Does anybody want a five year old? You can’t have my daughter, but I’m considering selling my son (joking, of course). My daily fights with him are about to do me in.
Let’s talk chores for a minute. My kids don’t have that many. They might have three chores that don’t involve making their beds, picking up their dirty clothes, or taking a bath. The latter are just normal, expected things that all normal, civilized humans do. They are old enough, however, for a few extra chores. And, quite frankly, I need the help around the house. But you know what? As little as I give them to do, they spend the entire day fussing rather than doing. And it’s driving me insane.
Their Chores Only Take 20 Minutes, So Why Do They Whine About Them All Day Instead?
The kids can easily do their chores in about 20 minutes, and then be done for the day. They could spend the rest of the evening playing, watching TV, reading, or whatever their little hearts desire. They could have a few glorious hours of sweet freedom.
Does this happen? No.
My nine-year-old daughter whines, but reluctantly does her chores … in about twice the time it should take. She does a few eye rolls that could rival the deepest, strongest, eye rolliest of eye rolls. She whines and talks under her breath the entire time. She probably has daydreams about mommy drowning in a vat of dish detergent. But, she does her chores. In the grand scheme of things, and at the end of the day, that’s really all that matters to me. Lose the battle, win the war, right?
Then there is my five-year-old son. He is a different monster … er demon … er child all together. He swears, everyday, that he doesn’t have chores. I have to tell him, everyday, “Start with the trashes.” Like clockwork, cue the dramatic throwing of himself on the floor and screaming, “I’m not going to do it!” Next comes the yelling, “You hate me.” I calmly retort with, “Okay, go get on your bed. You need to reset.”
He throws his toys in fit of rage, kicks his bed, throws his blanket, and then mommy turns out his light and closes his door. I let him know he can come out when he can be a normal human being. This usually takes about thirty minutes, but sometimes it takes a full hour.
He apologizes for throwing a fit, finally starts doing the trash, but has to be reminded he has more than one trashcan to empty. Now, lest you freak out and think I am a mean mom who makes her son empty a ton of trash, he has three small cans to empty. He doesn’t even have to take them outside, he just has to put the bags at the back door.
After the trash, it’s time for him to pick up the floor in the front room. Again with the arguing. “But Natalie isn’t doing her chores,” he whines. This is because Natalie has finished her chores two hours ago. That doesn’t matter to him. He just sees the here-and-now.
By the time his final chore roles around, giving the dog food and water, I’ve had it with him. I’m exhausted, and I still have to make dinner.
Thus is my life day in and day out. On the odd occasion that daddy is off work and home, my son does his chores with relative ease. Why, WHY is it just mommy who has to deal with the exhausting imposter who takes over the body of my sweet “baby?”
Parenting is hard, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Each child is completely different, and what works for one probably won’t work for the other. My advice: Start easing them into chores early. Hopefully this will get your kids into a routine, and you won’t have the evenings I’m so lucky to experience.
Also, I need a vacation.