When I was growing up, my mother would leave me and my sisters a note with a list of “jobs” that she would want accomplished by the end of every day.
It didn’t matter if it was a school day, a lazy day of summer or if a tornado was about to touch down, you read the note and did what you were told.
The notes that my mother left weren’t short punch lists of the jobs that the average mom would expect her latch-key kids to accomplish, oh no.
Most of the times they were an arm’s length long, barely legible, and in our young eyes completely unreasonable:
(Here’s a sample)
Yes, you read that correctly, “tar the driveway,” or did you get tripped up on waxing the floors? My sisters and I accomplished everything on my mother’s list, every day. Some of us pulled more weight than others (me) but that’s another post for another time and $75 bucks for my therapist.
It’s true. At the ripe old age of 16, I tarred the driveway. One of the many skills I have under my belt.
Fast forward 24 years later.
As a mom to two boys, I’m finding it incredibly difficult to get them to help in any way. They are only eight and five, but at five I was weeding the entire garden, and vacuuming the pool, they can certainly help in some ways!
I decided to give my boys “jobs” that they would have to complete every morning, I figured I’d start slow. The jobs are almost laughable but I thought it would reduce the number of times I scream my head off, help us get out of the house on time and by starting small it would make it easier for them (because isn’t it all about them?). And as they nailed each job, I could always add to their responsibilities.
These are their jobs (and frankly, now that I think about it, they are getting off easy):
- Get dressed with sneakers on – BEFORE the TV goes on, eat breakfast, brush teeth, and wash face.
- Tell me when it’s 8:20 so we won’t be late for school.
- Remind me to give them their vitamins.
It’s been five weeks. They haven’t nailed a thing, and I’m still screaming bloody murder: “GET DRESSED, GET YOUR SHOES ON, EAT BREAKFAST, BRUSH YOUR TEETH, WASH YOUR FACE.”
I think I need my mom to intervene. I feared my mom. My sisters and I were soldiers, every command barked was an order filled.
In the midst of one chaotic morning, as I was screaming until my face turned blue, I mumbled something about the boys not doing their jobs, as soon as that came flying out of my mouth, my five-year-old turned to me and said “Well, you’re doing your job as the SCREAMER.”
Just another skill under my belt.