Tales of Cinderella, before the ball.

10:10 AM

I've mentioned before that I am somewhat of a clean freak.  I drive Chris crazy.  I believe that everything has a place and should stay in that place when not in use.  I also believe that my house should be mostly clean at all times.  A clean house makes living easier.  I'm also one of those people that is embarrassed when someone comes by to visit (unexpected or planned!) and dust is flying around, dog hairs are covering the floor and my kitchen still has remnant's of a meal cooked earlier in the day on the counter.  The house is usually mostly clean, but right now, my house looks like a disaster area.  Dishes are piled up in the sink because the dishwasher is clean, dust is everywhere, the Dyson needs to be put to good use, and don't get me started on the bathrooms.  Ew, ew, ew.  We're going out of town this weekend for our nephew's birthday party and a friend is staying at our house to watch the dogs.  Guess what I'll be doing tonight?  Yes, cleaning.  And packing.

Speaking of cleaning, do your kids do chores?  I grew up with a (non-paying) chore list.  As in, every day during the school year we had something that involved a cleaning product to do around the house (and people wonder why I am so fond of Lysol!)  My summer mornings were spent on my hands and knees, like Cinderella before the ball, scrubbing the hardwood floors because my mother does not believe in using a mop.  Sunday was not a "Funday" and it was not a day of rest in our house.  My dad would parade into the living room and hand me a bottle of pledge and tell me to get to work.  Dusting involved moving every item from the built-in bookcases and dusting it.  This also meant that every week, I removed the collection of encyclopedias, one book at a time, dusted each book, and placed it back.  (Yes!  encyclopedias, remember those?!  Kids today really don't know how good they have it.)  And that was just the living room!  See, my mom loves things on every surface.  Her house looks like World Market mated with Pottery Barn and the offspring vomited Pier One.  There was/still is stuff everywhere.  This hated Sunday dusting ritual was effective.  Though I detest the thought of dusting I still dust every week.  Call me lazy, but, um, sorry dad, I don't remove all of the books from our bookcase.

I know that the child labor chore list that I was exposed to growing up made me the clean freak that I am now.  I learned to respect the value of each item.  You better believe that my children will do chores every day.  There is absolutely no reason for them not to.  Life isn't a free ride and their living quarters aren't free either.  They need to take full responsibility for the mess that they create and also be asked to participate in the cleaning the house that they live in.  They have plenty of time to be children, they can take 30 minutes a day and clean their room, their bathroom, the kitchen, the dog, whatever, they just need to do it. 

Cameryn already cleans up the table after a meal  Sometimes she'll help me put the clean silverware away.  She knows where her shoes and clothes go and will put them away when asked.  She knows where her toys go and cleans them up when she is done playing, most of the time without being asked.  She's a relatively clean little person - for a toddler.  (Toddler's are gross little people.  They eat boogers, dirt, food from the floor.  They touch everything.  They share food with animals.  They stick their hands in their butts.  Cameryn used to drink water from the dog bowls.  But it's okay.  How else do they learn what is acceptable?) 

I know kids that don't do chores at all.  They have absolutely no responsibilities other than school work and their parents wonder why the house always rivals the chaos after a hurricane.  I think it's ridiculous and, surprise! I don't keep my mouth shut about it either.  When they whine to me about their messy house, or their kids who don't appreciate their things, or that they don't know the value of a dollar?  Yeah, I have words for them and I don't blame it on the kids.  Kids only learn what they are taught.  I know because I did.

Do you agree or disagree with me?  What chores are your children responsible for?

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