Saturday, August 29, 2009

Who Does the Housework?

As we've been looking toward the approaching school year and considering curricula and schedules, I'm overwhelmed with all there is to do. I keep coming back to something Jane said during her session at the Wisdom and Eloquence conference:
By the time the kids are teenagers, the mom shouldn't be doing housework anymore.

I think this is true.

I am SO bad at it.

I feel guilty asking them to do housework unless I am actively, at that very moment, doing housework too. But there's all sorts of housework and cooking I do when they're reading or chatting on the computer with friends. I also remember with guilt that I did almost no housework growing up; my mom did everything, and my brother and I sabotaged my parents' plans to get us to do chores.

I need Jane in my head, several times a day, poking and prodding me into requiring the kids to do the dishes and the sweeping and the mopping, and much more. I might (???) even allow them to intrude upon my laundry room ... but that's really going out on a limb.


  1. all I can say is ME TOO. I agree, understand and feel guilt for asking.

  2. Susan,

    Go tell one of your kids to sweep the kitchen.

    When you start feeling guilty, remember this: Work is good for them. Being useful and contributing to the family is good for them. And them doing it is good for us. :)

  3. I wish I had teenagers to do my house work.

    Stop feeling bad!

  4. I'm bad at it, too, Susan. I wouldn't say that I feel guilty about asking the kids to help, but I am a person that in general shies away from asking ANYONE to do ANYTHING for me, and that extends to my kids. I am getting better, though, out of necessity. I just can't do it all and I have to lean on them. What I worry about, though, is that I find myself asking my daughter to help a lot more than my son. I think part of it is gender-related--my son is turning into a man, and as a female I'm much more likely to ask another female for help. Part of it, though, is also that ds has a much fuller schedule and more demands on his time. Dd has a lot more free time and he has. So she's my go to girl. And she is cheerful about helping--she doesn't complain. But I worry about sending some sort of sexist message that men don't have to do dishes or help with the younger children. Maybe I should just write that off to the world's indoctrination of me and not worry about it. She will most likely have the greatest responsibility for these things when she is an adult, right?

    On the other hand, I could see her marrying a man that cleans the house and takes care of the children while she is off exercising her creativity in artistic and literary pursuits.

    Both of my children are going to need very special spouses.

  5. I have the same problem. I don't ask the kids to do chores unless I'm also doing chores or I'm not at home due to grocery shopping, etc. I'm afraid to let them do the laundry ;-) Their dad is much better at assigning them chores -- much more gets done. I'm getting better, though. Sometimes Emma will just do chores on her own -- that's always nice :-)

  6. Why is it that dads are so much better at bossing kids? Where can I get some of that attitude?

    Hooray for Emma! Katie did that too, but now she's running a poll on her Facebook as to whether she's a clean freak. :-)