Welcome to Ask April, a no-nonsense advice column focusing on what it is you can do to correct things that need correcting. While we all know much in life is out of our control, and sometimes, our reaction is all we CAN control- we really do have a lot of personal power, thankfully. Our will is just as important as the wills of others around us, and while we need to be considerate, we also need to make sure others are equally considerate of us. It is my hope that when you write in to me, asking advice, that I can help you make a good decision that somehow improves whatever situation you’ve found yourself in. As with anything I share, I recommend people don’t automatically take my word for anything, but include my advice in with the rest of the things that help them make a decision. I wish you well. Read on.
Every other week, I answer a call for advice, and every other week, I share my views on something I observed- I call this Observational Wisdom.
It is never an issue for me to find a topic for an Observational Wisdom article. I deliberately started keeping my opinions to myself more so I would save up material for the bi-monthly contributions to this.
There were so many topics I could have chosen for this week. I mean, the elections are in full-swing, and the candidates, whether they be National, or local ones, bring up so very many issues we all care about. I could have chosen all or none of the topics that are hot for debate right now.
Today, I saw a video about people bashing a mother who had shared pictures of her adorable elementary-school age son doing chores. She was accused of not cleaning up after herself, and instead using her child as a slave. I KNEW this was this week’s topic!
The list of all I find wrong with disapproving of chores for kids is endless, but so as not to bore anybody, I’ll stick to ten major points I’d like to make.
- It is a parent’s responsibility to prepare their child for adulthood. That includes many things, one of which is teaching them to be able to take care of themselves. Sure, parents can do things for their kids while they are still alive, but parents are not going to live forever. If your kids never learn to cook or clean up for themselves, there will come a day when nobody is around to do so, and what will they do then? Be a slob and foot the expensive bill of eating out all the time?
- You cannot guarantee a wife or husband or maid will always do chores or cooking for you. You might deliberately move in with somebody who says they will, but what happens if they dump you? You will be stuck without your live-in caretaker. Then you may start out by paying domestic staff, but what happens if they call in sick or quit? Who will substitute until you can replace them? What if someday, you can no longer afford them? What kind of a home life will you suffer through then?
- Lack of responsibility in childhood carries over to struggles later in life. There are some who inherit tons of money, and never have to work for money, but those are the few. Most people have to work and support themselves. Chores for kids are a way for them to learn industriousness and responsibility. It’s a first job of sorts, and a way to earn allowance. It’s a small taste of the workforce, and money management experience. Learning this from an early age establishes good habits that follow kids through life.
- A parent is not a personal assistant to their kids. While kids rely on parents for a lot, there are some things kids ought to be doing for themselves. Wiping their own asses, and flushing the toilet, as well as not missing the bowl after they are not little anymore, for example. One harried mother decried the injustice of the fact her husband and sons just cannot manage to get all their pee in the toilet- and they just have to leave it on the floor because they know mom will clean it up. Unless your loved one has special needs, is sick or elderly, or is still being potty trained, there is absolutely no reason they should be expecting you to clean the floor every time they feel like peeing on it. Toilet hygiene is just ONE aspect of home upkeep everybody needs to learn.
- I have spoken with mothers of teenagers who decry the fact they have to clean their kid’s rooms before they can rest after working. I am like, “Excuse me, what?” You fucking WORK, pay the bills, and wait on them hand and foot because you have not made them clean their own rooms even? Are you kidding me? They need to clean their own rooms. A kids room is not hard to clean. Come on, folks.
- As a kid, I had my room arranged the way I wanted it. I did not want somebody else coming in and fingering all over my things. It is crucial for their privacy rights, and your peace of mind that they know how to care for their hygiene , and that includes their belongings as well.
- Inability to organize, keep straightened up, and keep clean and junk free your home creates an uncomfortable, non-restful environment to live in. Home should be a sanctuary and place of rest. If your home is junked up and filthy because you have neglected it, the energy it creates is absorbed by you, and you can’t rest properly.
- At the age of twelve, I could clean the whole house all on my own. If you are an adult, and a twelve year old cleans a house better than you, that is pretty sad.
- It’s courteous to other people, who you may not have met yet, but will someday want to live with, to be good at chores around the house. Nobody else deserves to be responsible for your mess, and nobody else deserves to have to live in it either.
- It does not take much time to keep the house decent. Little bits can be done here and there. The time it takes to sit and watch commercials can be filled with cleaning a bit here and a bit there. Most people’s issue is they do it ALL at once and it takes HOURS. Put things in their places when you are done with them every time, and just clean a little every day, so you don’t get overwhelmed with a ton of chores all at once. Our home is far from perfect, but I do chores regularly, and it makes keeping a clean house lots easier.
Every child deserves the chance to learn to make a nice home, and how to take proper care of themselves. I feel bad for kids whose parents neglect to teach them this. While my mom did not do everything right, I can thank my mother for making damn sure I learned how to clean, cook, and organize well growing up. It’s paid off nicely for me in adulthood. It’s not making kids into slaves. It’s teaching them to be adults, and it’s one of the most loving things a parent can teach them.