Ye olde chore list. It’s right there in the kitchen so everyone can see it, and yet the kids are always asking me where it is.
And, I don’t mean the ones I have to do, but the ones I offload to my children. Worst interns ever. The kids do a terrible job — food particles smear up pans and dishes even after a scrub in the sink, plenty of particulates linger on the furniture after the Swiffer duster sweeps through the house. Yes, I could do these chores myself and it would greatly reduce our allergies and chances of foodborne illness, but where’s the life lesson in that?
I am stubborn — and determined to teach my kids that having some responsibility around our home is a character building thing, puts hair on the chest and will serve them well later on, in dorm life when no one is going to clean the bathroom anyway but at least my kids will have some vague idea of how to use Scrubbing Bubbles.
For years I’ve tried to do the chore thing.
Initially, I enticed with money. That worked for about… two minutes. My most smart-alecky kid looked right at me and said, “I feel like I have enough money. It’s not really a motivator for me.”
That does not bode well for a future high-paying job that would guarantee a swank retirement home for his dad and me.
I tried guilt.
“You guys are part of a family, that means we all chip in and do things to help around the house. I do your laundry and I don’t even wear your clothes*.”
So then I tried Super Catholic-Sized Guilt.
“You know, I spend a lot of my time driving you guys all over the city to practices and games and so you can hang out with your friends and all I ask is that you do a little to help out around here…”
They are still doing crappy jobs that require multiple reminders. I’m thinking I just might have to use the nuclear option. My plan: Drive No. 3 almost all the way to practice but drop him off a few blocks short of the gym. Get No. 2 most of the way to Park Place but stop just outside the mall entrance. Then maybe it’ll finally sink in that those two should put full effort into chores and not just half-ass it. But, I doubt it.
*Weeeellll, there was the one year that No. 3 did Sean Miller summer basketball camp and the players all got cute and soft but way oversized t-shirts. I commandeered that one until he grew into it.