Inside: Teach your child responsibility and the four responsibilities that everyone should know.
A few years ago, I was a tired mom. I was doing everything. From taking care of my children aged 9-3 (my youngest was 3 at that time) and below, to wanting me-time to do things that I wanted to do.
My husband worked all day and he came home tired. He would do the groceries and pay the bills. He was responsible for taking us to doctor and getting meds. He drove us everywhere. I felt he did enough but when I looked around, I saw that everyone was happy and had their me time guilt free.
My husband would come home , have his tea and sit and watch tv or scroll social media or chat with his friends and go out while the kids played, studied watched TV or went out to play with their friends.
Here I was … overwhelmed, guilty over worked and tired.
I was always doing the dishes, vacuuming the crumbs, mopping the spills or getting the kids in bed. I read to them, did crafts with them… yet when I found time to sit at my desk to work or took up my crochet, I felt guilty. I hardly ever went out with my friends or do anything by myself anymore.
One night, I told my husband how I was feeling. He said:
‘... that is because you are taking all the responsibility. Put some responsibility on the kids’ shoulders‘, he said. ‘My mother had 10 kids… she’d have gone crazy if she was like you‘, he said laughing.
He was right. This is not how to raise kids, I agreed. My mother had five of us. She had hobbies and real business that she ran and she travelled. Yes, she hired help to manage her home too but many times, she didn’t need help. She had us.
Smart mothers don’t do it all.
They know that their job as mothers isn’t to be a servant but to be the manager of their own home. She accepts her CEO position and appoints people as her team.
I had my little team right there. under me. I didn’t have to do everything for them. They were more than capable of doing things for themselves. In fact, they were always in the way because they wanted to do things and I wouldn’t let them. So that day… tired and sad, I told my children how I felt.
Communication is the key.
If your family doesn’t know how you feel, how will they help?
I told my children that mommy felt tired doing everything. I needed help. Mommy wanted them to help her help them. It was not right that mom do their responsibilities. There are things that they need to do themselves too because it was their responsibility. Mommy can’t always do things for themselves. They had to learn things too.
The four responsibilities
I told them that in our house there were four kind of jobs to be done.
- Self care – taking care of yourself – dressing well, sleeping well, eating well. Praying. Mind soul and body. Not feeding yourself unhealthy stuff.
- Responsibilities – taking of your things and what you own. Your books, toys, bed, belongings. Showing love and gratitude for what you have.
- Loving your family. Family contributions – as a part of your family, showing gratitude and care by taking care of the people who love and take care of you by sharing the load and being helpful. Cleaning together, helping plan or setting things in motion. Shopping, taking care of siblings, putting home in order.
- Loving your home. Home blessing – part of this is your contribution to your family but there is also taking care of your home. Loving the things you have by giving them attention and care. Scheduling out time like maintenance and fixing things you see are wrong, vacuuming and dusting, praying for your home and thanking God for what you have been given.
We all agreed that mommy could not be responsible for self care for each of them. They had to learn to keep themselves clean.
And even take care of their toys and belongings. If it was their’s to keep, they had to take care of them. Or it was their loss if mommy had to take it away.
But I also expected some family contributions from them. This was the way they could love their family. Show gratitude to each other. Take care of each other.
Also, I wanted them to help me love our home and pray over it. How to keep it clean regularly through decluttering and managing daily maintenance.
We made a list of things that fall under each category and then showed them how we could weave that into our daily routine so that we automatically, without second thought touched on things daily.
We made chore lists for ourselves. But basically over the years, my children have now learnt that there is a time when mommy cleans and does housework. At that time, my children join me.
I will be honest with you, it is not like they magically fell into our cleaning and home routine. Nope, there was resistance but eventually they learnt that when they help mommy with clean up and house chores, things get done faster. Mom is happy to have more time and this is the best form of loving your parents.
The way you talk to your children matters.
When you treat your family as your team, they will learn to work together with you.
Communication is a life skill. I taught my children that what people think as “chores” is actually self care, responsibilities and a way to love your home and your family. It was a simple switch in thinking from replacing the word chore with “love”.
- Loving yourself
- Loving your stuff
- Loving your family
- Loving your home.
Tell me now, did you need to read this today?
Teaching children responsibility and asking them to help you with chores requires a little patience and a lot of communication of our needs. We can’t force change. Positive change is a result of encouragement. So always remember: Don’t force change in children. Encourage.