It seems that every family hits that point where you make changes or just die trying. We hit that point. It seems that every time I turn around the kids are squabling and quarraling and Mom turns Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hide unleashy her nasty little self. I ask them to do dishes and there’s a fight, I ask them to pick up and there’s a fight, I say lets go to the park and there’s a fight while trying to find shoes, I say it’s time for bed and there’s world war III, I half expect to look at them cross-eyed and find another reason to break into a family brawl. The cleaning and picking up thing seemed to be a main source of contention – and despite the feelings of “fine I’ll just do i t myself” I knew that was unreallistic and wouldn’t help a thing – and definitely wouldn’t teach the children the value of work and responsibility.
This is where big sisters come in handy. I was talking to her about my woes and my foibles and like big sisters usually do she listened. (yay big sister!) 🙂 Then she reminded me of things that would make my job easier. The silly thing to me was that these things were things I already knew about and had just failed to implement them. Things such as chore charts and check lists so the children knew what was expected of the them (duh!) and immediate consequences and rewards. “Yay you did the job, lets go to the park!” (and have located shoes previously so as not to break into a brawl at that point, heh). So yesterday I had a little chat with my children, that went something like this:
We are a family and everyone is an important part. As part of this family each of you is expected to do certain chores and do them happily. You have to work – you’ll have to work all your life and complaining about it isn’t going to make it go away. So, this is what we are going to do. I will make chore charts and they will list what is expected of each of you. When I ask for help doing dishes or cleaning up you will not argue, but say “yes mom” and do it happily. Any complaint will bring double the work. All chores must be completed before play, trips, and other fun stuff. As far as crafts and projects go – I like to do them, and I want to do them but they make a big mess and then I have complainers about picking up the mess. If you want to do crafts this summer you need to show me you are willing to pick up happily, and not give me complaints about picking up afterwards.
They all kind of just stood there with semi-blank looks on their faces, until I asked them if they agreed and then they enthusiastically said yes. So, I get to do some chore chart planning and such today, and hope that while it won’t cure all of our woes, it might at least lessen some of the fighting and stress. At least I can hope it will keep our home a little cleaner (and thus happier). So, back to the basics for me (funny how that always seems to solve things) and if I can just remember constantly that a “soft answer turneth away wrath” then I might just make it through the summer with at least a shred of sanity in place.