Erin Spatz: Laundry

  • Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Several years ago, I let go and started having the kids put away their own laundry. This was a huge step for me. I like everything very neat and organized in their drawers.
I knew that when I gave up control of this, I had to give up the goal of perfection.

It wasn't easy, but I no longer worry about having time to get all the laundry put away.
I do the laundry every day, fill their baskets, and on Sunday afternoon the kids each put away their own clothes.
I showed them the correct way to do it, and if it's even remotely close to how I would like it to be done, that's good enough for me.

Now I am on step two of the letting go process. I have assigned daily jobs.
There are several things that I do every day. I wipe down all the bathroom counters, sweep and vacuum, wash the dishes, clean kitchen counters, dust off all the downstairs tables and empty the kitchen trash.

Every Sunday I assign the kids one of those jobs for the week.
I rotate them so everyone gets a fair share of the jobs.

Here's the thing. I can do it faster, better and without complaining.
But, I am working hard on teaching our kids that families work as a team.
This is important. Teamwork will take you so much farther in life.
Nothing is accomplished alone.
At some point someone has helped you to get where you are.

However, I was just about to give up on the daily jobs. I was over constantly reminding them, over the complaining, and over how long it took them to do it.

Until my sweet green-eyed girl showed me in a not so nice way how important these small tasks were.

It was her turn to vacuum, and our downstairs has all hardwood floors. We have three area rugs, and this is all she had to vacuum.
She got out the vacuum and demanded that I plug it in. I refused.
This led to 10 minutes of whining and crying.
Finally she plugged it in, but when she did, it caused the vacuum to fall over.  

Things went rapidly downhill.
She demanded I pick it up for her. I calmly, (through gritted teeth) said I would not.  
She turned to me and said “Mamma, it is your job to help me. You need to come over here and hand me the vacuum.”

We can all thank Jesus that the kitchen counter was between us.

What her words and attitude showed me was that while I may be faster, better, and work without complaining, I had done a huge disservice to my children by not giving them some responsibility in our home for as long as I did.
Their expectations were that mom would do everything forever.

Sometimes the things we have to do are hard and we don't like them. But, they still need to be done.

What my children don't realize is that it was just as hard for me to hand over those jobs, as it is for them to tackle them.
But we are a family, and we work as a team.

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