When I was growing up in my parents house I remember me and my sister, and probably my brothers, we did everything we could to get out of chores. Every week our family night turned into a huge fight over who wasnt doing what and who needed to drop what attitude (that part was usually me). I remember countless Saturdays Me and Kami (my sister 4 years younger) would be stuck in our room, toys, clothes, garbage and even food piled up to our ankles…..my knees. We couldn’t leave until it was cleaned up. We had tried all the tricks. Shove it in the closet, under the bed, in boxes, bags…..Mary Ann our Step-mom was obviously smarter than that. Sure we fooled her the first few times, but hey she was only 21 and this was her first experience trying to raise hellians. So after she caught on it was “if this doesn’t get picked up, it’s all getting thrown away!”. She did spend a few Saturdays herself helping us go through everything, getting rid of toys we simply didn’t need anymore. Mary Ann wasnt necessarily a neat freak or anything but she did tend to be a night owl because my dad worked grave yards and so she cleaned a lot at night. So we learned quickly if we didn’t do it right, we weren’t going to have to be forced to keep doing it, it was just easier for Mary Ann to do it herself. This technique did not however work on dish night. We all rotated nights to do dishes. We never owned a dishwasher, and still til this day my parents don’t own one. With 7 people in the house even if you do dishes every night there are a lot of them. Dish night sucked. And I am proud to say I havent done dishes in the dishwasher or out in over 8 years. Thank you Honey! In between the age of bratty kid and stuck up teenager with a horrible attitude, I did manage to do some chores and I spent a great deal of time watching Mary Ann on those nights she would get the urge to clean. She taught me how to deep clean anything. That woman possess so much knowledge of the workings of everything in a house and garden, it would blow your mind. She can fix just about anything, grow anything, and cook anything…..oh and she sews, paints and is a great shoulder to lean on when you need to. I’ve learned so much from her, and I strive to be as gifted as she is but, I guess that takes years. But I am already sounding like her when it comes to chores. I don’t know how many times a week I threaten my boys that I am going to throw away all of their toys.
We used to have a maid. We have been through 3 since my diagnosis, the last one was a friend of my sisters. Dawn was her name and she was very good. She even drove from Salt Lake to come clean but the bottom line is I just can’t afford it anymore. I hope to get to a place that I can afford her again, or someone else. I’ve tried to clean, in just small dosages. It just doesn’t work. I can pick up a few things like clutter, and I can do laundry for the most part but that is it. So I came up with a simple chore chart for Mark and the boys. Every week they would be in charge of either the Kitchen, Bathroom or the living room. Very simple chores on it. They do those plus the ones they are supposed to do normally, their bedroom, feeding the cat and brushing teeth and they get a $2.00 allowance a week. There are extra things they can do each worth a dime. Those things include, helping me with my room, laundry, litter box and helping another member of the family with their chores. Now executing it is the problem. They aren’t that interested so much in money so the reward isn’t as exciting but i find it necessary to start teaching them the value of money so I am firm on the reward. If they don’t do their chores obviously they miss out on money but there are consequences. Lately one the consequences has been grounding from the computer. Or last week if you didn’t get your chores done you could not participate in family game night. That worked. I know every family has this fight but I want to avoid the huge battle that me and my family went through every single time. All the tears all the screaming. I don’t want any of that……or at least not as much. Please if you have any suggestions or things that have worked for you please let me know.
Things that I have found that have worked is a lot of praise. Although we have to be careful with this one. Scott is very particular about how much praise he gets. If he gets too much he gets way embarrassed and wont do that act again. Peyton on the other hand you can praise him like a puppy. “Good boy Peyton, Did you do a good job, oh yes you did, look at you, you did so good, that’s my boy!” A simple “Thank you buddy it looks nice” is all you can do with Scott. Also you can not be picky and remember they are 4 and 6 and they are going to clean like they are 4 and 6. Sure they need a little help with some of the things like vacuuming and sweeping but they should be able to the rest on their own. It may not be your way or get it all the way clean but, they are trying and that is the important part. When I supervise their chores I may tell them they are doing a great job and maybe show them another way they could do it and tell them it’s up to them which way they clean. Gentle urging in the correct way wont make them feel stupid or inadequate. Lastly set an example. I preach this one til I am out of breath. To keep track of our chores done we have a sticker chart. Since Mark is required to do chores too he is also required to put stickers on as well. For whatever reason he doesn’t do this most times. unfortunately I can not be the one to set the example for my kids with this chore thing. They know I cant clean. I have told them there is something wrong with my brain and I will get very sick if I try to clean. I know Mark is busy and tired and he isn’t always thinking about these things but those stickers are so important for the boys to see. I know I have started a war with my kids that wont be over for a good 12 years at least….wish me luck!