Dear Mama Drama:
I feel so frustrated trying to get all of the housework done, laundry cleaned, lunches made, and still find time to be with my kids. They complain that I’m always too busy for them, but there is so much to do.
I also feel like they don’t appreciate how much I do for them and that they are not asked to do very much at all. It seems like the more I do, the less respectful they are to me.
~Choking on Chores
I think you found the answer in your question. You are doing all of the work and your children are taking you for granted. They don’t understand to value of the work you do as they have not been asked to contribute. They have lots of time to hang out, but you can’t join them because you are so busy doing things for them. Get them involved and plan to play a game or go for a walk together when the chores are done.
Giving children responsibilities around the house gives them a sense of accomplishment, teaches them life skills, and increases their self-esteem. Not to mention that if they are doing some of the jobs, you won’t have to.
Children as young as two can help around the house. Obviously, different aged children can handle different responsibilities and need varying degrees of supervision. Getting them in the routine of helping when they are younger can prevent it from being seen as a burden later on. When asking your children to do chores, be sure to teach them how to do it and offer support and encouragement. Recognize the effort they put into the job, even if it isn’t done perfectly. Remember to resist the urge to redo the job for them as that will defeat the purpose.
Small children can contribute by cleaning up their toys, putting books in a basket, wiping down the front of the refrigerator or dishwasher with a sponge, or wiping up the spots on the kitchen floor with a wet paper towel. As children get older they can sort their dirty laundry, put away clean clothes, use a small broom and dustpan to sweep small areas, and use non-toxic cleaning wipes to wipe down the counters and floors in the bathroom. Most kids love to vacuum, although they are often not strong enough to do it until they are a little older. Other helpful tasks are watering plants (use a squirt bottle for little kids and a pitcher for older ones) and dusting with an old sock or non-toxic dusting wipe. As they get older have children help make lunches the night before, gather their items for school, and fill water bottles to help mornings run more smoothly.
Children like to be helpful, so use that natural inclination to get them involved. Let them know you need their help and that you’ll be able to have more fun together when they pitch in to help. Then be sure to follow through with the fun!
How do you readers involve your children in daily chores?
Motherhood is an amazing journey that can have its share of Mama Drama. The Mama Drama column runs on Fridays with everyday mothering questions from readers and answers providing strategies to tackle these daily challenges. Send your questions and challenges to [email protected], and your Mama Drama could be in next week’s column! All emails and identifying information will remain confidential.