Honey, I Fired the Kids. . .and I Picked Up Some Coffee

Anyone with kids over the ages of 2 or 3 has wondered about things like chores, or allowance, or how to teach them to clean up and help out around the house. Kid’s Chores are a discussion topic around the coffee pot for moms like me.

In our house, we have gone through many different systems. We’ve done chore charts, we’ve done all day Saturday cleaning binges, while I was on bedrest with twins the kids pretty much took over the housework including the laundry.

But, at the end of last year, I was fed up.

I was fed up with dinner dishes taking up to two hours getting loaded in the dishwasher.

I was fed up with fighting during chores.

I was fed up with a living room that went weeks without being vacuumed.

I was fed up with a house that was not fit for company.

I was fed up with nagging.

Now, I grew up in the 80’s. I grew up on the Today Show. I vaguely remember seeing a mom featured on the show who had SNAPPED. She went on strike, complete with a picket line. She had other moms striking too. These moms gave up and stopped doing the mom things. Hoping. Praying that their families would step up.

I wasn’t about to go on strike. My house was already a mess. I wasn’t about to let it get worse. And, quite frankly, I’m not sure any of them would care if I stopped cooking for them. All but the babies know how to boil ramen noodles.

So, I started taking over doing THEIR jobs. I did the post-dinner cleanup. (For the record it takes about 10 minutes for me to do it, and I don’t have to whine or fight to get it done). My kitchen had never looked better. Then I took over the daily straighten and vacuum of the living room. It takes me 7 minutes. (Side benefit? Daily vacuuming has cut dusting waaaaaaaaaay down). I was already doing all of the laundry. I still refuse to take out the trash unless I am alone. I am picking up, straightening up and it takes me almost no time.

Do you want to know the best part? Firing the kids is saving me big bucks! Those little stinkers were getting paid about $90 a  month to not clean my house and fight in my kitchen. Now…they get paid nothing and I still make them clean up their rooms. It’s a win. I get to spend some time alone cleaning the kitchen after dinner… and I don’t need to feel guilty when I splurge on a Venti White Mocha. After all, I earned it.

So yes, I fired the kids. Yes, I’m probably not teaching them the right lesson. I may be raising lazy slobs. BUT, I am yelling less, which is key, and my sink is shiny… which, in turn, akes me calmer.

My apologies to my future daughter-in-laws. When my boys tell you that they did not have to wash dishes or do laundry, they’ll be telling the truth. Maybe you’ll have better luck than I did!

So, if you see me around town sipping a latte, remember, I worked for it!

Chime in! What are your views on kids and chores? Have you been tempted to fire your kids? Go on strike? You know I’d love to hear from you!

12 Replies to “Honey, I Fired the Kids. . .and I Picked Up Some Coffee”

  1. AMEN. My kids don’t have chores per se, and neither do they have an allowance. They are expected to help when asked. Someday when they’re on their own in a dorm room or apartment, they’ll appreciate us. 🙂

  2. My son is expected to help. In return, for years he got books at B&N. Now it is gas money and/or date money.

    He has his moments, but he does a pretty good job for a teen.

    1. The teen was actually pretty dependable. However, he found someone on the outside willing to pay him more than I can. Now the kid makes more money than me! Time for him to buy me coffee!

  3. My kids have also failed me in the chores dept. Smart to cut the allowance. I know many parents still doling out cash for half done chores. Drink up my friend!

  4. The best things we’ve done to get our kids on board with the upkeep is to come up with easy storage and simple routines. Well it didn’t feel simple at the time. Things like hanging hooks for coats, creating space for art supplies, cubbies for backpacks and we even had a big built-in shelving unit done last year with lots of bookshelves and baskets. That combined with teaching them from a very young age the necessity of giving away things we’ve outgrown—having less to clean makes it easy. Also, we store things like the broom, dustpan and dusters where they can reach, and we have a family rule that no one leaves until the kitchen is clean and the dishes are done. They get a small weekly allowance, but the real motivator is everyone working together. All that said, it is a process and it’s not always smooth 😉

  5. I’m so glad you wrote this post. Now I know I’m not alone in wanting a peaceful household more than I want my kids to “contribute.” I’ve always felt like it was something I was doing wrong that they wouldn’t keep up with their chores. What a weight off when I finally realized it’s ok to prioritize our relationships.

    I do have to say that I haven’t given up yet, though! I guess I’m a glutten for punishment…I found a new “responsiblity system” that I’m going to give a try! I’ll keep you posted 🙂

  6. I am married to a wonderful man, the love of my life, for which I am so grateful. He loves me and our child more than anything.

    His mother didn’t have any of her boys do household chores, which is the BIGGEST mistake. He doesn’t see the dust or mildew and seems to think there is a fairy that takes care of everything house related. I actually had to point out to him the other day that I am well aware when he does his chores, because when he doesn’t I have to do the work.

    1. Very true. My kids do know how to do them…and now they have to do them for free when they get on my nerves. But for now, I’m a stay at home mom and can get it all done in half the time and twice as good. With no fighting. They do have to keep their rooms clean (but I don’t have to hear them do that!) I do fear that their not doing so many chores now may effect their housework later. But I think sometimes being neat is more inborn than anything else. I had to do tons of chores growing up (like heavy duty scrubbing of everything), but I am a slob by nature. I have to force myself to clean and keep things neat, for the good of my family and for my very neat husband (who grew up doing very few chores). We’ll see how it all ends up. For now, the two year olds LOVE to help clean!

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