My Kids Figured it Out…

The other day, Kelli tagged me on this Facebook post…I laughed when I saw it.  I was this mom.  I fess up.  I did this to my kids all of the time.

So here is what would happen.  We were a family with five kids living at home.  There were LOTS of chores.

Can you imagine… the laundry from a family of five with kids that we could never get to reuse a towel after taking a shower…or kids who needed to have farm clothes and school clothes?  The laundry fell on me for the most part.

Now imagine cooking for all of them.  We didn’t afford to go out to eat hardly ever and if we did, it was pizza.  At the time I was doing childcare.  I remember one summer I was feeding 19 people for lunch.  It was crazy.  We had to eat in shifts.  That summer Kelli, our oldest was old enough to be a helper.  I think she was 16 at the time so helping me was her summer job.  Kayla was 15 so she helped a lot too.

We had one bathroom in the old farmhouse so that made it all even crazier.

Anyway…the bathroom needed to be cleaned often and Kayla became my bathroom cleaner.  She was the best at it. (she truly was) I praised the heck out of her and constantly told her she was the best bathroom cleaner.  It wasn’t long before cleaning the bathroom became her job…and she truly started believing she was the best bathroom cleaner EVER!

Kelli was always my best finder of lost things.  To this day if I am missing something, even at my house now, I’ll call Kelli and she’ll have great suggestions on where something might be.

I think all of this was a little bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy theory.  I got them to believe they were truly good at a job and they ended up taking pride in it and became the best at it.

Buck was outside helping Kramer so he never really got to the best at anything in the house.

Karl was the best lawn mower and Kalissa grew into being the best kitchen cleaner.  She was probably the best cook of the bunch too…as long as we didn’t mind eating the same things over and over.  She would get into a kick on making something and made it constantly.  At the time she was in high school, it was a smothered chicken phase…that eventually turned into breakfast for supper phase.

I can honestly say, there were other people who could have cleaned the bathroom as good as Kayla did, find things as good and Kelli, clean the kitchen like Kalissa or even mow the lawn like Karl…but, these were the jobs the kids fell into and ended up being pretty good at-partly because of my praise of their job.

I laugh when things like this come up on Facebook and the kids suddenly realize that I was that mom.  I praised them for things that were actually pretty ordinary.  Now they all gang up on me for it (in a teasing way).  I think it’s so cute when they figure my parenting out and as grown adults and razz me for my parenting.  I razz them right back…then I gently remind them that I had five kids and ask them how good they are doing with their brood.  I am almost positive I have a grandkid that will be the best lawn mower ever, someone who is great at vacuuming…or maybe someone who is the best kitchen cleaner.  My kids learned parenting from me and odds are pretty good that they are going to take my parenting tricks and pass them right on to their kiddos.  I’m so glad I am getting to see them all as parents.  What a blessing to be able to do that.

15 thoughts on “My Kids Figured it Out…”

  1. FUN! I was never told that. But…..every Saturday I had to clean 2 bathrooms and dust the entire house and Mom was a knick-knack person so there was a lot of crap to dust. I hate dusting to this day. And me with no kids to boss around ;-) Bathrooms don’t seem to bother me-I love a sparkling bathroom!

    Great story.

  2. So smart! It is funny when they realized things like that or mom was right about some things that they thought at the time was crazy. I heard about a couple of those things when we we were all together this last summer. Fun!

  3. I was just having a discussion with a friend today. Kids who learn how to work are usually not as afraid to try something as other kids, they can often figure it out.
    Looks like you did a great job with your kids, Jo. You’ll have fun watching those grandkids grow!

  4. I’ve seen a work list appropriate for every child’s age. I made a copy and it’s here someplace to be shared with my kids as they raise their own. I know it’s the job of our 2.5 year old granddaughter to put the soap cube in the dishwasher and fill the dog dish (under Dad’s supervision) every morning. All children should have jobs as part of the family.

    My husband said his Uncles always told their nephews “how strong they were” as they loaded and unloaded hay bales & the Uncles watched.

  5. Love it! And it brings back a memory of my mother telling me that I made lemon meringue pie WAY better than she did, so why didn’t I just go ahead and bake one? I still make one from time to time.
    Nothing like some chores and encouragement to help kids grow up well with confidence and independence!

  6. My four adult children asked me why, when they were children, I always phrased my requests in the following way. ” I am going to LET you do the dishes” and “I am going to LET you clean the bathroom” etc. As if it was some sort of privilege. When they were young, they really did think it was special to be allowed to do the assigned chore!!! I found a lot of parenting was in how you phrased things. Also, I spoke a lot about teamwork. That if we all worked together to keep up the house, then we would have time to do fun activities together. Good job Jo, and I am sure your kids will be wonderful parents too.

  7. Lol, this made me laugh out loud for a full minute. I’m one of six and I know my mother did the same thing to us, my brother was the best bathroom cleaner on the planet according to mom! the list goes on for all of us. I think I will call her and have a chat about her parenting skills.

    1. Susan the Farm Quilter

      Funny, but washing dishes (by hand) and doing laundry (hanging the clothes on the clothesline to dry) are my absolutely favorite chores to do!! Growing up we had a dishwasher and a dryer, so the chores were different. I have a dishwasher I haven’t used in 15 years and I have a dryer I use when it’s cold outside, but nothing beats washing dishes by hand and hanging/taking down laundry from the clothesline…am I weird? What’s more, when I visit my daughters, these are the jobs I choose to do to help them out, so I guess that in my family, I am the “best” (most willing too) at them! Kids live up (or down) to our expectations of them. Great parenting by Jo…your kids, June, have definitely taught you that you are the best dish washer!!

  8. So funny, I bought each of my children their own iron and my husband his iron. The children had a step stool to reach the washing machine. The best part was when they went to college they took their iron with them.

  9. I remember my Mama saying, “Oh, would you…(insert chore here)…no never mind, your not big enough yet to do that.” Which, of course, meant I had to prove I was big enough and could indeed do (inset chore here)! It worked on my kids and I said the same thing to my 3 yr old granddaughter last week about helping me unload some canned goods into the pantry.

    My kids tease me about having sent them outside during the summer and making them stay outside “all day”! They learned pretty quickly to never complain about being bored because my solution involved additional chores.

    I have inward smiles when I hear my kids using my past phrases with their own kids.

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