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.