Friday, April 27, 2012

Housework & Chores - A Blessing or a Curse? Teaching children to work and be happy!

Recently I had the opportunity to attend an amazing Power of Moms retreat.  The tag line for Power of Moms is "A Gathering Place for Deliberate Moms" and that is the heart of what the retreat was all about. There were about 50 moms with a sum total of over 150 kids in attendance.  I hope to be sharing more lessons learned over the next few weeks and months but today I want to talk about work.

I hate housework. I hate cleaning. My mother is meticulously clean so I learned how to clean at an early age but it's just not something I enjoy.  Couple my dislike of the activity with my ADD and my house is normally far more cluttered and disorganized that I ever want it to be. Recently as my sons have been getting older I have realized this is not a trait I want to pass down to them.  One of the topics of the retreat was on Family System and the lunch discussion was about teaching children to work.

Something that April Perry, one of the founders of Power of Moms, said during the Family Systems training  really hit me. She said something along the lines of do you teach your children that it is a blessing to be able to take care of their home?  That is its not just a responsibility but a blessing to have a home to take care of?

Of course my immediate response was NO because that is not how I view housework AT ALL.  As that thought lingered I realized that maybe that is where my problem lies. I view housework as a curse.  Something to be endured rather than a blessing associated with the larger blessings of having a home and family.  I do feel that my home and my children (who are often the creators of the mess) are a blessing but I never thought of viewing the need to take care of my home and the subsequent mess as a blessing.

With this in mind I decided I need to do some reevaluation of my attitude at home.

I love how when you decide to change your focus opportunities to improve always seem to present themselves.

On Monday as I looked around at the post-weekend chaos at my home I decided to not get discouraged.  I don't remember exactly how or why but my 4 year old asked to help and I said yes. My boys (3 & 4) have to pick up their toys, help with laundry, throw their trash away, clear their dinner plate and other small tasks but I've never had them help with cleaning like sweeping, windows or even the dishes.  Some of that is do to me believing they won't do a good job and it will be a waste of time because I will have to do it again.  Acknowledging and correcting that attitude has been a many year struggle for me but one that I am starting to win.  

So as I said yes to my little Noah and gave him a task almost immediately my 3 year old Sam asked to help too.  Suddenly all three of us were cleaning together and my attitude of cleaning as a curse was slowly mellowing and I was finding a small measure of the joy that can come from working together with your kids.

Sam washing his plate after lunch.  Notice the Superhero outfit?
Ever since wearing a costume to a Superhero birthday party the other day
he thinks he needs to wear a Superhero outfit every day.

Noah ended up cleaning with me for over an hour.  He kept asking for more and more to do.  He did windows, dusting, mirrors and even did dishes for the first time in his life. Sam helped too but he still can't reach and do some of the things as easily as Noah.

Noah cleaning the sliding glass door.
He even asked to stand on a chair so he could get the  "everything". 

Now Noah asks what he can clean when he comes home from school.  Obviously I know this won't last forever but for right now - I'll take it.  And one more lesson I've learned - he actually did a good job! 

Noah was pretty proud of his work.  I'm also grateful that I use homemade natural cleaners so I  was able to  let them clean without being worried it was dangerous. 


  1. That is so awesome!! So glad you enjoyed your time and are already putting into practice some of the things you learned. Such a good idea to get them started with good habits while they are still young and enjoy it.

    1. Thanks Emmy! I just checked out your blog and loved it. I think I'm going to take advantage of naptime and write a 10 things to smile about!


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