Have you ever created a chore chart for your kids to use… or found a neat one already made by another desperate mom to get her kids to help mom on Etsy or TPT?
I’ve been down this road a time or two and honestly, I am not sure how I feel about the whole chore chart, etc.
Like all mommas, we want our kiddos to help clean the house and do things that will help our family run smoothly, but my struggle is what is expected and how to enforce, encourage, etc.
Then you throw in the whole do you pay for them to do chores or jobs around the house?
When my older boys were little, I tried everything to get them to help around the house. I was a single mom and a very messy housekeeper. I NEEDED their help, even if it was not done to my liking, I could not do it all on my own.
One day in desperation, with two (yes, you just read two) laundry basketfuls of socks, I made a deal with the boys. I said, “For every pair of socks you mate, I will give you 10 cents.” This was so exciting for them to attack a project that they could do AND make money doing. I left them to it and went on to do other tasks about the house. To my delight, an hour later, I had two laundry baskets full of mated socks. I paid the boys in change so we could count out the number of mated socks and it was a win-win for the whole house. I gave them each an extra dollar to put them in the correct drawers and felt like I was winning at this chore game.
The next morning as I was getting ready, I was so excited I had a sock drawer full of socks to choose from, and I grabbed a pair and headed to get my shoes and put them on. Much to my distress, as I unfolded my pair of socks, I realized that I had not been clear on my directions from the chore the day before and failed to convey my expectations that the socks should match. Mated socks are matched socks, I knew that, but the little boys did not. Chore fail!
I decided that I would not pay them to do chores anymore but sat them down and explained that we are each part of a team, our family, and everyone needs to participate to make this team work well. I would not be paying them, but they would have certain responsibilities each week and we would rotate who did what jobs.
This worked for a few weeks until my oldest sat me down with a list of chores and what he wanted to be paid for each one. It was very detailed, and he wanted to be paid for taking out the trash, picking up toys, scooping poop in the backyard, being kind to his brother, and putting away clothes. He had the nerve to add mating socks to the list! Each job had a dollar amount next to it. He was hoping to make bank with these jobs. I was a little salty at his sweet little entrepreneurial heart and decided to sit on it a day or two before continuing the conversation.
A day or two later, after giving it much thought, I sat him down and told him that I would agree to his list of chores and payment. He was so excited. I told him that if that is how he wants to work in our family, then I had a list of things that he would need to pay for in our home. Complete on the list was a price he would have to pay for meals, laundry services, showers or baths, TV usage, and a portion of the electric and water bills. I said all he needed to do was agree to pay me and I would be happy to pay him.
Retreating to his room, he asked for a calculator.
About 20 minutes later, he asks if we can talk and goes on to tell me that there is no way he can pay me for everything. He won’t have enough money for everything I am charging him for and this is simply not fair.
I told him he had one other option. He could do chores around the house and what I asked him to do, and I wouldn’t charge him the fees that I had come up with.
He hugged me and said, “Thank you mom, you are the best!”
SMH at chores.