our reward? Family breakfast at IHOP.

P.S. Sometimes I forget my comment is supposed to go to my wife and it usually ends up being my own mini-blog. Sweetie, you okay if I parasite your blog? :)