As we ate our spaghetti-and-meatball dinner tonight, my nine-year-old daughter, Elissa, started asking me about her allowance. She’s been gunning for a raise from the $2/week we implemented a while ago, and I have to hand it to her – she’s pretty persistent.
As I reached for more parmesan cheese, I debated my response. It’s a slippery slide, this allowance thing; to move from $2 to $3 per week means no turning back. And of course, her little sister Lily would expect fair treatment. It all adds up!
Seeing as her allowance is linked to keeping up with her general responsibilities around the house – keeping her room clean, brushing her teeth, etc. – I told her that she’d need to step up her chores in order to warrant a raise.
“The powder room (bathroom) needs cleaning tonight,” I announced. “And who wants to help with the dishes?”
Two little hands shot into the air, and for a moment my heart swelled. Could this be the answer to my constant hamster wheel of cleaning? I had two eager cleaners at my disposal!
While I can’t complain for a minute about their enthusiasm, the actual execution of the aforementioned tasks was another story. You see, everyone has their own style of cleaning, and it seems my two kids are polar opposites.
First, we have Elissa. When it comes to cleaning up, Elissa works quickly but not always effectively. Doing the dishes tonight, she managed to fill the rubber gloves with water, and make a sizeable pool on the kitchen floor. Oh, and she soaked her own pants and shirt in the process. Definite refining required.
On the other end of the spectrum is six-year-old Lily. She reminds me a bit of my childhood self when she cleans. There’s a touch of OCD in there; she does things extremely thoroughly, but it takes her freaking forever. Tonight, I tasked her with cleaning the mirror in the powder room. Twenty-five minutes and half a bottle of Windex later, it was all done.
I struggle a bit with the whole family chore thing. Sometimes I just want to do it myself because I know it will be faster, and done the way I want it (control much?!?), but then I resent being the only one who cleans up. Plus, I know that I’m not doing my kids any favours by cleaning up after them; they need to develop cleaning skills of their own, not to mention taking on increased responsibility.
What’s a mom to do? How do you go about assigning chores at your house – what works and what doesn’t? I’d love to hear about your experiences.