I get that question. A lot. It’s usually answered with an, “It depends on the day” or “I don’t really know” or “One day at a time.”
I remember many years ago, when Will was just an infant in my arms, attending a mom’s group at my parish. Around that table sat many years of motherly wisdom. There were moms of 11 children, 6, 4, 3, 1 and everything in between. I’ll never forget Debbie, the momma of 11, sharing with us the two pages of prayers her children said every day. It was then I thought to myself, sheez, I can’t even do more than a Hail Mary or an Our Father and I only have one bambino.
Then it hit me. One day at a time. One baby at a time. One tradition at a time. One prayer at a time. One lesson of motherhood at a time.
I’m no longer the rookie mom. I don’t need BabyCenter.com to send me the newsletters telling me what my 18-month-old should be doing this month, how to handle tantrums or potty train a stubborn toddler. I cancelled my subscription to Parents magazine long ago. Playgroup happens everyday at my house. I actually have learned some things along the way. But, I’m not too proud to realize when I need to reach out to an experienced mom and ask for her advice. There are many waters we have yet to discover: teenage years, high school, prom, first dates, driver’s ed, college applications…Yes, lots of living left to do here. Praise the Lord, right?
Every Monday, I thought I’d share some advice, some life lessons I’ve learned, borrowed, stolen or created in hopes that it might help you. So, here goes…
HDYDI: CHORE CHARTS
We’ve always had a loose interpretation of a chore chart. It went like this:
Me: Will, did you take out the trash?
W: What? You asked me to take out what?
M: The trash, Will. Remember? I’ve asked 3 billion times in the last 2 minutes.
W: Huh, didn’t hear you? Do I have to? [insert whine here]
M: Get your butt out to the trashcan and help out around the house young man.
W: But, Mom….[more whining, heavy sighing and bellyaching]
It got old. Fast. That, and I got tired of yelling. The kids got tired of it, too.
Enter, the best invention ever made. The Chore Chart. I got ours from EM Tanner Designs (no longer in business), but the Organized Parent has a super close second. Yes, yes, you can be crafty and make your own. I was lazy. And this one was super de-duper cute.
Every Sunday evening, I fill in the chores assigned to each child. When they complete their chore, they get a check mark. If they don’t do it or they do it with sass, they get an “X.” If they get two or more “X’s” in a week, that translates to no screen time on the weekend. No computer, no Wii, no iPhone, no TV. They don’t get screen time during the week (unless they need the computer for school), so this is a BIG deal. Personally, I think every child should have chores, no matter how many you have in your household. It’s the first small step in learning responsibility. I typically don’t assign chores for Saturday because of the various activities we have going on and the only big Sunday chore is laundry.
Clare is usually paired with somebody to assist, so I’m not super hard on her. But, the school-age kids don’t get any slack. For the most part, they do a great job of doing their chores. We’ve adjusted and tweaked it since we started the system back in January. Oh, and NO they do not get paid to do chores. We call them “Citizen of the Household” or “CoH” duties. It’s just the tax you pay, living at home. We all have to pitch in and help. We are considering giving them a small allowance for above and beyond chores. But, that’s another Monday HDYDI post, now isn’t it?
So far our grade on the chore chart? Winner winner chicken dinner.