Chores

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Poppies. The original chore enforcer. Don’t be fooled by the chipper wave!!! He is ruthless!

By the time I got to middle school, we all had chores to do around the house. We rotated weeks, and I would be in charge of doing dinner dishes, feeding the animals (cats, dogs, and horses), or taking out the trash.

Taking out the trash only happened once a week, so you would think I preferred that chore. But I didn’t.

I hated taking out the trash. The trash truck came early on Thursdays, so on Wednesday night I had to get the cans to the end of the driveway. I had to go to every single trash can in the house and collect the trash, and our frugal family didn’t believe in trash can liners in the small trash cans. So there were always gross tissues and qtips clinging to the trash can and other gross grossness to deal with. Gross.

Also I had to venture down to my brother’s rooms in the basement and I was scared of the dark until, gosh, my mid-20’s at least and the basement at night scared me. So collecting trash on Wednesday evening was the pits.

Then, like I said, I had to drag two massive trash cans to the end of the driveway, which was lined with tall, thick boxwood trees. Perfect for some creeper to lurk in as I fearfully hurried down the driveway. (Remember: scared of the dark). I was always waiting for someone to spring out of those damn trees and grab me.

Thursday afternoon I would hop off the big yellow school bus and I was supposed to drag those stinky trash cans back up our driveway. Sometimes I “forgot” and walked right past them. For a couple of days. [Foreshadowing]

Cut to a typical Friday night in Loudoun. I was at a football game, cheering on the mighty Vikes/wandering around behind the bleachers with friends. A bunch of friends were hanging out after the game, so I asked my dad if I could go.

Being the youngest of four, and having friends who my parents liked AND trusted (jackpot), my parents usually let me do whatever I asked to do. So I asked my dad about, I don’t know, hanging out in the Subway parking lot with my friends after the game. (No, seriously. We did that a lot. And I was reallllly cool, trust me). And he said no. HE SAID NO.

[incredulous]Why?

Because, dear one, you were supposed to bring the trash cans back up yesterday afternoon. And you did not.

Oh, snap. And arguing was futile. His mind was made up.

So home I went, on a Friday night, and pulled those stupid trash cans back up the driveway.

It took me about 1.5 minutes. And then I had allll night in to think about my friends, yukking it up at Subway without me.

That was probably 20 years ago, and I still remember it distinctly. It was a more poignant lesson than all the other times I was “reminded” to bring the trash cans up because I “forgot”.

In our marriage, I am the “reminder” or the “oh it is just easier to do it for them than put up with the alternative” parent. And I am married to a “oh hell no. They can do it themeselves” parent.

I was reminded of this a couple of weeks ago, when my husband pulled the kids out of bed to go finish cleaning up their toys. Why? Because he asked them to do it before bed, and they didn’t do it.

So that’s my lesson about chores. Just do them the first time. And do them right. And if your kids don’t do their chores, don’t remind them again and again. Throw their toy in the Goodwill box, or retrieve them early from their play date, or cut their show off in the middle. Show them you mean it.

(One day I’ll tell another chore story. The one about walking out to the barn in the pitch dark (scared of the dark- still a thing at this point) and turning on the light to see a DEAD DEER HANGING FROM THE RAFTERS. Thank you, dear brother Ethan, for the heads up. I think I just wet myself.

Well, that’s pretty much the whole story. That one doesn’t have a lesson.)

Anyone else have any doozy chore stories? We’re getting more into chore ages here and I need some good inspiration to NOT be the “reminder” parent.

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7 thoughts on “Chores

  1. A was supposed to fold his laundry on Thursday, so he could go skiing on Friday. Thursday he pitches a fit and doesn’t get it done, so Friday morning he’s rushing around to finish it. We go skiing.

    On Sunday, I pick out his clothes for church. I find, under a layer of folded clothes, every single piece of Thursday’s laundry wadded up. He fixes it and loses his little bit of TV for the weekend.

    Come Thursday, he folds his laundry without fuss (and in full view so I know it gets done) so he can go skiing on Friday. On Friday, we go up the mountain. His skiing buddy goes skiing… and he has to stay in the car and fold a load of Matt’s & my laundry since he shouldn’t have gone skiing the week before.

    A would like to inform you that the meanest mom in the world lives in southern Albemarle.

    • winner winner chicken dinner!!!! that is a serious lesson, and much worse than missing out on the subway parking lot on friday night.

      note to self: do not deceive steph in matters of laundry. or anything.

      props from one mom to another.

  2. Think you must have one of each kind in every marriage. I’m the reminder parent and am still doing it. Thanks for the encouragement to change my course. Love the pic!!!

    • yes, sometimes we are a good balance for each other. we can’t both be chore nazis!

      and- to be fair- i have to enforce many more things throughout the day than he does. so some reminding here and there is just part of life. meh.

    • Oh my gosh. I love your kids’ letters. “Do not leave something when you know you’re supposed to pick it up… Do not try to get out of it.” Yes, Mia. Exactly.

  3. Pingback: Brain Dump | Ye Old College Try

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