Growing up, I had chores that I had to do. I was often expected to come home from extra-curricular activities and start dinner. So naturally, in the back of my mind, I thought that I would have my children do the same.
But I don’t.
Sure, my kids are expected to have manners, like cleaning up after themselves, making their beds, putting their laundry away, putting their dirty dishes in the dishwasher, and even emptying the clean dishwasher when I ask, but I don’t really consider those to be chores, per se. And they had had a lesson or two in how to do the laundry (complete with step-by-step instructions hanging in the laundry room, should they ever need to).
But according to my social media feeds, by this age, there’s no reason my children shouldn’t be doing these things anyway, because they are “age appropriate.”
As a mom, I struggle with how much to give them. Because in my eyes, while it is my job to raise self-sufficient, responsible humans, its also my job to let them be children.
Let me be clear here — I am not a slave to my children. I do not walk around cleaning up after them. They have been taught to clean up after themselves since they were toddlers. I just feel like they have their whole life ahead of them to clean toilets, scrub floors, dust book shelves and fold fitted sheets. They already have their young lives jam-packed with the pressures of school (much more than I did at their age) while balancing homework, Scouts, and other extra-curriculars. I want them to have time to have fun being carefree. To have lazy days. To pursue hobbies and interests. Because life will soon enough hold plenty of responsibility.
In addition to all of that, as a stay-at-home-mom whose kids are in school all day, I also view the house as part of my job, not theirs. I made the conscious choice not to return to the traditional workplace once my kids were in school, so the household duties I may have once shared with my spouse when I worked outside the home are now my job.
I guess my point is this: just like any other part of parenting, there’s no right way and no wrong way. But this is what works for us for now. What works for me may not work for others and you know what? That’s ok.