Chores

Now onto the chores. No, not on to chores because I truly dislike that word.

chore (chôr, chr)

n.

1. A routine or minor duty or task.
2. chores Daily or routine domestic tasks, especially a farmer’s routine morning and evening tasks, such as feeding livestock.
3. An unpleasant or burdensome task.

Definition from the Free Dictionary. The third definition is what I object to, an unpleasant or burdensome task. Now it is true that there are plenty household things that I don’t like to do, but to label the entire lot of them with this negative outlook just seems wrong to me. So I’d rather call it our “job” list than our “chore” list, that’s just me. I know it’s a simple and possibly silly little thing but oh well. (I am now humming “a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, medicine go down, medicine go down”, yep, that’s me)

I am a strong believer in having every family member do jobs around the house.  I also  feel that the jobs should be shared. Just because I hate doing dishes or folding and putting away clothes does not mean that those jobs are going to be dumped on MBS when he gets older. Everyone rotates through all the jobs, the easy, the hard, the fun, the unpleasant.

At his age he doesn’t have many jobs, and all the ones he does now he is doing WITH a parent. He feeds the dogs, he carries the chicken feed up to the coop, he puts away his toys every night before bed (and usually at least once during the day– or else our small living room just screams DISASTER). I know at least one extended family member got really upset hearing that we have our 2 year old doing jobs, but you have to understand he LOVES helping. It makes him feel so proud. When he takes a cloth and wipes down the table after eating he just glows with accomplishment. Jobs aren’t some sort of punishment, he loves helping and making a contribution to the family.

As he gets older we’ll add more and more jobs until by the time he’s ready to leave home he’ll be able to do everything necessary to run a household on his own. That’s the goal anyway. I’m sure there will be many stumbling blocks along the way and we’ll probably have to try different ways of assigning jobs but I feel that that is just part of life. You keep trying different methods until you find the one that works best for you.

One that I am planning on starting as soon as he’s more capable is a Job Jar. Olive Plants and Counter-Culture School blogged about theirs and I thought it was a great idea. Write out jobs on index cards and put them in a jar. Color code jobs either for age or for difficulty so that no one is drawing a job they can’t do (or if by difficulty not drawing a card they don’t have time to do).  Rules are you have to do the job you pull out, no reading it and putting it back.

Now they both  wrote a money amount on the cards for how much the job was worth but I thought I would use a code and then have a code reference book listing what that code was worth. That way I could have the same job be worth different things depending who did it, and easily change what it was worth. I was thinking that I would sometimes want to change the code so that instead of cash sometimes the job would be worth a neat treat like tickets to the movies. Plus put in rewards for me and Ryan too. I mean, I already do that— tell myself if I go scrub the bathroom I can order an ebook. Also by changing the code reference I can base it on what our budget is like right then and also maybe linking it to plans I already had. “Wow, you did that job, it was worth a trip to the zoo!” when I had planned for us to go to the zoo that week, which sounded clever when I thought of it but seems very sneaky as I type it. Hmm. I might have to rethink that, good thing he’s only 2 so I have plenty of time to plan.