Saturday, April 5, 2008

Work, work, work

One of the benefits, although the kids will not always admit it, to getting rid of the nanny, is now I am able to get the kids more involved in household chores. I'm not being a slave-driver, little kids shouldn't have to slave, but they do need responsibilities and a good understanding of family teamwork. They weren't getting that when we had a nanny/housekeeper.

I'm not saying they aren't helpful. They are cheerful helpers. But they went to school, we went to work, and the nanny did the house stuff while we were out. The house would be messed up when they left, clean when they came back - tadaa! Magic? No. Work.

When I quit to stay at home, I let the nanny go. I was tempted to have her come in for ironing once a week, or some basic heavy cleaning. It gets so very dirty here that mopping, dusting, re-mopping, etc. is a heavier chore than I have ever seen anywhere. But, knowing the nanny, it would have been tough to get her to leave after a proscribed time. Better a clean break. I may start sending the ironing out though. I hate it.

A major difference though, is that my focus is on the kids and Brad, not the housework. I can now help Brian with his homework at 3:30pm when he gets home, rather than 7pm when I used to get in. I can get dinner on the table at 7pm, rather than out of the freezer at that time. I can get Honor to ballet, and accompany either child on field trips. I can also properly sort, organize and put things away, rather than dust and stack. And I can let a job be done slowly and sloppily (to be redone later after bedtime) by a kid who wants to help, because I'd rather have streaky mirrors cleaned by a 5yo, than perfect mirrors done by a housekeeper. We're learning a little about chores being done because we are a family and work together, and extra chores done for a dollar.

The kids fuss a little, but they can also be very eager helpers. Since the short time that I have been home, I now see a significant improvement in their ability to pick up when we tell them to. They also, finally, 'get it' when I tell them, no, I cannot do that now, I have work to do. If they really want my time free, then they'll ask - what can we do to help?

Brian does the laundry. He's done sorting, switching the laundry from machine to machine, and unloading the laundry. This was his first attempt at putting away a whole basket of laundry.
As you can see from the photo above, Honor's room was a disaster area. Brian was working for a dollar. Honor was working because I told her to find her room!
Brian is also getting very good at handling his homework on his own when he get in. I am there for questions and other help, but he takes the initiative now.
You know those hard-to-reach socks and things that hide back in the back of the dryer? Well, they are no match for Honor!

1 comment:

Christine said...

They can come and help all of their cousins clean our house! LOL, they look like they are quite the helpers!