As mom of two young kids (4 and 1) I quickly realized that:
A) I could only get things done when they weren't around
B) The only time they weren't around was when they were asleep
C) When they were asleep, I couldn't make noise or they would wake
D) which leads back to A....
See? A complete circular equation, showing it was impossible to do housework with kids living in the house.
Lucky punks, I figured out that as able-bodied children, they were MORE than qualified to help out!
Here's what I've come up with, but believe me: I'm always looking for more items for these lists.
- Both girls are responsible for clearing their dishes after meals
- Both girls help unload the dishwasher, especially the silverware
- Both girls can put away toys into designated boxes and buckets
- Both girls can pull rocks out of the garden beds
Mimi (one and a half):
- Puts away all "her" plastic dishes and cups from the drainboard- they go in a drawer at her level.
- Loads silverware into the dishwasher while I'm rinsing the dishes.
- Helps switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer
- Can help with sweeping up crumbs under the table. (If they're wide-spread, I'll sweep them into a pile for her.)
- Sets the table for dinner
- Wipes down the table after dinner
- Makes her own bed
- Can empty clothes from the dryer into a laundry hamper, and bring them upstairs
Have I missed anything? Perhaps some other "free labor" I could be squeezing out these munchkins?
OK, but seriously: Young kids ARE able to help, and what's better, they WANT TO. If they could have their choice, wouldn't they spend every waking minute with you? It's a wonderful opportunity to teach how a home runs, to teach respect for everything God's given us, to teach skills and talents and patience...and at this age, it's a privilege to help Mom.
One quick story: Home alone one night with the girls, I'd tucked them into their beds and started cleaning the dinner dishes while waiting for my husband to come home from work. The thought came to me that Ernie was still awake, and could probably use some special "Mom" time. I snuck into her room and whispered for her to follow me. The half an hour she and I spent, up to our elbows in sudsy water, in a totally quiet house, was magical. Dishes done, she went back to bed with a smile on her face and an extra tight hug. House work isn't "Mom" work, and it isn't something that happens on the side. It's life. And our kids deserve to be part of it.
photo credits: Me