I remember taking hours and hours to do the dishes when I was a kid. I probably spent about a third of my pre-teen and teenage years in the kitchen not getting the dishes done. My room was always a mess, much to the chagrin of my sister, and it was not often that I actually finished pulling weeds outside in the hot Arizona sun. I remember my dad saying over and over that he wished we lived on a farm so we would know what REAL work was. I had responsibilities at home that I never really fulfilled as well as I could on a regular basis.
Now as an adult I still struggle with keeping things cleaned up. The laundry and the dishes seem to pile ever higher as I get more and more overwhelmed with the task before me. I have shed tears and even gotten into big trouble because of the state of my house. Poor health and a difficult pregnancy contributed to the problem, I fell out of the habits I was building to keep it clean and now I frequently look at my house and despair that the next decades of my life I will be little more than a maid in my home. Of course that is a little on the dramatic side ( I am a dramatic person and I know it). I have a wonderful husband that pitches in where he can, and I am beginning to realize that I also have my children to help with the work.
At church on Sunday I heard someone mention that she had at one point written out a huge list of the tasks that she wanted her children to be able to do at their age. She talked about how this didn't work out exactly as she planned, but it made me think. I rarely ask my children to help out beyond a quick pick-up in the living room, or their bedroom. I realized that I had no idea what my kids are capable of when it comes to cleaning the house, and that in my own struggle to be a better cleaner I was completely forgetting to teach my children about it. Obviously this is unacceptable, and I need to fix it.
Yesterday while I was out at the store my husband rounded up the troops to get the living room clean, and while there was a marked improvement by the time I arrived home, it wasn't remotely close to my own standards of a clean room. So when evening came and the room was still a mess Chris and I decided to have a Family night lesson on the importance of having a clean home. Then, everyone of us got up and we cleaned the room together until it was just about perfect. It was a good experience for all of us, especially my three year old who then proceeded to clean up her own playroom and bedroom without being asked!
This morning the trend continued when my six year old and my three year old got the kitchen table cleaned off for breakfast while I fed the baby. It has made me realize how important it is to clean with my kids. There are times when it is easier to just to it myself. But if I do that all the time then two things will happen I will get burnt out and two my kids will not learn to clean for themselves. This morning after breakfast I asked the girls to help me unload the dishwasher. They very carefully handed me each dish to put away in the cupboard. It was a pleasant experience, and afterward as I was preparing the girls schoolwork Lucy (my oldest) asked me what her next task was. They are primed and ready to help out. I just have to ask, and while I'm sure there will be times when the helpful attitude doesn't last at least at that point I will know that they know how to do it.
UPDATE: On the health and weight loss things. Weight loss is going slow. This morning my workout was still insanely hard but I stopped less. It also helped that my sweetheart got my breakfast shake ready and rubbed my feet afterwards (Go ahead ladies be jealous of my amazing man!) I am continueing to make an effort to plan healthier meals.