No More Laundry!

You might guess this post is about me not wanting to do anymore laundry. Sure, that would be a fairly typical complaint in my house. Three kids, a husband and me. That’s a lot of laundry to do. It really piles up. Instead, this is about my kids complaining about me doing the laundry.

The children aren’t complaining that their whites aren’t white enough or that I’m not folding them properly. They are upset because the laundry I’m doing, they are having to put away. Apparently, it’s too much to ask for my kids to carry their own clean clothing from the laundry room to their rooms and put it in their dressers. In fact, after the second load, my daughter said “Oh come on, Mom! PLEASE stop doing the laundry!”

I would have given her some slack, except that when I went into her room to hang a dress, I saw it. The mess. Her interpretation of putting away her clothes. She had opened the dresser drawers as far as she could without tipping them and just stacked the clothes in the way I had given them to her. There was no rhyme or reason. They were just put away as fast as humanly possible. She was counting on me not reading her fine print. She would put the clothes away, and technically they were, she just wouldn’t put them away how I expected it to be done.

You know those moments where you can actually feel yourself turning into your own mother? I felt the transformation coming like a Jekyll and Hyde moment. Yet, I managed to catch myself before I did the dirty deed. When I was young and my room wasn’t clean enough after I’d been told to clean it, my mother would come in and dump the contents of my dresser drawers in the center of my bedroom floor. This, of course, led to fits of hysteria on my part and, ultimately, a much cleaner room at a much faster pace. I wasn’t willing to pass on this Mommy Dearest “no more wire hangers” moment to my children (at least not yet) so I threatened her with it instead. You could see the cogs turning as she watched me closely to make sure I wasn’t actually going to do this to her dresser.

The room is clean now. Kind of. Well, it’s better than it was. If my kids are complaining about putting away their own clean clothes, what will happen when we begin to delve into more difficult chores?! This brings me to my question for you: What chores have you implemented for your children and what kind of feedback are you getting from them? Feedback is a much nicer word than the one I really want to write…

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jeff Silvey
    Apr 19, 2011 @ 18:07:59

    Well, my daughter is three now, so we’re not getting into chores yet with her. I don’t know when we should start. When is a good age?

    Reply

    • areyoudreaming
      Apr 19, 2011 @ 18:13:28

      At three, you can easily start chores like taking her own plate from the table to the sink. Of course, you really have to supervise that one at three. Otherwise, you end up with a sink full of broken glass! We also had our kids help putting away easy stuff from the dishwasher at that age- spoons and the like. Unfortunately, our kids are now eight, five and one and the older ones think this is all they have to do!

      Reply

  2. Kara
    Apr 20, 2011 @ 04:54:44

    Sam’s had the same chores since she was 7 – feed the cat, clean the litter box, do her own laundry (she had help at first, at 5 she helped sort it, then we moved on to folding and putting away before it was completely her job to do), and empty the dishmasher. She did great with all of those until she turned 12. Ugh. Lucas is now 7 and it has been harder to get him started with chores, partly because everything he does Connall wants to do to, partly because with his size I tend to “forget” how old he really is, partly because the boys aren’t here all the time so it makes it hard to have consistent expectations. But from the time they were big enough to walk, they clean their rooms twice a day – before nap (Connall still takes one sometimes) and before bed they pick up everything in the room. They bring all their laundry downstairs and help put it in the washer, they help sort it out to be folded and they put it away. They’ve always picked up their plates from the table (I solved the breakage problem by getting these really cute melamine plates from the Target $1 bins), now they also wipe up the table after meals. We’ll be adding the small trash cans and yard chores as we get closer to summer. It’s always been an expectation in our house, we’ve never done allowances or rewards for regular chores, and it’s never been a fight (at least not until the teen stage, but that’s a whole other story…)

    Reply

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