Chores Series Part 1: Why Your Kids Should Do Chores

Are you raising entitled children?

Sadly, until recently, I was.

Here’s why my therapist insisted I start delegating chores to my perfectly capable children.

First, Yes I’m in therapy

Before we discuss chores…I want you to hear me shouting from the rooftops:

I’M IN THERAPY!

I began seeing my therapist about 6 months ago (is it me or does it sound like I’m dating my therapist?). If I were the CEO of Motherhood, I’d institute a new rule that says, at their baby showers, all Moms-to-be must receive a lifetime membership to therapy, instead of all the useless overpriced wipe warmers, Diaper Genies and teething toys.

Why am I in therapy? Check out my post about how I’ve spent a majority of my motherhood wedged somewhere between loving my precious children and in quiet desperation suffering from anxiety (that I hid from the world).

Okay, now, back to our main topic: Chores.

Therapists Orders: Its Time To Delegate!

I’m sitting in my therapist’s office. Between the warm glow from the salt lamp and the smell of essential oils – for me its practically a spa retreat! But instead of a massage or facial, I get to unload all of my emotional baggage. And what a glorious release it is!

During this particular session, we’re discussing how to find more time for self-care. It went something like this:

THERAPIST: Much of your anxiety stems from neglecting YOU. Your bucket is empty and you need to fill it by doing things you enjoy and taking care of yourself. 

ME: “Does peeing without my kids in the bathroom count? Because that’s about as much “Me Time” as I can squeeze into my day. From wakeup until lights-out, my ‘care’ goes to 4 kids, our household, and my business.”

THERAPIST: “You’re doing way too much for your kids. You’re their Mom, not their maid! You don’t want to raise entitled kids, right?

Wait…Am I raising entitled children?

Damn it! She’s was absolutely right! At 11, 9, 6, and 4 our kids are perfectly capable of doing a majority of the tasks I do for them. I’ve been their Mom-Maid!

And this exhausted Mom-Maid needs a vacation. 

Seven days a week, 365 days a year, I made my kids’ breakfasts, packed their school lunches, did their laundry, picked up their toys, laid out their outfits…the list, embarrassingly, goes on and on. Half the time, I even put the damn toothpaste on their toothbrushes. Who had I become?

No wonder I have zero time for self care!

It dawned on me (okay, so my therapist told me) that by doing all of these tasks for my children, I’m communicating that:

  1. They are not capable
  2. I don’t have confidence in them
  3. Its okay to be lazy 

ITS TIME TO MAKE SOME SERIOUS CHANGES IN THIS FAMILY. STAT!

How Have I Allowed This To Happen?

Moms, why do we try to do it all? Are we trying to be martyrs? Self-punishment? For me personally, I can think of two reasons:

  1. As Moms (especially work-from-home or stay-at-home Moms), I think we forget that being a Mom does not make us the Family Maid. Yes, there are certainly responsibilities we have as far as keeping a tidy home and some chores just aren’t for children. But, the home is a place the WHOLE family lives…not just Mom! So I need to knock off this wanna-be “Super Woman” crap role and divvy out the family jobs!
  2. I’m a control freak and I just do everything better and faster! Don’t judge me – in my eyes, its the honest truth. It takes a lot of deep breathing and self-restraint to watch my 6 year old load the dishwasher (and yes, I secretly rearrange them every time).

We Want Our Kids To Grow Up Happy and Successful, Right?

According to a study done by Harvard that started in 1938 and is still ongoing; researchers found that children require these two things in their lives to become successful and happy adults:

  1. Love
  2. Good Work Ethic

WAIT WHAT??? So my kids can lessen my workload and become successful and happy adults…just by doing chores?! For the love of all things…put mops and buckets in their precious little hands, STAT!

Two Birds – One Stone

Moms, for the last several months, our family has made some serious changes! And get this…I’m doing LESS WORK while empowering our children. Its a Christmas Miracle! 

Its involved me taking a giant leap back from all the “doing.” And instead, I’m forcing allowing the kiddos to do their own tasks.

Not only do we have a Chore Chart for shared household responsibilities, but our three oldest now pack their school snacks and lunches, they’re learning to do their laundry, and so much more.

Our youngest (4) is setting the table each night, and picking out her own outfits (I may need a separate therapy session to manage my anxiety over her horribly mismatched outfits).

It Doesn’t Need To Be Perfect…

I’m not going to lie, its been challenging for me to slow down my pace while guiding the kids to do the chores adequately. I’ve also had to lower my standards – if their clothes aren’t folded perfectly…(deep breath) the world wont end!

But the good news is, I’m loving not unloading the dishwasher, setting the table, taking out the trash, etc. And it is allowing me more free time!

I’m also noticing a difference in our kids’ confidence as they see all they’re capable of. Don’t get me wrong, they occasionally whine or complain about their chores. But for the most part, its just becoming part of our family life.

I think I owe my therapist a few bottles (or a case) of wine for this one!

Now…How Will You Actually Get Your Kids To Do Chores?

You’ve got to read my next post in this “Chores Series” to see how our family of 6 initiated a Family Chore System that’s working! You’ll also be able to download a FREE Chore Chart template!

Moms, do your kids do chores? Leave a comment to let me know their ages and the chores they’re responsible for!

4 thoughts on “Chores Series Part 1: Why Your Kids Should Do Chores”

  1. I love your blogs! Yes, our daughter who is just 2.5 now is learning chores (because she showed interest)…and I too had to let her help with a lot of patience, because I also am the type who needs to do it myself and fold it a certain way, haha! She has to clean off her table that we use for play and eating and wipe it down, we do a ton of clean up singing, she likes to put the laundry in the dryer and push the button, and she likes to set the table for her baby dolls, and feed the cats for breakfast (I like her scoop the dry food), which winds up on the floor but she likes to use the dust buster to clean it up! 👍🏻

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