How (Not) to Clean Your House


Chores are important for a child’s self-esteem, sense of responsibility and experience with a feeling of accomplishment of a job well done.

My kids have chores. Ask them, and they will tell you that they are responsible for doing EVERYTHING around the house. I tell them that they would have a lot less chores if they did just two or three of them well.

For example: Big E is responsible for taking out the trash and twice a week, making sure that the trash cans get brought around to the front yard early in the morning for the trash men to pick up. Now, there are some guidelines that he should adhere to for this to be done correctly. 1) Do not wait until the inside trash can is overflowing, and make sure to replace the trash bag. 2) Make sure all the trash placed in the large cans is bagged and tied. 3) Trash pickup is Tuesday and Thursday mornings. 4) On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, pull the empty large cans back around to the back yard.

Result: He’s pretty good about taking out the trash when told that it’s time to do so, after you’ve asked him once nicely, yelled it a second time, and then turned off the x-box or tv and repeated yourself for good measure. He never replaces the trash bag unless he can’t manage to talk someone standing close by into doing it for him. He always forgets what day of the week it is, so you’ll catch one member of my family frantically running down my uneven driveway on any given Tuesday or Thursday morning dragging a heavy trash can before the trash men make it to our house. Half of the trash that is in those cans will be left in the cans, and/or strewn about the yard, as it was not properly bagged ahead of time. And rarely are the empty trash cans in my front yard timely placed in the back yard. But, have him tell you, and he’s an engineer of waste management.

Tween C is in charge of emptying / reloading the dishwasher. Guidelines: 1) Don’t overload the dishwasher. 2) Rinse the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. 3) Be careful of how high you stack the dishes, so as not to impede the turning of the magic dishwasher turnstalls located at the top of each rack. 4) When unloading the dishes, make sure that each dish is clean and dry before putting it away. 5) Take care of where you are putting the dishes, i.e., don’t put plates in the pot cabinet, etc.

Results: “C, what happened to doing the dishes today?” or “C, where’s the salad bowl?” or “Does anyone in this house know where the cheese grater is?!” Oh, wait, that’s usually Little B’s fault, and it’s in his closet. 🙂 But, ask her, and she’s a domestic goddess. She even puts in her ipod earphones like I do when I’m cleaning, so as to make it appear that she’s actually doing something other than shuffling semi-clean dishes around in the kitchen the way a three-year old rearranges food on their plate to make it look like they ate some of it.

Asked to sweep the living room? No problem, just swat everything under the couch with your foot, and presto! You’ve “swept”. Put away laundry? Easy! Just carry things into your room, and throw them on the floor in a heap. Bathe the dog? Sure! Just run some water over her and let her jump out and run into the living room where she can roll around on the couch to dry herself off.

All this time, I’ve been working so hard, when obviously it’s more about making it APPEAR as though you’ve done something, than it is about actually getting stuff done.

So, their lists remain long and arduous, in hopes that in the midst of getting through their lists, they will find their “niche” and we will find out what they are good at doing. If they will do two or three–oh hell–ONE thing well, then that’s all they will ever have to do. But I’m not holding my breathe.

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About zohrbak

Zohrbak is an old email username I had a while back...it's a made-up twist on two characters from Spaceghost. Zorak and Brak. I'm a geek. I am a married, working mother of 4 children, ages 4-15. I also have interests outside of my children, but I can never remember what they are.
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4 Responses to How (Not) to Clean Your House

  1. I feel your pain..literally – especially with the garbage. We have two big problems in our household. 1) Hubba and SS like to place full containers of soda, coffee or melted ice-cream in the inside trash – when it is already over flowing resulting in a big mess. 2) No body except me will take the trash to the corner. 3) (so there are 3 problems) When I can get them to empty to trash inside they insist on putting bags with food waste in them in the one can that doesn’t have a lid…and we have racoons.

    I actually went on strike 2 weeks ago. Haven’t emptied the trash in the house since then. I have a little bag that I fill during the day and take out myself, but left the rest for the boys. After it started stinking up my SS’s room, someone took it out…I will continue doing this till they get the clue.

    I can’t actually get either of them to load or empty to dishwasher. They both claim not to know how to use it!

    Thanks for the laugh?

  2. Aimee says:

    My kids have a lot of chores too. They do the same stuff. Except I freak out on them, and make them do it over and over til its done. lol. They are getting pretty good.

    I have learned to never walk on the deck while Cole is watering my dead plants. He thinks its fantastic pay back for having to do chores to accidently spray me with the hose.

    Also, Jacob likes to put anything he picks up of the floor into a Walmart bag and try to throw it into the big can in the garage. Apparently throwing stuff away is much easier than putting it away. If it was just toys that might even be ok with me. lol.

    Cody and Aron are more creative….They too shove things under the couch,and will even throw the stuff they are supposed to be cleaning up into the the room the other is supposedly cleaning up. So, picking up ends up being something like a food fight of shoes ,socks, toys, doggie toys, dirty clothes etc from one room to the other. Then they get mad at each other for doing it and a fight breaks out.

    This leads to a new topic which I won’t dwell on long. It will, for now, suffice to say that it is a good thing that Z’s kids were born in the order they were. Boy-girl and the second set are boy-girl. When you have to pubescent boys who are so full of testosterone it’s leaking from their ears, the fights get scary sometimes. Seriously. And I yell and scream but am smart enough to not get physically involved.

    Anyway, I gotta go now. I hear yelling upstairs

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