Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday Musing - Thoughts greatly appreciated

Okay, so I KNOW I am not your typical once a week blogger seeing as how I have barely managed a 'once-a-quarter' routine thus far. However, in effort to connect and (hopefully) dialogue a bit about issues pertinent to my life right now with those whose thoughts I value most (yours!), I thought I would give this weekly blog topic thing a try. We'll see if I can make it happen all year long and we'll see if there is even anybody out there who cares anything about what I have to say. If not, I wont be offended, I will just consider this good opportunity for me to articulate my thoughts for my own good.
So, without further adu, here I go.......

If you did not already gather from my recent facebook posts, I have been doing a lot of thinking/processing/planning lately about the topic of running a household as a family and specifically, children's responsibilities and chores. The issue of allowance has also had a significant part of this discussion as well. These are the solid conclusions I have come to so far, but am still very much in the process of formulating and adapting:
MOST IMPORTANTLY, I do not want to run this household on my own. I think if I had never sat down and thought about it, I would have ended up taking on the whole responsibility of it and we all would be worse off as a result. While I am (most often) good at subduing these feelings (aside from the occasional passive aggressive outburst or tear-fest brought on by sheer exhaustion), I do resent being the only one who seems to care/think about/remember/do anything about keeping the house in running order. Call me heretical, remind me of good ol' Proverbs 31 woman (who had HIRED SERVANTS, by the way!), say what you will, but I am actually not convinced that it is biblical for a woman to have all of that responsibility on her shoulders though many Christian women feel it is. Maybe for some it is their gift, their joy, even, but not me. While I do love a good deep clean on occasion and I do, DO love feeling organized and assembled, I do NOT like the seemingly endless amount of work involved in keeping my household from falling apart. Much to my delight, I am also discovering that while I do admire the woman who seems to be able to do it all when it comes to her house, I think she is actually doing her children a disservice by owning much of what the children are able to do themselves and denying them the rich opportunity to learn valuable life skills and responsibility. I will get off my soap box here and continue telling you the few other things I have solidified in this process...
2) My children will have several 'responsibilities' in our home that are not compensated with tangible rewards. I am still wrestling with the issue of allowance (more on that in a sec) all together but I do know that I want them to learn the value of hard work and contributing to the functioning of an entity larger than themselves. This is a reward that will not be reaped anytime soon but is far more valuable than any amount of money.
3) 'chores' in our home will be distinguished from 'responsibilities' which are fixed, permanent and will continue to grow. Chores, on the other hand, will be rotated as mastery of different skills is acquired, and will ebb and flow according to other happenings in life such as increased school work and other disciplines. As of now, I have decided that they will earn money each week for completing their chores. I want them to also experience the managing of money (saving, sharing, spending etc) and i cant count on the $5 in the valentines day card from my grandma to keep coming forever. I need another way to provide them some cash to work with. 4) we will have monthly (i think) family meetings to discuss accomplishments, skills acquired, jobs done well (or not), preferences and feelings regarding each of our roles in the house.

I decided upon most of this while reading a book called "Children Who Do Too Little" by Patricia H. Sprinkle. It is a really good book and although the title makes it sound kind of harsh or condemning, it is quite the opposite, she has such a down to earth voice in her books and is SUPER practical rather than ideological. I recommend it if you are like me and need helping coming up with a plan for these sorts of things. It seems to come more naturally to others while I would do it ALL wrong if left to my own vices.

Soooo, what I would love to know from you is:
When did you/do you plan to start implementing regular chores in your home (what ages)?
What sorts of responsibilities/chores do they have?
What sorts did you have growing up and what was your experience like?
how to you chart/reward their progress?
how do you feel about 'allowance' or monetary compensation from chores? What was your childhood experience with allowance?
In general, what expectations to you have of your kids? (or will you have when they are older)
how to you feel about your role as homemaker? (It's interesting to think about that word because now that I think about it, I am still very much owning the 'maker' part of this role. I am making the rules, the plans, I am just going to as evenly as I can divine up the job of making the home 'run'.)

Please don't hesitate to be candid and honest and please respond to me..... :)
Until next Tuesday (unless I miraculously post something else before then)..........