After years of toiling to keep a clean house, I looked up and realized that my children were no longer babies, and my husband was no longer free from active duty once his work day ended. For, as our family grew in physical size and in number, so also did the messes grow. Due to this sobering reality, inevitably, I came to the point where I had finally had enough of the endless solo cleanups. It was time for them to pick a chore any chore and pitch in or face a revolt in which everyone would surely feel the consequences.
I know my husband is tired after a long day of physical labor since he doesn’t have the privilege of working in a cozy, air-conditioned office each day. Also, I know that my children are relatively still young. This is why, in the past, I’ve been rather easy on them all as far as expectations go; however, something is wrong with the picture when the only person doing the compromising is me. Furthermore, I didn’t like the ugliness it was bringing out in me to be so overstressed with only two hands sorting through a mountain of responsibilities.
There was a time when it was so bad that I was actually resentful of the joy and laughter that was occurring in the next room while I was busily trying to get some task accomplished on my own. I now realize that this was my error for allowing myself to be the workhorse rather than the co-owner of this household, and a chief distributor of tasks, priorities and obligations. I am glad to report that although when the kids and dad are asked to complete certain duties, they are often not completed to the standard that I would complete them, but however, at least they are done. I am finding out the satisfaction that exists in letting dad do what he does best, and that is: working hard at making a living and going all out when it comes to loving our kids and bringing joy to their hearts. I’m also enjoying the relief of not having everything solely on my shoulders. So what if half the dishes are put in the wrong place when he unloads them from the dishwasher, and the laundry is not so neatly placed in the drawer by my 8-year-old son. This fine-tuning will only come with practice. For now, it’s nice to see the extra helping hands that can contribute to making our home a place that is livable and enjoyable for all. Kids have to learn responsibility at some point. It’s better to start them out when they are young.
Yes, pitching in is now a requirement for everyone who is on board this ship, but it doesn’t have to be a painful one. Letting Dad and the kids know what a difference their helping hands make instead of criticizing their process gives more to each of us than any one person needlessly laboring away could ever give. It gives each of us defining roles and ownership in the value of this familymill, and that is something that we would never want to be without again!