There’s a difference between “jobs” and chores. In our house “jobs” have become something that the boys have more or less volunteered to do with enthusiasm and then as a result it becomes their job.
A few examples include:
- Greyson helping Reid in and out of his car seat.
- Cracking the eggs and then stirring the pancake mix. (They take turns)
- Putting the laundry detergent in the washing machine.
- Washing each other’s hair.
- Draining the bathtub water while the other puts all bath toys in bucket.
- Opening the doors, i.e., the car, buildings, garage, and especially any door for ladies.
- Making sure all lights are turned off.
These jobs are fun for my boys, and it helps them feel capable and to identify different parts of their role in our family.
As I mentioned in my chore blog. I have fond memories of brainstorming creative ideas with my brother with different ways to decide who and what chores we did. I especially appreciated this tool with my first college roommates. Most of them weren’t use to participating in chores and it was beginning to create resentment between the ones that did and those who didn’t. When we had our family/roommate meeting we agreed to create a chore wheel. This wheel was created with two paper plates. The smaller plate had our names on it and the larger plate had the basic weekly chores. Every week the wheel was rotated. It was fair and an idea that we all agreed on and were excited to participate in. By having these job descriptions it created peace and cooperation as well as satisfaction with our clean house and appreciation for each other.
I recently confronted a friend that was still doing her teenagers laundry. Her defense was that she was a stay-at-home mom and that it was her “job.” I quickly responded with, “It’s your job to help teach your children how to be capable, self-reliant and independent.” I went on to explain that she shouldn’t be doing anything for them that they could do for themselves.
Most adults have jobs whether they are paid for them or not. And a lot of us are identified through our jobs–it’s what we do and therefore defines a lot of who we are. Don’t we all wish that we had a job that we loved and that makes us feel good about ourselves. I’ve always remembered the saying, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” Hopefully with a tool card of “jobs” we can teach our children that their job is to do something they love to do and that makes them feel proud, but that also makes them feel like they’re contributing. After all isn’t that what we all want—to have a job that we love and are proud of, but that also makes us feel like we’re contributing? Giving and allowing our children to have jobs now will instill in them the pride of accomplishment that will serve them throughout their lives.
She continued to be defensive by saying that “they’re good kids and that they’re busy with sports and homework.” But the whole reason this conversation was brought up was because she was complaining about how busy she was and how overwhelmed she felt.
I then went on to say that they’d continue to be busy throughout their lives, so why not teach them the skills they need now. I told her how I experienced the helplessness and laziness that goes with kids, like my roommates, who have their parents doing everything for them.