It Has Taken Years of Nagging for Me to Get This Lucky

This week has been all about school shoe shopping, buying new uniforms, getting the blazers dry cleaned, washing the uniforms that don't fit any more, and putting them away for the next child. Scheduling haircuts, dentists, orthodontists. It has been quite an expensive week. However, in a triumph for 'using up what we have', I didn't order two expensive stationery packs for our highschool students at $74 each, I hauled out the crate with all the unused stationery saved from past school years, and outfitted the girls with most of what they needed, so we managed to get away with a $40 spend at the office supplies shop, which included a whole lot of book covering supplies as well.

All we have to do now is pick up text books next week, for which I will need to remortgage the house. Heigh ho. I emailed The Man, who is, as usual, somewhere else that is not here, to let him know we were spending all his hard earned money, and he said. 'Well, that's what it's there for.' He's such a nice man. Or maybe just resigned to the inevitable.

Being a tired mummy this week, I requested help in the kitchen, and this is what I got:

The Girl's fabulous chicken pie, with leftovers from the weekend's roast. Two days later, The Boy made his famous Thai Chicken Curry. I am a very lucky mummy. Tonight The Boy has gone to visit his girlfriend to teach her how to make a white sauce. The ripples spread out across the pond... and I will be sending some seriously capable young people out into the world.

Do your children do chores around the house? I was completely useless at cooking or housekeeping when I left home, and I want my children to be confident that they can run a household when they come to set up their own. Besides, it is so useful to have competent young people about the house.

Here is what my children do:

The Boy does his own laundry, washes his sheets and towels, vacuums his room, and takes turns with me to clean the downstairs bathroom, and washes the car he drives. We also pay him to wash the other car, mow the lawn, and do the whippersnipping, and various other gardening and renovating jobs. He is not super practical by nature, but has become quite handy with training. He also cooks when asked!

The Girl washes her sheets, vacuums her room, is in charge of the cats, does a lot of baking and cooking, mostly because she enjoys it, sometimes because I need an extra pair of hands.

Rosy vacuums her room, strips her bed and helps remake it, and helps with cooking.

Posy clears the table, and whines a lot when asked to do, well, anything really. The others think she is a spoilt brat because they all had to start doing the dishes when they were six. The truth is I am an old, tired woman, and if they realised how many years it took off my life forcing them to do the dishes when they were younger..

Oh yes, the older three do the dishes. There is no roster, but I try to be fair when I ask them to do a task. If one of them has helped with the cooking, I collar one of the others to help with the dishes. I expect they will be quite pleased when Posy is the last child at home and has to do ALL the dishes.

I don't feel that any of these tasks are particularly onerous, but traditionally, anyone doing exams gets to skip chores. I also think it is important for them to get a sense of the routine of housework that keeps a household going, which of course requires me to be implementing that routine. Mostly happens. Except in summer holidays..

Here is fellow blogger and parent-of-teenagers, Mrs Frantic's, take on chores, and here is a simply wonderful little manifesto from a judge who has a theory about how teenagers should be spending their time. Thanks Michele!

Meanwhile, I am looking forward (not) to another year of working out what is for school lunch...


Heather said…
What a beautiful pot pie with a decorative crust rim. It's great that your kids love to cook. Your son teaching his girlfriend how to make white sauce is great.

My kids have chores, but they are mostly done on the weekends. They do laundry, dusting, vacuuming, and dog washing. I think I need to have them start doing the dishes. They clear their plates from the table every night, but that is about it. My husband will rinse off his dinner plate and glass and them leave them in the sink. That's helpful, but I am always perplexed as to why he doesn't move them six inches to the left and put them in the dishwasher.
Anonymous said…
My darlings do not nearly enough. Mr Sans spoils them. And lets me sound like the harridan when I expect help. But how will they learn to be self sufficient? I think they will live at home forever. I will have to move into a smaller place as the solution.

That pie looks yummy.
Jo said…
It's such a personal thing, working out what chores kids will do and when. I do know that The Boy loves to strut his DIY skills in front of his girlfriend. What girl wouldn't love a man wielding a cordless drill? Or cooking them dinner?
And the girls just bask in the compliments they get for their cooking. Worth all the cleaning up..
None of them has ever expressed any thanks for me teaching them to clean though...
My boys do chores, but I need to make them do more. Jack does the recycling and the trash, Will feeds the dog and pulls up the recycling and trash bins from the curb. On occasional weekends, Jack does laundry and some cooking. He does all the baking for school bake sales and special events. I have big plans this summer for teaching them to clean the bathrooms.

The main reason I don't have them do more is it's such a pain--especially with Will--to stay on top of them about it. But I should, I should!

Jo said…
I know, I know, the nagging gets quite demoralizing, doesn't it? And still none of them know how to actually put things away. I can track them around the house like Hansel and Gretel by the trail of possessions they leave behind them..
I'm about to click on the link, but before I do, I just wanted to say hello :)

I remember when I went to university, the boys didn't have a clue how to do laundry their first year - so the girls had to teach them. I do think it's a different world now, with boys being taught how to cook and clean as well as 'handyman' jobs around the house as well. More independent and competent in life - and perhaps a thankful wife later on :)

My friend recently told me of a school where everyone (including boys) graduates knowing how to sew - that's quite handy, I think.
Jo said…
Yes, I do hope the world has moved on a bit with gender neutral domesticity. Having said that, I have never mowed the lawn in my life, because that is a 'boy' job. Also, I never take the garbage out to the street unless there are no men about to tote those wheelie bins.
And I don't think the boys in my house have ever sewed anything..

I took a peek at your site, and I do love your gorgeous photos. The snow on the thatched cottage! Just delicious! Enjoy your snow days.
i do not have any children. please send yours down to help me when i'm too tired to cook/vacuum/ wash dishes/ mow lawn etc.

:-) :-)
Jo said…
Certainly e, I will do that just after they have informed me that they hate me, and have flounced off and slammed their doors...

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