Parents are always busy. Always. It doesn’t matter if you have one child or five, there are always things to do. If you’re a working parent, it just goes up to another level of busyness. So how do you get
shit stuff done? I see it as you have two options.
1. You lower your standards and expectations.
2. You outsource.
I’m a bit of a perfectionist. Type A personality. I like to be able to cross things off lists. I’ve tried the whole “just relax and enjoy the adventure that is parenting, no one cares if you have a sink full of dishes / overflowing laundry basket / enough dog hair on the floors to create a whole new creature”. After trying this approach for a few days, I just about lost the last of the marbles I was so desperately trying to grasp on to.
I’d run around like a headless chook, trying to get everything done. A messy house stresses me out. Cleaning is somewhat soothing. Weird. Crazy. I know, but stay with me.
Our seven year old has been bugging us for ages about wanting to earn pocket money. I never got pocket money until I was in late primary school. We’ve always been of the belief that as a family member, you have to chip in and do chores around the house, without the expectation of some sort of financial compensation. We’ve done reward charts in the past – when our eldest has helped with his chores, like putting his shoes away, tidying his room or helping to feed the animals – he earned stickers. After a certain amount of stickers, he gets a treat. Along the lines of his choice for dinner, an outing somewhere, watching a movie, etc.
But now I’m seeing a opportunity. An opportunity for me to start to actually relax a bit more. And with the juggling I’m about to start doing with a new full time job and some freelance work, this could work out very well. And cheap 🙂 Time to start outsourcing…
Take tonight for example. Seven year old raised the question of being able to earn some pocket money, so I thought we’d give it a trial run. I was preparing dinner, the toddler was being his usual tornado self, and the house looked like, well, like a bit of a shit storm. I was going to tidy it all up after the kids were in bed, but I made him an offer. Vacuum the floor for me while I get dinner sorted.
He was off like an Olympic runner at the starting line. Granted, he had his own bizarre method for vacuuming, involving random directions and almost tangling himself up with the cords. (A Dyson stick vac would be very handy right about now…) He got stuck around the dining table and almost knocked the fish bowl off the book case (screw you, fish dude, we got a fish bowl and fish!) But he did it.
The floors were now clean and tidy, and I didn’t have to do them.
He was thrilled with his financial compensation.
Winner winner, chicken dinner.
I don’t see it as child labour. I see it as being a contributing member of a family unit. As parents, we provide our children with everything they need, but I refuse to raise children who grow up to become free-loading members of society. Who expect handouts without having to earn them. Its about responsibility, an understanding of what needs to be done for the family to function.
He can figure out how to build a city in Minecraft, he can use an iPad: he can therefore use a vacuum cleaner.
I cannot do everything.
I am not Wonderwoman. I am trying to accept this.
Although I kind of wish I was Wonderwoman. She can rock a pair of boots AND a tiara.
Do you outsource chores to your kids?
Are you also envious of Wonderwoman?
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