Chore Bores

11c46a47abe20ff531db39796e7bf5c0I’m not jealous of people who have humongous houses, take amazing vacations or even of women who can pull off having Restylane injections that make them look like they just had their cheeks replaced with a book shelf. No, what get’s me green with envy are families with chore charts. The more elaborate the chore chart the more jealous I get. From the cutesy, colorful felt chore chart with velcro stars for a job well done to a dry erase board that looks more complicated to understand than instructions for putting together a chest of drawers from Ikea. You see, I am a chore chart drop out. No, I’m lying. To be totally truthful, I’m actually a chore chart never was. In all my years of raising children I’ve never done a chore chart or even so much as listed my kids “responsibilities” on a post it note or napkin.

Here’s an overshare for you disguised as total disclosure – my kids don’t do much in the way of chores. Yeah, sure they mow the grass and are required to keep their rooms decent but they’re not scrubbing the kitchen floors or spending quality alone time with the Clorox Disinfecting bathroom cleaner. My explanation for their lack of chore due diligence is simple – I’m an enabler and in my defense I’m going to argue that I believe most parents are when it comes to household cleaning. Which is why last week I was on the floor of my daughter’s room laughing hysterically.

I was listening to a local show on NPR and a family therapist of some sort was talking about getting kids to earn their keep via domestic responsibilities. (Hilarious already, right?) This topic prompted numerous call-ins from people (very pompously, I might add) sharing their success at getting their kids to help around the house etc.

While listening to all this I’m attempting to get clean sheets on my daughter’s bed (oh, the irony) when one mother called in and went off on her children’s daily list of responsibilities. I’m thinking she must have been high on oven cleaner fumes (it happens people) or something because not only do her kids clean the entire house, walk dogs, look after younger children but she has a chore reward system that tracks their every move. Check this out, for her kids to be able to earn 30 minutes of reading time they must log 30 minutes of corresponding outside activity. This is when I was laughing so hard my foot got trapped in the upper right corner of a twin fitted sheet and I hit the ground. No worries, I was fine because there was an almost three-foot high pile of clean and folded laundry, that had yet to put away, laying on my daughter’s bedroom floor that broke my fall.

When I was done howling I searched amid the laundry strewn floor for my cell and phoned into the show. I felt it was my duty as an average, unchore tracking mom, to call B.S. on these parents. Seriously, what mother, even if she does have the time, logistical skills or Chore Monster app wants to spend her every waking moment refereeing and calculating domestic contributions. At some point in your parenting career you want to simply enjoy your children even if they are slobs.

I was excited when my call into show got picked up on the second ring. I was not excited when I did not get put on the show. The phone screener told me,”someone else was making the same point.” I’m thinking that’s radio code for, “you sound too brilliant for us to put on the air” because no one was making my point. Not one person was brave enough to shout loud and proud, “My kids are messy, can be lazy and I can’t remember the last time they unloaded a dishwasher and I don’t care!” I also wanted to ask the family therapist if he didn’t think the obsessive tracking and scheduling of a kid’s every waking move wasn’t ground zero for raising a serial killer. They wouldn’t let me ask that question either. In fact, I think that earned me a “Thanks for calling” hang up.

Whatever. I know I’m right. Now excuse me, I have to go fold more laundry, carry it up the stairs to my kids’ rooms and watch it never get put away.

**For more Snarky check out my book  Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. 

Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. 

To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link – http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.

12 thoughts on “Chore Bores

  1. Chore Chart Lover says:

    I think you’re making a mistake by not having your kids do daily chores AND I wouldn’t be so proud of having slobs for kids. Chores build character! This is something every GOOD mom knows.

    • Elsalgal says:

      @Chore Chart Lover: way to instantly insult not only the wonderful author of this blog, but also every parent out there who struggles to get their kids to do ANYTHING. Are chores useful for kids? Of course. But you shouldn’t be judging others for choosing to put their parenting focus into other areas. Not every parent is obsessive about the things you are obsessive about. That’s what makes the world an interesting place. And just so you know, we expected our kids to help out with chores. We even tried chore charts. They didn’t work very well, because we were too busy loving our children to be crazy enforcers. Love your children, make sure they know they are loved, and enjoy them. Let the details get taken care of in whatever way works for you and your family. THAT’s what every GOOD mom knows.

    • AmberM says:

      Since when did making your kids do chores earn you GOOD mom status? Ugh. Why do some people try to keep score when there isn’t any score to keep? My kids have never had “chores”. We just ask them to do things periodically and they do it. We give them an allowance b/c we believe they should have spending money. We hope they spend it wisely but it doesn’t always happen. And that’s ok, because they are kids. Plenty of time for them to be grownups later. And Snarky…this entry is sooooo me. Especially the part about breaking falls b/c kids don’t put clean clothes away. LOL!

  2. Pearl ;) says:

    My kids do not have a fancy chart, or white board for chores. Most of the time they are in school, when I am cleaning or doing laundry. Easier for me to put it away rather than wait for their return. I am certain this is not a health risk nor will it result in flawed character, as they are busy being kids. My kids get 1 childhood and I will let them be kids as long as possible. By 6th grade, my now Sr. was doing her own laundry. Not because of a chore chart, but because she was on a different laundry schedule, set by her. Freedom of choice, also allows kids the opportunity to volunteer to help. Another character building attribute. Here’s to raising free range children who march to their own drummers, not a chore chart!!!!

  3. Bookworm says:

    I’ve seen moms go out of their minds from the minutiae of trying to tie chores and grades to rewards, allowance etc. The same problems come up: Do they get half of their allowance if they miss certain chores? Do they owe Mom $$ for chores that she has to complete because they were left undone? And so on. The system starts to look like something an Enron accountant cooked up. No thanks. I expect my kids to help out but I’m just too tired to create extra pie charts and spreadsheets after I get home from working all day.

  4. Bookworm says:

    Chore Charts are ultimately about as useful as those bogus Reading Log entries, Beginning Driver Hours, Instument Practice Records, and Volunteer Hours Logsheets: So much silliness, and everyone knows it.

  5. Old School Kool-aide Mom says:

    Helping out around the house? Of course. Giving your kid some responsibilities? Absolutely. Bogging my kids down with chores so I don’t have to do them myself? And keeping track on a chore chart for the sake of earning rewards? Nah. As long as my kids can: be on top of their personal hygiene, manage their money reasonably well, know how to prepare a box of mac n cheese, can operate a washing machine, and avoid the need to have their personal space condemned or fumigated – I figure I’ve given them the basic tools to survive dorm life.

  6. normal mom says:

    Did some commenter really try to start a mommy war here? she doesn’t know who she’s dealing with, does she?

  7. Old School Kool-Aid Mom says:

    Should my kids help out around the house? Of course. Give them responsibilities? Absolutely. Pile on chores under guise of ‘teaching them responsibility’ when in truth it’s because I hate doing them myself ? Or keep a chore chart and divvy out rewards tit-for-tat? Nah. As long as they can: stay on top of their personal hygiene, manage their money reasonably well, prepare a box of mac and cheese, operate a washing machine, and avoid the necessity of having their personal living space condemned or fumigated – I figure I’ve taught them the basics necessary for dorm life.

  8. Jeanne says:

    The other bonus in cleaning their rooms for them is you get to throw away all the crap they “have” to save but they’ve already forgot about. If they do remember I just say, “you must have left it somewhere”.

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