My kids think they have chores.
Ok, so they kind of do. I hate free loaders and I won't be raising any so I do put my kids to work in all sorts of ways. We don't really call them chores, just kind of "hey, you live in this house so you are expected to help keep it up, it takes a team". Except for J, but he is really cute and bald and toothless and that really gets you a long way.
No, the chores my kids truly kevetch about are referred to as their "5 things". Each day, some time after they have consumed the breakfast lovingly prepared for them by one of their parents (who are we kidding, we all know Matt is the breakfast guy around these parts) my children are expected to do the following: get dressed, brush hair, wash face, brush teeth and make bed.
Whoa. Am I a mean mother or what.
Here is the catch; there is no screen time of any sort until they are all done. High stakes, my friends, high stakes.
Each day when I take a shower, I leave Eliana in charge of baby J. She is required to give him her attention in as much that he doesn't eat anything nasty off the floor, choke on a toy or get into general mischief My shower is taken and I am back on duty in under 15 minutes Be impressed, I am the mother of 4 who showers, shaves and does her (very short for a reason) hair and puts on make-up (ok, so mascara and chapstick) in about a quarter of an hour.
I think of this as "life skills" training for my girls.
I think of it as "survival skills" for Jamison.
Valuable lessons are learned by all parties. Many times I hear someone hollering, children arguing, a neglected baby grumping or other various noises that would make a less tenured mother sweat. I figure they will all be fine.
Eliana acts so put upon. She has to get dressed AND mind the baby each day after all.
Oh what first world problems my children suffer from. The clothing (of which they have a plethora of choices) and face washing is so time consuming. Clean water to drink and wash with. I love that my children get to call this "work".
I also hate it.
How do I teach world view to a bunch of children who think it is a bad day when they don't get desert because mama didn't bake anything fresh that day? How do I help them understand true hardship when the only thing that causes them discomfort is having to share a large, well heated room with a sister? How do the comprehend hunger and starvation when the only time they have empty bellies is when they turn up their noses at the dinner mama made?
They are young. I know this. I want compassion to come from the core of who they are, not out of pity for what they see. I want them to cry over the children who go hungry from a place of understanding that the are insurmountable blessed. I want them to know the only thing different between you and the child scavenging at the dump is where you were born. I want them to understand that other cultures are not failed attempts at being you.
And then I complain about lack of outlets for all our electronics at our house. I get irritated having to fold all the clothes our family own and washes. I grip about figuring out what in our vast freezer I should prepare for dinner that my children will choose not to eat. I whine about the traffic while sitting in my paid off van.
Some days I feel like I have so far to go, surly I shouldn't be raising children.