I am a firm believer in child labor. Not only does it help keep our house tidy, but when my kids are employed in meaningful service they have overwhelmingly better attitudes than when left to entertain themselves in hour upon hour of free time. We develop a camaraderie born of common accomplishment and respect for work done. Our home is happier when we are busy little bees.
Yet despite my affirmation of faith in child labor, I had again slipped back into the "Mom does it all and the kids just have fun" mode, which always degenerates into "Mom's really ticked and nothing gets done".
Let's face it even when you're on top of the housekeeping, everything can go downhill in a matter of hours, maybe even minutes. (Whoever said the world's in a state of continual improvement hasn't seen our family room after an afternoon of free-play.) But when you haven't made the littles toe the line on picking up after themselves and being active members of the household for even a short amount of time they quickly turn into very untidy selfish little beasts!
My poor husband was tired of having to get out of the car and move all the bikes and scooters to pull into the garage. He was tired of having to hurdle the boots and coats once he shoved open the door. I was tired of going to bed tripping over mounds of Legos and getting up searching for the coffee pot amid the stacks of school books and art papers. And we were both extremely irritated at the bickering and complaining that was increasingly flowing out of our children's mouths. This was the week to pull in the slack and get back to work.
A few years back a friend of mine gave me a copy of a chore chart called My "Check Me Out" List. It is the best chart I've seen because it not only asks the child if he's accomplished his tasks, but how his heart was in the process. It asks both "Did I make my bed neatly?" and "Did I guard my tongue (words)?". "Did I pick up all my clothes and things?" and "Did I honor and obey my parents?". We've modified the chart to suit our family's needs and have affixed one for each child on the bedroom doors. If you'd like one for your family, email me and I'll send one to you.
We've worked hard the last two days, and everyone's been much happier. My kitchen counters are clear, their are no coats in the doorway, and no Legos on the floor. But best of all, we've spoken to each other in much kinder tones and actually wanted to be together. It truly is "good for a man that he should bear the yoke in his youth" Lam. 3:27.