Does anyone remember when I was all inspired and wrote the Parker handbook and some of you said it wouldn’t work?? Well….you were totally right! haha!
The idea was solid. I thoroughly enjoyed making my fancy schedule. I presented each of my children with a copy of the handbook and had them sign the last page, confirming that they read and understood it. I gave them a copy of the signed page and kept a copy for myself.
It included official things like a mission statement!
(Mission Statement: To live as a cohesive family unit, working together to take care of our home and each other; while having fun along the way.)
And it spelled out my expectations!
(Bathroom-At no time should there be any clothing on the floor or counter tops. Management (aka mom) will provide extra hampers or other options, if needed. All you have to do is ask. Not asking equals non-compliance. Once a week, bathroom should be cleaned. Cleaning involves cleaning the counters, shower, mirror, floor, and emptying the trash can.)
It went on for like 8 pages; explaining in great detail what their jobs were and what I expected from my “staff members.” It was pretty darn thorough.
So, anyway, I ignored their protests as I handed them out and felt like quite the genius. 🙂 But, I didn’t take one thing into account. One really obvious thing. I was making it harder on myself.
Did I really think that these kids of mine would follow the handbook without me constantly reminding them to follow it? Did I think they would take the initative on their own? Of course not! (Well, clearly, I thought it a little bit. Silly Emily.) And since I just plain stink at being consistent, it was a failure before it even started.
It went ok for a few days. Lizzie, as always, was the most cooperative. She did her jobs without complaint. William and Antwan moaned when I reminded them and sort of did their jobs. And then Kaleb explained that he didn’t think it made sense for him to have a turn cleaning the upstairs bathroom since he rarely uses it. He suggested that he have to clean the downstairs half bathroom instead since he uses it more often. I said that was fine. But guess who never bothered to clean that downstairs bathroom? haha
The other problem is that I fall into that trap of “Oh, I’ll just do it myself.” They make it so much work and it ends up being easier to do it yourself. This is a terrible idea. I’m sure that’s not news to anybody. I know that when I do it but I do it, anyway. I end up tired and frustrated. The kids have won and they have learned a terrible lesson.
I know that it’s important that they do chores so they can learn responsibility. And I know that the bad lessons that they learn, like perfecting the art of slacking, will follow them into adulthood along with any good lessons that they learn. That’s what I worry about the most. I don’t mind doing the bulk of the chores (most of the time). It makes me feel like I’m really taking care of my family. But I also don’t want to raise lazy kids who will then become lazy adults.
Anyway, I guess it was all a waste of time. None of us are ready for a handbook. My new plan is to just go back to after school chores. I thought that they would like not having chores every day but I guess not. Schedule is clearly key here.
The one thing that I have learned is that I am not alone. My kids are not unusual. In short, the struggle is real and universal. That’s comforting, anyway. Misery loves company and all. 😉
I know I’m repeating what I said before but, I’ll say it again anyway. If you have cracked the code to get kids to do their chores and do them well, please do share. And if you have no idea how to accomplish this lofty goal, either, please, please share. My coffee and cry together invite still stands!