I have a problem. I do not like to take out the trash in the bathrooms. Why does if fill up so fast? What can we possibly be putting in there that I need to take it out every five days? Ugh.
When my mom visited and saw that I have the same problem with the kitchen trash, she gave me the answer. “Sarah, you need a bigger trash can.” Oh. Wow. Earth to me! Duh!… and so on. Why was I incapable of figuring that out myself? Mom, I love you. I will always need you.
So I say, Dear John Your Wastebasket! If it’s not working for your family any more because you’ve outgrown it, get a bigger one. Maybe you can find ways to make less trash, that is true. But I discovered something about myself, and maybe it’s true for you too. If I try to change my habits all in one day, I don’t get anywhere but frustrated, and I still have to take out the trash! So, let’s work with what we’ve got right now and try to make changes along the way.
After looking around and finding that I was horribly behind on putting away the clean laundry, I had a realization that I’m sure you all have already had. My kids need to help me.
Yes, they are only four and one, but they are perfectly capable of assisting on certain tasks and they actually want to help (about 50% of the time at least). So, I gave it a try. I put the one year old next to her drawer and handed her pieces of clothing and showed her what to do. She caught on quickly and would throw in anything I gave her and that she could reach. My son insisted on folding the small towels and we all soon had the laundry caught up. Wow, this was great.
Next I decided to see how they could help me with another chore- putting away the dishes. Not much for my daughter to do, but my son was perfectly happy to put away the utensils (yay!) and I showed him what goes where.
I feel that if I keep teaching them how to help in as many ways as they can, I will eventually be able to count on them to take over certain chores completely. I believe that teaching children how to work is an essential part of parenting, and I am not being mean or horrible. I am teaching them how to take care of themselves and eventually run their own homes.
I want all of my family members to feel good about our home and that we all need to take part in caring for it. Mom can’t/shouldn’t do it all herself. Work teaches responsibility and accountability. “You don’t want to clean up the mess of toys and clothes in the front room? Then here is how we can prevent this in the future…”