Nurturing responsibility and respect
‘You’ve cancelled the cleaner?’ A friend said. ‘Why on earth would you do that?’
I have to admit, it was a throw-the-toys-out-of-the-pram moment that led to me giving notice on our weekly clean, but it was costing me over £50 a week of my hard-earned money, and the house, although hygienically clean, had never been so untidy or messy. I had to teach my family some responsibility and respect.
It was an innocent few words that tipped me over the edge:
‘We’ve emptied the dishwasher for you, Mum.’
It was supposed to be met with my full gratitude for doing a job that I didn’t have to do after I’d finished work. That’s not how I saw it, though:
‘For me? For me? What do you mean, for me?’ I was positively Shakespearean in my tone and theatrics at this point.
I went on to express my grievance that I wasn’t the only one in the house who used plates, cutlery and cups, just like I’m not the only one who makes the house untidy (I’m not, in fact. I’m probably the only one who tidies up after herself).
My point was, the children aren’t babies anymore and it’s not fair that they should expect me to run around and do everything for them, like I have done for the last 15 years. When it comes to looking after the house, I pointed out that it should be all our responsibilities – the five of us. Then came the big announcement:
‘I’ve cancelled the cleaner. I’m not throwing my money down the drain, just so I don’t have to clean the house every week. From now on, we’re all doing it.’
My family loves me!
So, although this was met with looks of incredulity, I’ve stuck to my guns. The children are now responsible for their own rooms and bathroom. I dish out the other jobs as and when.
It means the house isn’t as clean as it was, but I can live with that.
And the reason is, when the kids do their cleaning, they make a really good job of it, and they’re proud of the result. It also means, they are more respectful about keeping the place tidy – at least their own rooms anyway.
I don’t want to be the mum who resents the fact she’s trying to work, whilst also keeping her family happy by looking after them and the house. I think it’s a team effort. I also, don’t think my kids should grow up having everything done for them and expecting that this is the case. I want them to grow into independent adults that can stand on their own two feet.
My latest thing:
‘Oh, God, Mum’s having another of her ideas. What will it be this time?’
I don’t get home until 5.45 p.m. on a Friday. The girls are already home from school and I’m met with cries of ‘what’s for dinner? I’m starving’.
So I said,
‘Why don’t YOU make it? I’ll give you some money. You can plan what you want to cook, make a list and go buy what you need after school.’
So they did (although they weren’t at school this week). And on Friday, I came home to the delicious smell of Fajitas. Isn’t food so much nicer when it’s made for you?
I have to say, the girls did a stellar job at providing a meal for five. I was so proud of them, but more importantly, they were proud of themselves. The kitchen looked like a bomb had hit it though… only joking, it wasn’t that bad. I didn’t mind helping to tidy up. After all, it’s a team effort, like I said.