Here’s a story from a woman I just couldn’t pass up. Hope you enjoy it and even more importantly can use it to help someone else. Maybe even yourself.
My parents believed strongly that a child’s only job is to study, go to extra curriculars and have fun. That’s it. End of story. I admit I was spoiled. However, I have a few friends who until they went to college had never
- Made their own bed
- Did their own laundry
- Cooked a meal
- Set the table
- Cleaned the table
- Done dishes
- Cleaned a room
- Swept or mopped a floor
- Thrown out the garbage
- Worked a job
And probably many more things I can’t remember now. To be clear, they didn’t even realize that they should be doing any of this to help around the house and they vividly recalled when they did try parents would ship them off to go do something else. The consequences they spoke of were as follows:
- College was a rude awakening. All of a sudden they had roommates yelling about being a slob, laundry piled up, dirty dishes stinking up the whole apartment. They had no idea what they were doing wrong. Sharing a room was miserable for those first roommates with clothes strewn all over the place and unwashed bowls and cups everywhere. I cringe just remembering how ignorant they were. It was a harsh and steep learning curve for to realize they were now responsible for everything they did and they didn’t have mom and dad to help. They wished they had been better prepared before. Check out how my friend (I’ll call her Lauren) describes her life experiences.
- A life long hatred of chores and an innate sense of “this isn’t my job”. Starting chores at 18 is way too late. Even as a 27 year old now married with a child, chores are almost intolerable for me. I still feel a gnawing sense that my time is better spent doing something else and this is someone else’s responsibility (when logically I am well aware that it’s mine). Of course with age I’m able to outsource cleaning and split chores with my husband but I hate cooking and cleaning and doing errands with a passion. It was never built into my character and I wish my parents had made it a part of my life earlier so that it would seem routine to me now.
- Uncomfortable helping in someone else’s house. When I go to my in-laws house or even a friend’s place I am uncomfortable in the kitchen or volunteering to help out. It is not in my immediate nature to ask the host what I can do to help or just jump in and lend a hand. My entire childhood consisted of me sitting in the kitchen talking to my parents while they ran around and did everything and it takes a good deal of conscious effort even today for me to not do that when I go to someone else’s place. I am sure I have come across as rude or unhelpful many times in my life and have had to work very hard to move past my ignorance.
- Super conscious of how I raise my son. Having been through this process I make my son do chores even at the age of 2. He helps do the laundry, throw out the trash, vacuum and clean up after himself. I will never coddle him in the way I was and have him struggle later on. While my parents did it out of pure love and a desire for me to experience a childhood they didn’t, I think I would be a far better person if I had been less selfish early on.
Of course mine may be extreme examples but my biggest takeaway is that children become stronger and better people by helping out at home so even if you don’t want to share the job for your own sanity, share it for their’s.