As a kid, I, like many of my friends, had to do chores around the house. I did not mind doing some tasks, like cooking and preparing meals, folding laundry, making my bed, cleaning my room, or ironing my father’s shirts. However, I really hated weeding the garden, washing dishes, vacuuming the floors, and shoveling the snow. My parents often did many of these tasks right next to us to show us the importance of teamwork and to make sure we knew how to do the tasks correctly.
Of course, I often groaned about having to do work around the house in addition to my studies and extracurricular activities. I was even more annoyed when my parents asked me to repeat the task if it was not done correctly. I used to be jealous of my friends who did not have any responsibilities at home until I started to realize the knowledge I gained in the process. While I used to joke that my parents had kids to make their lives easier, I now realize there may have been a method to their madness.
When I went away to college and lived away from home for the first time, there were surprisingly many people who did not know how to cook, do laundry, or properly clean up after themselves. I remember explaining to one of my dorm-mates the importance of washing dark and light-colored laundry separately.
Since I have lived on my own, I started to greatly appreciate the organizational skills that I developed after my mother showed me how to purge my clothes, clean out storage cabinets, and organize my important paperwork. This skill is definitely needed to pay my bills on time, to know when everyone has (or is due for) appointments, and to be able to find anything I need when I need it. My next project is to organize my photographs that have sat in a box on my bookshelf for the last few years. I may ask my mother for advice as nobody organizes photographs better than she does.
As parents, my husband and I appreciate all of these skills because we are now tasked with teaching our son and daughter how to take care of themselves when they live on their own. Allowing my children to help has been somewhat of a challenge for me, because I have always been the type of person who finds it easier to finish the job myself. With that said, we are starting to expect our children to play more of a role around doing laundry, preparing meals, cleaning up the house, and taking out the trash. In the process, we are noticing that work around the house is getting done more efficiently due to more hands helping. We are also noticing that the kids are enjoying the time they are spending with us. While there are some days when my children complain about having to help, my husband and I explain to them that we are training them to be self-sufficient for when we are not around to do everything for them.
We really hope they appreciate this someday.
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