Wednesday, March 3, 2010

How I Plan to Manage When #10 Arrives

A few months ago, after I posted a chore list I use for the kids, I received an anonymous comment from a reader stating her opinion that I was "mean and lazy" for giving my kids chores. Perhaps she thought that I sat and ate bonbons and drank bubbly, and watched soap operas, while my children slaved around me, me yelling at them to move! so I could see Beau and Hope making out. (Are they even around anymore?) If she thought I was mean and lazy then, this post is certainly going to make her feel that I'm unbelievably masochistic and incredibly slothful. So be it....

As do most of you, I have many responsibilities in the home. My children have chores they need to accomplish after they return home from school, but these chores vary, depending on the age of the child and what his or her extra-curricular activities are.

That being said, because I will be giving birth soon, I will need a little extra help from them, and from others in my community. What I did was to make a list of everything I need to accomplish each day, then I divided this list among my children and others. Unfortunately, John will only be able to stay home for one week after the baby is born, and then will go back to traveling out of town to win our bread. I will take two weeks off from my regular chores, then will gradually add them back in as my recovery process is complete. Here's how it will work...

Before school chores:
17-year-old boy - make 2 fires in fireplaces and unload dishwashers
14-year-old girl - wake twins and fix them breakfast
13-year-old boy - take out trash
9-year-old boy - wipe down high chairs and upper island after breakfast
7-year-old girl - pick up things on the kitchen floor
Grandpa - take little kids to school, as big kids leave earlier and drive themselves (I have yet to actually ask him to do this, but he is the principal of the school, so I think it will work out.)
Ester, our Friday morning helper lady - care for twins and 3-year-old until lunch time

During lunch chores:
17-year-old boy - wash lunch dishes
14-year-old girl - unload dishwasher
13-year-old boy - wipe down lower island and counters
9-year-old boy - wipe down high chairs and upper island
7-year-old girl - pick up things on the kitchen floor
My friend BJ - pick up little kids from school before lunch
Ester - sweep kitchen
Me - change twins and put them and the 3-year-old down for their naps

After school chores:
17-year-old boy - bring in a load of wood, clean formal living room, wash one load of laundry
14-year-old girl - bring in a load of wood, clean family room, and care for twins for one hour
13-year-old boy - bring in a load of wood, sweep the guest hallway
9-year-old boy - clean 3-year-old's room and sweep bedroom hallway
7-year-old girl - help clean 3-year-old's room and clean entryway
Me - fold laundry

Dinner preparation and clean-up:
17-year-old boy - wash dishes
14-year-old girl - prepare dinner (probably a frozen casserole we have prepared in advance) and unload dishwashers
13-year-old boy - clean lower island and counters
9-year-old boy - clean high chairs and upper island
7-year-old girl - pick up things on the kitchen floor

Before bed chores:
17-year-old boy - change and dress a twin for bed
14-year-old girl - change and dress a twin for bed
13-year-old boy - clean anything for ten minutes
9-year-old boy - clean anything for ten minutes
7-year-old girl - clean anything for ten minutes
Me - put the twins and 3-year-old to bed

Weekend chores:
17-year-old boy - deep clean formal living room, deep clean big bathroom
14-year-old girl - deep clean family room, deep clean green bathroom
13-year-old boy - sweep both hallways, clean floor of playroom
9-year-old boy - deep clean Johnny's room, clean food storage room floor
7-year-old girl - organize playroom, deep clean entryway

Lest you, too, think I am mean and lazy, remember that the kids will only have these extra responsibilities for two weeks, then I will take over most of them. We've discussed this in one of our family councils recently, and they are prepared, as well as they can be, so please wish us luck!

On 365 Days of TV-Free Toddler Time today:
It's Crib Jumping Time! Click the pic to see.

On life in mexico {and other places} a picture a day today:
{a girl}


Anonymous said...

Lazy, thats funny, kids shouldn't do chores..hmm don't tell my kids they shouldn't please..Best wishes with the birthing process maybe this one will surprise you and just (pop) out in bed.. oh well I pray it will be fast deliver. And about your photo blog show us were you live.. I love it. I couldn't comment because you didn't have anonymous, and I sure hope you will have it available by email shortly. Really love Australia and San Diego and oh well all the pictures. Great idea.


Nikki said...

I wish I had such an organized chore list like that! You don't sound lazy at all. And obviously kids learn how to be responsible adults by how we train them up at home. You're giving them a wonderful opportunity to grow. Some people have some nerve when it comes to snarky anonymous comments. :P

Becky said...

I'm guessing your anonymous poster didn't grow up in a large family and learn that everyone works together to make a happy environment. I remember reading once that a parent's job is to make their job obsolete - as in teach their children to be independent and responsible. (I'm sure that doesn't mean you ever really stop being a parent.) Best wishes with everything as you welcome your new son into the world.

Cassie said...

Does your anonymous poster think your kids should be sitting on the sofa with the bon bons while you work yourself into an early grave around them? I don't think anything you asked of them is particularly strenuous and I also think they should help you out for a little longer than two weeks. Having a baby is strenuous work!

Julie said...

Someone actually said you were mean and lazy?! That person obviously doesn't know what it's like to raise a large family.

This doesn't look unreasonable to me. "Many hands make light work," right?

So, I already know that your philosophy about parenting matches mine, but to that person that said that about you, I just wanted to share that the reason we raise kids is to teach them to be responsible adults. Where else will they learn it but in our homes?

Way to go, Jen! I just wanted you to know that I'm eagerly anticipating the arrival of your little guy.

One other thing. I remember you said you were on facebook. I'd love to have you as a friend. Find me there, k? I know you have a lot of things on your mind right now, but I'd love to pick your brain about a couple things when you have a sec.

Hang in there! Hoping everything goes PERFECTLY with this birth.

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Thank, you guys. Now I don't feel so mean and lazy anymore! And Erika, I enabled anonymous comments on my "life in mexico {and other places} a picture a day" blog ( blog, so you should be able to make comments now. Thank you! I'm having a lot of fun with that one!

Pati @ A Crafty Escape said...

I never understood people that didn't agree with giving kids chores. In my house we all had responsibilities and I think because of that I never had any problems "keeping a house" when I moved out after college. On the other hand, my cousin who never had to do anything while living at home had a very rude awakening.

My fondest memories of growing up include helping my mom in the kitchen, making the beds with my "Ia" (our nana) and such. I plan on helping my kids learn such values from a very early age. My 4 year old already LOVES setting the table for dinner. Thank you for sharing this with us!

singlemormonchick said...

i come from a small family-just 3 kids-and we all had daily and weekend chores. we hated it,but no fun could be had until the chores were done. no exceptions. my siblings both decided to take a more relaxed stance on assigning their kids chores-talk about totally backfiring! they are so lazy and it is so difficult to get them to do anything without complaining. now they are faced with the task of teaching all these kids a work ethic and it sucks! teach them when they are young-get them used to the fact that a happy and fulfilling life means a lot of thankless, grunt type work. kudos to you for giving your kids chores and responsibilities. they will be better people for it. hopefully my nieces and nephews will learn the lesson-better late than never.

Cheryl B. said...

There is always at least one person whom won't agree with you on any given subject. At least one. Often more, as you witnessed me experience right here on your blog.

Aw well, WE are the kids parents. That means we are the ones whom are held responsible for their development and actions. Responsible to society. Responsible to the courts of our lands. Responsible to the kids themselves. And ultimetly, responsible to God. Afterall, HE was the one whom gave them to us in the first place.

You have divided up what needs to be done. EVERY one of the kids has assigned chores which alien to their age, capabilities, and other life commitments. Or, in other words, you do NOT have it set up so the older/oldest children don't have a chance to 'have a life' because they are to busy taking care of things, due to your choice to keep having additional children.

The true essence of team work is dividing and conquoring what needs done. If everybody does their share, no one person is burdened or ladden down with the mass of everything.

By dividing the whole thing amongst everybody, you are not only pulling off true team work, your actually being the sometimes evasive "fair" (or at lest our kids often claim we aren't "fair").

A team that works together, can also play together. And sometimes in the process of working together, they learn they can have fun even during the working part.

I did notice one thing that I'd like to question Jen - numerous times I read 'empting the dishwasher', but never did I see anybody assigned to load them .... do your dishes know to jump into the machines of their own accord after they are dirtied? o;-p

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Hi Cheryl, to answer your question, when I said the kids are assigned to wash dishes, that meant that they were to put them in the dishwasher. :)

Leslie said...

If you are mean and lazy, please sign me up for your club! My sister and I often joke that we are in the mean mommy club anyway. I admire that you have a family that works hard together, kids that you've taught to be responsible enough to help (especially during a family's time of need) and they will appreciate it, too.

RhondaLue said...

I think parents who do NOT teach their children to work are doing them a disservice. I had a friend once that lived at home till she was 25, her mother laundering all her clothing and bedding that whole time. When she finally moved out she had no idea what to do.

They may act like they hate it, or actually even FEEL like they hate it but it will be for their good.

I think you are very wise to schedule a little bit of down time for healing after you deliver. I never did that but wish I had!

LivinginLilliput said...

MY kiddos do alot of chores. In a large family everybody has to pull their weight! Thats the way it is! Thats life! And think of all the wonderful things the children are learning as they learn to work hard and to serve and bless those around them!!:)

Lanie said...

I think what you have done is great and am trying to figure out how to become so organized within our own home... My children all love to help me, but I am finding it hard to have them do their part on their own without me. I know babysteps. My kids are not quite the ages of yours, so maybe if I keep at it, they will at some point understand. Thanks for sharing...

Lynn said...

I applaud you!!!!!!

You are raising some wonderful hardworking citizens of the future.

I would like to know when this anonymous commenter would think it's a good time to START teaching children about good honest work.

I love my independant life. (Yes, I am happily married with 6 children.....all very hard working.) I feel sorry for some of my friends, who just don't get it. They came from a home where they also were taught that mom did all the cooking and work. Now they don't know how to do any of that, and they are so unhappy about it.

I am SO happy that MY mom was a "mean" mom just like you.

To all you Mean Mom's:

Someday when my children are old enough to
understand the logic that motivates a parent, I will
tell them, as my Mean Mom told me: I loved you
enough to ask where you were going, with whom,
and what time you would be home.

I loved you enough to be silent and let you
discover that your new best friend was a creep.

I loved you enough to make you go pay for the
bubble gum you had taken and tell the clerk, "I
stole this yesterday and want to pay for it."

I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours
while YOU cleaned your room, a job that should have taken 15 minutes.

I loved you enough to let you see anger,
disappointment, and tears in my eyes. Children must learn that their parents aren't perfect.

I loved you enough to let you assume the
responsibility for your actions even when the
penalties were so harsh they almost broke my heart.

But most of all, I loved you enough . . . to say
NO when I knew you would hate me for it.

Those were the most difficult battles of all. I'm
glad I won them, because in the end you won, too.
And someday when your children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates parents, you
will tell them.

Was your Mom mean? I know mine was. We had the
meanest mother in the whole world! While other kids ate candy for breakfast, we had to have cereal,
eggs, and toast. When others had a Pepsi and a
Twinkie for lunch, we had to eat sandwiches. And you can guess our mother fixed us a dinner that was different from what other kids had, too.

Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all
times. You'd think we were convicts in a prison. She had to know who our friends were, and what we were doing with them. She insisted that if we said we would be gone for an hour, we would be gone for an hour or less.

We were ashamed to admit it, but she had the nerve
to break the Child Labor Laws by making US work. We had to wash the dishes, make the beds, learn to
cook, vacuum the floor, do laundry, empty the trash and all sorts of cruel jobs. I think she would lie awake at night thinking of more things for us to do.

She always insisted on us telling the truth, the
whole truth, and nothing but the truth. By the time
we were teenagers, she could read our minds and had eyes in the back of her head. Then, life was really tough!

Mother wouldn't let our friends just honk the horn
when they drove up. They had to come up to the door so she could meet them. While everyone else could date when they were 12 or 13, we had to wait until we were 16.

Because of our mother we missed out on lots of
things other kids experienced. None of us have ever been caught shoplifting, vandalizing other's
property or ever arrested for any crime. It was all her fault.

Now that we have left home, we are all educated,honest adults. We are doing our best to be mean parents just like Mom was.

I think that is what's wrong with the world today.
It just doesn't have enough mean moms!

Anonymous said...


My youngest told me the other day that he is going to do the same thing I did in raising my children...he is going to give them chores to do and make sure they learn to work. (My heart took a leap when he told me this! Yay!) He has had roommates in college who can't do anything, wash clothes, make beds, even microwave a simple dinner. My kids hated the chores when they were younger, but luckily I wasn't trying to be their friend, I was trying to be their mom. I work in a high school that only has 4 hour should see the groaning kids wander in at 10 a.m. because they had to get up for school. How many of them stayed up with mom until 3 a.m. watching movies? I hear it all and know that our upcoming generation is going to be handicapped by this lack of discipline.

Laura in AZ

Homesick Cajun said...

Don't you just love how all the mean comments are always anonymous?? And how in the hell are you supposed to teach your kids that they have to work in order to make money? (I'm guessing they get an allowance? Even if they don't they should still do chores!) Whoever that person is...they're an idiot!

Heidi said...

I hope your reader doesn't hear wind of how much I make me 4 & 6yo do! Since when is doing chores bad for kids and make for lazy adults? Hogswash!

Good for you getting your plan in place in advance and being so organized!

Maybe your next blog should be all about mean and lazy moms :)

Alice said...

Chores are not a bad thing. It helps to teach responsibility among other things. The rule we had in our household when the boys lived at home was that our home was just that OUR home and everyone pitched in to make it a fun and safe place to live.

It sounds like you have things pretty well planned out. Here's hoping for a good and safe delivery.

thorney said...

Who on arth thinks there is something wrong with children doing chores? How on earth are they to learn to do if if they are not taught?

The chose list you present here looks completely normal to me and looks as if they could continue on for a few weeks if you are not feeling up and about in 2 weeks time.

The time is coming, and we are keeping you in our prayers for a good and quick deleivery--perhaps this is the one that comes quickly.

ArdenLynn said...

HA!! I'm due with #9 and I'm on modified bedrest. My house has turned into a Siberian work camp for my kids ages 17, 15, 12, 10, 7, 6 and 4. The 18 month old gets a pass but he spends a lot of time in a playpen. Such is life.
My kids are happy and well adjusted and a few hours a week doing chores isn't going to kill them. They eat, get clothes dirty and track dirt in the house, why shouldn't they help keep our house decent and help out a mama that needs a little help? I'm there for them and they have to learn to give back.

Erin said...

man, i am jealous!! my boys do chores but i need to take notes from you...lazy mom you!! lol. some people are so rude, kids need to know that in a family everyone works TOGETHER and things will run more smooth. can't wait to see the new babe. prayers for your delivery..i visit your blog often but i don't comment that much. i really enjoy your blog. you are awesome and i wish i could be more like you. much love and blessings from Ga~ erin

Christine said...

Ha! Love it! I have a color coded spreadsheet. They get a commission each week. Some chores are worth 50 cents all the way up to $2 (for fully cleaning a bathroom). They take turns chosing a chore until they each have 5 chores. (In addition to those chores they have to keep their rooms cleaned and help with dishes after meals). When they get their commissions they put part of it in their giving envelope, some in their save envelope and some in their spend envelope. It usually ends up being about $3 - $5 per child. I have 3 at home, 1 out of the house. It works well for us!

Traci said...

I wandered by your blog and I'm so glad I did because I enjoyed browsing it immensely. It's a lovely blog!

Melinda said...

YOU ARE AWESOME JEN! Great chore assignments and even better comments.

Emily said...

Anonymous obviously doesn't have childre and must have a maid. You crack me up! Enjoy those bon bons and bubbly, but not too much bubbly because you are pregnant with your tenth child after all.

Aimee Kieffer, aka "Momzoo" said...

You Anonymous poster is raising mean and lazy children. Work builds character, doing for others builds character, working as part of a family build character....

Good for you!

As for the chores after the baby comes...more character... charity... family... love... service... self worth.... intergrity...

Who knew you could teach all that by giving chores?

restrainedchaos said...

Ha! Someone actually said that?!? What's funny is when these trolls don't have the guts to sign their own name.
Wow, my mom's standard response to the perennial "But Why!?!?" was "Because I'm mean." It even grew into a joke where we responded to things with "I know, I know, you're mean."
I take great pride in being just as mean as my mom. If your kids don't think you're mean at least twice a day, you're not being a good mom. ;)

restrainedchaos said...

Oh, and I've always been impressed with how helpful, kind, and good-mannered children from big (huge) families are. So keep up the good work!

Pam, mom, honey, said...

lazy is funny to me too. my kids do double this most days and they do not know any different. we are a family and we all have chores to keep the house going. if they want a clean house then they need to help. if they want more time with mom and dad then they need to help give us the extra time. i want my children to grow up knowing how to run a house and knowing how to help one another

Breezi said...

I was the youngest of 2- we are two years apart. we both had daily chores, and deep cleaning chores on weekends. It helped me to be better prepared to be a mom and a wife- and it helped my brother to be a better husband to his wife and a better dad to his kids.

On the flip side- my husband being oldest of 5- and 12 years older than his youngest sibling- did a large amount of work around the house.
By the time the youngest came along (he also has health issues)- the parents kinda gave up- in a way. His youngest brother (now almost 20) doesn't know how to do anything for himself- and is quite lazy and selfish- if it doesn't benefit him- he doesn't do it. (Come to think of it, even if it did benefit him... like doing his own laundry and cooking food.... he still doesn't do it)

SO kutos to you for not giving up on your kids, and making them better people!

I keep waiting for "the baby's here!" post....
Pins and needles. :)

Karen said...

Anonymous certainly doesn't have a clue on how to raise productive citizens who have a sense of well being. Her loss.

Looking forward to the news of your new baby. Best wishes.

alessandra said...

Hmmm, I'm thinking that maybe it's a joke from "somebody", no?

Trisha said...

Good for you. I don't think most kids "know how to work" in this day and age. I am a little worried about the laundry. I didn't see it posted too many times. Can I come over and help???
Laundry is one of MY favorite chores. Let me know what I can do to help. Good luck. Looks good on paper. Hope it works.

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Trish, you're so funny! I actually like to do laundry, too, so I have the kids putting the clothes in the machines, but I think I'll be able to take the time to fold the clothes when they come out. It's actually my favorite part of housework!

However....if I get behind, I'll call you!

Leslie said...

Mean and lazy? What?! Please! Children need to learn how to work too. What better place than in the home? If we don't teach our children about true home-life, who will? You seem to be doing a great job. Your chore list is great and detailed.

Michele S said...

Ohmygosh. That comment was insane. I was working 40 hours a week at Burger King and going to school when I was 15, cuz we was po'. Your kids will be better people for it.