Forget about questions like, ‘what is the meaning of life’ and ‘what happened to Al Capone’ or ‘do all dogs go to heaven’? Can anyone answer the ancient and still troubling question that has baffled parents for centuries – Why don’t kids do their chores?
As a former kid myself you would think that I have this one figured out but sadly there appears to be a mental block that occurs around the time you turn twenty-five, have a wife, a house and a kid or two (or more). This mental block prevents us from understanding why kids ignore doing chores.
Is there also a mental block with logic that is ‘pre-installed’ in a child that tells them that keeping their room clean is pointless because the room will get trashed again anyway? Why would I sweep the floor if everyone is going to drop stuff on it? Isn’t the idea of taking out the trash antiquated in a ‘green’ world?
When I say things like, “You need to get your chore done,” I wonder if what they’re really hearing, ‘It’s a beautiful thing when our house looks and smells like it’s inhabited by a pod of hippos.’
How exactly does the simplest of instructions get lost in translation?
Can you clean your room please = Can you pile more laundry in the corners please it’s more appealing than your real rugs.
Do the dishes please = Lick your plate and your fork and stick it back in the cupboard.
Mow the lawn please = Take a nap; you look really tired from your long day of skipping classes.
Vacuum the carpets please = I haven’t seen you playing video games lately. Are you okay?
Wash the windows = Go hang out with your friends they need you more than that pet you haven’t fed in three weeks.
Scrub the toilets please = Let me give you five dollars. You deserve it for breathing.
Somehow kids have this peculiar and abnormal belief that parents have magical powers. Our magical powers include magical brooms, dustpans, dusters, sponges and vacuums under our spells that clean the house when we are out earning a living, running them to sports camps and practices, attending all of their school activities and cooking food to make them plump and content.
The only miracles and special powers that I have access to are the ones are restraint, long-suffering. These powers have kept me out of the headlines and off the evening news because there are times when I’m on the threshold of self-medicating myself and smoking a tailpipe until I’m out of the “Keep Calm – They Didn’t Do Their Chores Done Again” zone.
At what point do we as parents say, ‘I’m sick of being your live in maid. I’m sick of doing what I’ve asked you a million times to do. I’m sick of trying to teach you to be tidy. I’m sick of worrying sick that you don’t understand how this will benefit you.’
There are no easy solutions that I am aware of. We have been fighting the good fight for so long it no longer feels like a fight anymore it just feels like a joke and we are always the punchline. So until I find an answer to this tired old question I will be cleaning and tidying up after these blasted kids, just like every other underappreciated and tired parent who has ever lived on this earth.
Another disgruntled parent