Sure, I still find myself doing a certain amount of "finishing" work, and I continue to have my own jobs, too. But everything seems a little tidier now. The kids aren't quite as likely to throw clean clothes in a hamper just to get them off the floor. And occasionally I'll overhear one child, anticipating clean-up duty, say to another, "Pick that up now!"
Look, I realize none of this is really that impressive. Anybody who grew up on a farm, or like I did in a middle-class suburb, is probably thinking, "Big deal." They're probably also thinking, "You wrote a book on parenting, and you are just figuring all this out now?"
OK. OK. Sometimes I'm a bit slow. But I also find that some of my contemporaries are quite surprised _ shocked or envious, I can't always tell _ at the responsibilities my kids now have.
In any event, here's what I've found makes this work for my kids: Letting them value a job done well, or as well done as they can do it, and appreciating working together for a common good. Making clear to them that not having to hire the occasional cleaning service, or doing so only rarely, means there is extra spending money for allowances or a Saturday matinee for the family.
It also means mom is just. ... less stressed. And, boy, is there grace in that!
And it's funny; just like when I was a kid, I continue to find genuine satisfaction in scrubbing and waxing the kitchen floor myself.
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