My kids like to help me with household duties. They sweep, mop, dust, cook, and more. Zen watches us work as a team and has taken to participating. Normally this results in more mess, but how else would he learn? The chore Zen currently likes the most is laundry. Who can resist a tub full of water and a washboard that makes noise! Zen is our noisy boy. He loves all things noisy and creates “music” wherever he goes 🙂
I think it is very easy for adults to either think a child can’t help (too young) or simply do not want them to because they (the adult) can get the job done faster and more accurate. We are doing our children a disservice though when we have this mindset. They aren’t learning! How are they going to learn if we aren’t letting them try and gently guiding them. I have to admit I have to often hold my tongue and not intervene, but I am seeing continual progress. Best of all they are learning to clean the way I think is best 😉 Ha!
So here is my challenge, let your kids do the house work with you. Show them how to use the kitchen correctly. Yes, my kids chop vegetables for me and I bet they hold the knife better than many adults. Teach them the best way to mop. Help them learn how to do laundry. You will be teaching them skills they will need as adults and you will have help getting the work done! Make sure you relax though because it isn’t going to be done perfectly. Let the memories and skills be made!
It is a cool morning and the early morning sun is blazing through the kitchen windows. The sink faces these windows. It is quiet. Peaceful. The bitter cold water runs into the double basin sink, filling one side and then the next. There is a job to be done.
I grab the overflowing laundry basket from my bedroom and hold it against my hip as I head to the sun-soaked kitchen. I am pretty sure that when I die there will be a permanent indent on that side of my body. I drop the basket with a satisfying sound onto the floor and start sorting the items into piles. The socks and other small articles go immediately into the water-filled sink. Shirts, pants, diapers, diaper covers…..everything gets sorted. Right now the piles are overwhelming and my arms scream in the anticipation of the ache they know they will feel in an hours time.
I grab the soap and inhale. I love the smell. It is familiar. I am not even sure why. My mom didn’t use this soap. Did one of my grandmothers use it? I am not sure. The only thing I know is that the smell calms me.
I grab my mom’s washboard and plunge my hands into the icy water and I start scrubbing. Each sock is cleaned, dunked and tossed into the other side of the sink where clean, clear water awaits. My arms move without prompting. I have done this enough that my muscles know what to do. I don’t even have to think about it and before I know it I have finished the multitude of socks. I drain the dirty, soapy water and move to the clean socks that are waiting to be rinsed out. Swish, squeeze, plop. The socks are tossed into the other side of the sink that is now empty.
Once each sock is rinsed I drain the water and start over. My hands are red, raw and aching from the piercingly cold water. I put them under my arm pits to warm them before starting the shirts.
I look into the mudroom where the washing machine is gathering dust. It taunts me. It’s Energy Efficient status just can’t hold a candle to the washboard though. The machine is only used for blanket, sheets, and towels. I look away from the tempter and plunge my hands back into the frigidness. There is a job to be done.