We’ve had a lot going on over the last few months (which I kind of feel silly even saying because who doesn’t, right?), but I realized that most days were leaving me feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and sometimes kind of angry. That’s never a good combination!
My trusty to do list never seemed to get any smaller, and I finally realized I was making a huge mistake. I wasn’t asking enough of my kids!
I am very lucky to have married a man who is a full partner in everything. He actually kind of puts me to shame because he does more around the house than I do… and I’m here a lot more! He never gives me a hard time about what he’s done, what he wishes I’d do, or how I’ve done something, but my kids… they are another story!
I realized that I was spending most of my time running around trying to do everything myself instead of delegating to the four other people who are with me pretty much all day, every day. My husband and I tend to take on practically everything while our sweet kiddos are getting a free ride, but things are a-changin’.
These were the five signs that helped to me realize that I wasn’t asking enough of my kids:
1. I was overwhelmed
I felt completely overwhelmed by my never-ending to do list, but when I started to look at my list with “business” eyes I realized how little I actually had to do.
You might be wondering what in the world I mean by “business eyes?” My goal with my business (this blog and everything that comes from it) is to eventually get to the point where I only do the tasks that I absolutely have to do and allow others to handle everything else. That way I can focus my energy on things that will help to grow my blog and business while not getting bogged down with nitty-gritty details.
For example, instead of trying to learn everything about website development and blog design, I’d rather pay someone with expertise to handle these things so I can focus on writing blog posts, newsletters, and creating pretty printables. (Yay, printables!!) I’d love to eventually get to the point where I really only have to worry about the stuff that only I can do.
However, when I took a closer look at my home and family life to do list I realized I wasn’t taking this approach at all. I felt the need to take care of everything when, in reality, a lot of the tasks could easily be taken care of by my kids.
2. Kids complain when they’re asked to do something
One thing that drives me crazy is when I ask my kids to do something (after they’ve basically done nothing but eat, sleep, and play all day), and they complain about it. My children all seem to suffer from the same illness of becoming completely exhausted when they’re asked to complete a chore, no matter how simple.
I eventually realized that they just weren’t used to being asked to do anything on a regular basis. I’ve created these little monsters (said with love, of course) so I need to fix them! They need to get used to having regular responsibilities and being expected to contribute in their own homes.
3. Kids don’t have regular chores or responsibilities
This is directly related to #2. My kiddos don’t really have many day to day chores or responsibilities. My son sets the table and occasionally does the dishes, but that’s about it.
I think sometimes we, as parents, have a hard time realizing that our sweet little babies have grown into little beings who are totally capable of doing a lot more than we may expect. I’m also a big believer that people will live up to the expectations we have for them, and since we weren’t expecting anything that’s exactly what we got.
4. Their rooms/play areas are always a mess
My kids tend to leave their things all over the house, and I know that’s because I’ve done a bad job of expecting and teaching them to put things away.
I have been very honest about my own struggles with clutter, and I can see my bad habits now becoming my kids’ bad habits. How can they be expected to put things where they belong when no one actually knows where things belong? Ahh!
5. They don’t have to earn anything
I think tend to people appreciate things more when those things are earned and not just given freely. However, in my home, I’ve realized that fun things are kind of just expected. Privileges are sometimes lost for bad behavior, but they’re rarely earned, and that’s going to change. I don’t want my kids to feel entitled to or expect anything for simply existing. I want them to learn that great things can be earned through hard work.
Ultimately, I’ve realized that my kids are capable of doing so much more than I am requiring. My husband and I are working on a list of daily responsibilities for each child (yep, even our three year old!), and ways for them to earn extra money too. I think they’ll be better for it and take more pride and ownership in our home as they start to contribute more. I’m excited to see what good things come from our new family routines.
OMG, sounds exactly like my kids! We were doing chores/allowance for our oldest (7) but somehow got off track. We know we need to get back on it, even with our 4 year old. I don’t want them going off into the world incapable of making their beds!
I can so relate, Victoria. We used to have a system in place (I actually blogged about it here), but we quickly got off track. I know of a family where two of the children were in their 30s and their mother would go over and clean their houses for them… even after they were married! I’m NOT doing that so I know I need to get on this asap.
I have this happening in my home too. We are raising our grandchild and we will make out chores and agree on them, but my husband doesn’t enforce them while I am at work. She spent too my time on her phone, iPad or the TV, so I wanted her to have to do other things to earn screen time. He won’t do it, but he agreed to it. The problem is she is 9 and thinks she can not do things, run the house, say no, ect. Our problem is hubby is in grandparent mode and needs to join me in parent mode. This is our constant struggle, the reason for fights and why I am stressed out, upset and overwhelmed. Any suggestions?
This was a ray of light in my crazy this week! I read your words out loud to my kiddos and the conviction of truth fell over their faces. We all know we need a change! We are all going to get a “new attitude” this summer, and I am on my way to print a chore chart! Thank you for the much needed wake up call! Great job!
Marcie, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, and you’ve given me a great idea. I think I’ll read it aloud to my own kids! I wish you good luck in working on those new attitudes and routines. I’m sure it’ll be worth it! 🙂
Will you please share your ideas on helping teach them responsibility??? This is something that I struggle with sometimes. It’s so much ‘easier’ to do it myself sometimes. Thanks!
I definitely get that, Lucinda. Sometimes it just feels so much easier to get it done quickly than arguing about it for 20 minutes first (or is that just my kids) 😉 As soon as I figure out our new system I will share it, and I’ll definitely work on a post about teaching kids responsibility. It’s so important (and I need to do it more!).
Good for you, realizing you were doing too much, and how to fix it!
Your kids will be so much better off, for having regular chores!
Thank you, Melinda, and I totally agree. They’ll definitely be better off. Now I just have to figure out our new system/routine! 🙂
Yes this is all so true Emily! Usually I’ll know I’m not asking enough of my kids when I realize they can totally do exactly what I’m doing, like setting the table. I tell myself they’ll benefit much more if I ask them to do it 🙂
It’s a wonderful realization, isn’t it. I’ve had quite a few, “Wait, why am I doing this when you can?!” moments.
Yes! I have struggled with this with my 8 year old for a while! I now have a daily chore chart set up, he has a list of things to complete before he can use electronics, and if he leaves his things in the floor at night they go into a trash bag until he earns them back. I don’t think our kids should be responsible for every chore in the home (I had friends who were made to clean from sun up to sun down while mama sat on her bottom), but I do believe that they need a sense of responsibility and we have to teach it to them. Awesome post!
I couldn’t agree more, Jessica! I’m working on creating a new system for our family right now, and I’ve thought about doing the exact same thing with toys. I think once we get them pared-down and organized I’m going to have to. I’m so tired of the toy mess and hurting my feel by stepping on things!
Wow, I needed to read this today. This is the first summer that has truly been a challenge for me as a mom. I definitely am not asking enough of my kids and I need to change that, like, yesterday. Thanks for sharing this with us at Merry Monday this week!
I’m so glad it was helpful, Marie! I hope your summer gets easier and more enjoyable.
Good for you for realizing it while your kids are still young! It sounds like you have an excellent plan in place. Thank you for sharing at #HomeMattersparty
Thanks, Julie! My kiddos may not agree about the “excellent plan” haha, but hopefully they’ll appreciate it when they’re older.
You put this so perfectly, and doing chores helps kids learn how to run a household when they’re older. Love the idea of looking at it with ‘business eyes’. If we’re all on the same team, then we should all be working together to get everything done, right?
Thanks, Leslie. Yes! Everyone should be working together… my kids have evidently missed that memo. haha
This is so true. If I don’t give my kids chores I’m left overwhelmed and drowning in a mess. It’s so much easier to have them help. We have five young boys all under the age of seven. Can you imagine how messy my house has gotten at times? We had one of our sons start chores when he was two because I had had enough! It’s good for them and I know teaching our children responsibility (¬ to be a slob!) is good for them. Loved your post!
It’s absolutely good for them! Thanks so much for reading and sharing, Monica! I have 4 kiddos (3 boys), but with a bigger age span so my hat’s off to you! 🙂
Mother of 3
Well, even with daily chores my kids complain each and every time I ask them to do anything (EVEN THEIR CHORES!).. but I don’t stop asking them to help out and I keep reminding them that family helps out.
I understand! I think I say, “Many hands make light work” multiple times a day. I’m officially turning into my mother! 🙂