Managing the Homefront

This is a guest post by Debbie Bowen.Debbie has given numerous workshops on the topic of teaching children to work. Her experience and expertise have been gained from the day-to-day, real-life struggles of raising ten children, six boys and four girls. In addition to writing, she enjoys sewing, gardening, trying new recipes, and bike riding in the country. She lives with her family in the little farming community of Hooper, Utah, where they all keep busy tending a large garden, raspberries, grapes, fruit trees, a variety of animals, and several beehives.

“Make your bed.” “Do the dishes.” “Clean your room.” “Mow the lawn.” “Pick up your toys.” “Fold the laundry.” In your attempts to get your children helping out around the house, do you sometimes feel more like an irritable task master than a loving parent? And do your children too often view their work as camouflaged slave labor? At times the headache and hassle of trying to cajole, prod, force, or entice our children to do their work seems overwhelming. And when the fighting and fussing become unbearable, parents often give in.

Changing your approach towards children and chores may prove rewarding. Learn to view your children as assets rather than liabilities. You will be amazed at what children can do””even the little ones. There are many benefits of divvying up family jobs. Here are my top ten reasons:

  1. You will discover a more beautiful you by delegating some of the work to your children.
  2. You can’t do it all””You’re not an octopus.
  3. Saves your sanity””You’re not Wonder Woman either.
  4. You will have more time for yourself””There is life after housework.
  5. Keeps children busy””Give your children something to do besides tease, fight, watch TV, and play computer games.
  6. Many hands make light work””Working together, you will experience the effects of synergy, thereby accomplishing twice as much in half the time.
  7. Promotes greater family unity””The type of unity gained while working as a family can be gained in no other way.
  8. Enhances children’s self-esteem””Where there is no challenge, there is no growth.
  9. Prepares children for the real world””By giving our children adult responsibilities, we won’t end up with adults who still act like children.
  10. Work is a blessing””Teaching children to work is one of the greatest gifts we can give.

Despite being parent, guardian, counselor, mentor, teacher, provider, nurse, cook, gardener, and chauffeur, we still have our limitations. Getting my children to help around the house is the only thing that has prevented me from “going over the edge.” Working as a family has become a way of life for us, and the rewards have far surpassed the challenges. Through our shared labor my children have built character, increased their self-esteem, strengthened family friendships, and created enduring memories. And, an added bonus for this mom is that I have managed to maintain some measure of sanity while feeling less irritable and more loving.

I would love to hear your experiences!