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Mummy is Currently Targeting “Getting Jobs Done”

This has been an on-going battle for sometime and I finally decided to draw the line. After trying a myriad of rewards, star charts, even beans in jars I decided to be brutal instead. If assigned jobs are not done in a timely manner or fashion then ALL the older kids would lose the use of the computer for the day.

2 weeks into this exercise and my house was falling apart but I was starting to get their attention. The first protest was “It is not fair that EVERYONE loses their screen time if only one of the children is slack” Easy fix!! I even had a few answers

1) Everyone lives in the house therefore everyone is responsible for keeping it tidy.

2) If everyone pitched in and did their part then everyone would benefit and all the jobs would be done a lot faster and everyone would have less to do overall.

3) They wouldn’t have a grumpy, over-worked mum,

And the answer that I think got through the best was,

4) If even one of the jobs is not done, i.e. toilet or floors or packing/ unpacking the dishwasher then EVERYONE ‘suffers’ and therefore everyone should share the consequence…

It makes sense to me!!

The next beauty was, “If we went to school the house would be neater ‘cos we wouldn’t be home to make a mess!” Yeah right Miss M!! If you went to school you would have more on your plate because you would have a full day at school and then have to come home and clean up anyway!!

Then I got the argument “But our friends get paid when they do their chores”

I have to admit this was a little tougher because even before any of the kids were born I had decided that there would be no monetary incentive for any chores done in the house. The point is, do YOU get paid to clean your house? This is their house too, not just mine. When they are older and if they can afford to then they can hire their own housekeeper!!

Up till now the kids weren’t too fussed but the jobs were not getting done either.  Oh trust me, I have been tempted many a time to give in and pay the kids but I haven’t yet and I do wonder if it would really make any difference. Definitely, in the short term things would be spotless. But consider the fact that I have 6 kids! I would probably bankrupt myself AND still have a messy house anyway!!

More importantly I wonder what sort of example would it send if I did renege on the no monetary incentive ‘rule’. Am I over analysing the issue if I think this is the start of a slippery slope? If I can’t stand my ground on a smaller issue and not be swayed by a little, sustained protest then what happens when it comes to the stuff that is really important? Like my faith and moral values?

Yes, there will be some things that I have and will change my mind about but on issues that matter to me I have to make a stand. I need to pick my battles and in the battle between living in a respectable home or living in a dump, unfortunately, kids, you are going to lose!

Into week three and there is light at the end of the tunnel!! They are due to get their computer back in a day AND the dining table and counter tops are clean, the sink is empty and the dishwasher is humming away and not one sound of protest. There was even light hearted bantering happening around the tea towels… Wow!!

Something has to be said about sticking to your guns.

Let me clarify something here too. I did not have kids so I could have free slave labour. (Although I do joke about that with the kids) I believe very strongly that I am raising adults and not promoting perpetual childhood. With that in mind, knowing that one day they will move out and set up homes of their own whether with a spouse or house mates, I do not want my adult children to be the one that everyone has to pick up after or have to house train. Remember, there are 8 of us. Throw in pets and a never ending flow of children’s friends and house guests, that makes for a fair bit of mess and dirt. We also live in a big house. It therefore makes more sense if everyone pitches in. I do my own fair share of the house work and I am certainly not having coffee and cake while they vacuum!!

I’ll let you know how things are progressing in a couple of weeks!!

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