Monday, October 10, 2005



I took my daughter to ballet last week, and while the little ones were twirling about, the talk between mothers turned to chores.

I mentioned that I was surprised how many children earned high allowances and had no chores to perform. The ten year old kid down my street saved up for his dirt bike in a matter of months, and he doesn't lift a finger (unless it's to beat up on his little brother).

One mom said she agreed, and that her kids (aged 6 & 8) were expected to make their beds and clear their plates from the table every day.

I managed to keep my mouth shut... but I really wanted to utter some supremely sarcastic remark along the lines of, "Really? That much and every day? You slave driver."

But it got me to thinking about the chores I require my six-year-old daughter to perform, and whether I am a slave driver or expect too much from her.

Daily, she must: Make her bed, get dressed and brush her teeth (without help from me - shoulda seen what she was wearing today), clean her room (including under her bed and her closet) and dry the dishes and put them away.

Weekly chores (she gets one "special" chore each day that vary from week to week) include: Dusting the heater vents, wiping off the baseboards, scrubbing the potties (this is her personal fave - really), cleaning the bathroom counters, cleaning out her toy box and donating one toy to the Salvation Army, mopping the kitchen, and some other stuff I can't remember. She does one of these each day in addition to her daily chores.

She can earn extra money by doing other chores around the house to help.

She also works with me frequently to assist with cooking and helps with the pets by feeding and brushing them.

Last week she and I and my mom stacked three cords of wood - and, yes, my DD really helped. In the summer she also weeds, plants, rakes the lawn and helps scoop up doggy doo from the grass. I imagine that, come winter, she'll help shovel snow.

She doesn't complain, but then, she doesn't know any better.

Am I too rough? Or am I raising a child who will become a competent, able woman?

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