I occasionally read bits and pieces online about domestic discussions or disputes about getting the domestic duties done. You know: Getting the kids to do their chores and help out around the house.
For some, this is a never-ending battle. It isn’t for us and I thought I’d share why this might be.
My basic philosophy about “home” is that is a place of safety, of growth, and of learning. Within the structure we provide, we can all be at rest in ourselves, seeking to love one another, but also being able to relax and know we are loved in return, without pretense, without notes being taken.
My basic philosophy about my role as “Mom” is that I am to work myself out of a job.
To get my children to the point where they will be ready, willing, and able to function entirely on their own.
When it comes to getting stuff done around the house, my kids know the above about me. They know how the daily affairs of our lives are conducted. We have timetables and schedules and standards that are met. And when I say something needs to get done, I expect the responsible party to get to it.
I give them some control in how and when they do so, and I think this is the key.
I rarely expect my guys to jump to their feet on Saturday morning when I say, “Okay! You! Do this. You! Do that.” Instead, I discuss with them early in the morning what I expect to happen before dinner that evening and they tell me when they will get these things done. If I need something done by a particular time, I tell them so and explain why.
I’m a very reasonable person.
My sons learn to order their days so that they work and play and put forth effort to the benefit of our family. The elder occasionally forgets (rarely) and needs to be reminded. The younger (sometimes) gripes a little as he does what he has already agreed is a reasonable bit of housework. But the work gets done. I don’t raise my voice (though I do remind the younger son of the passing of time if needed), I don’t need to issue ultimatums or say harsh things.
And if, by some odd event, I have mismanaged time so badly that any chore needs to be done immediately? It gets done. Immediately and without a big trial. My guys pitch in as needed, when needed. Because I don’t demand it of them unless it’s important.
At the end of the day, I like my home to be harmonious. Do we ever have issues? Yes, of course we do, but they are rarely about domestic duties. They’re usually due to how things are being handled outside of the “home” bubble. Do I shelter my sons? Well, what is a home for but to provide shelter? So, yes, I do. Do they have to deal with the outside world? You bet.
But they’re also learning, I hope, how to manage their time, be productive, and respect one another as we do these things together. I hope these are aspects of domestic dependability that will last.
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
This kind of system might not work for everyone, but it works for us. At the end of the day, I think that’s what matters.