Tuesday, April 1, 2008

WFMW 4-2-08 Greatest Hits Edition

Shannon is hosting over at Rocks in My Dryer a Greatest Hits edition of Works for Me Wednesday. Below is one of my most popular posts from the past four months:

When I was growing up my Mom did everything for us. I dusted on Saturdays and attempted to keep my room neat and clean, but overall the most I ever remember doing was making chocolate chip cookies a few times, folding laundry, filling the dishwasher, and cleaning my room. I never even cooked or helped cook a meal until I was engaged to be married!

I admit that I am not very proud of this fact, however, I think it was also easier for my Mom to just do it herself. I was very busy with church and school activities, babysitting, and later in high school an after school job. I still have the little note that my Mom sent to me the first week of college that explained how to use the washing machine in the basement of my dorm! I mean I did not know how to even wash a load of clothes!

This brings me to my Works for Me Wednesday post. When I married my husband seven years ago and went from a single again parent of one child to a Mom of four, I knew I would need a plan for chores, responsibilities, rules...all the things that children normally have growing up in a family. However, three of my precious ones had lost their Mom three years prior and while my husband is absolutely the best, men were not created to be mothers just as mothers were not created to be fathers. I learned all I could about their Mom and what her teaching style had been for her three sweet ones and went about trying to come up with a plan.

It was one sweet act by a seven year old brunette with brilliant blue eyes that helped me see that there could be another way. In the long run, I would be teaching my children how to take care of themselves and not feel so lost as I had felt.

I came to this decision after our youngest, Hannah, had watched me intently each time I loaded the washer and dryer. She would pull a step stool up to watch and would ask questions. She was like a little sponge...taking it all in. Her Mommy had died when she was only three and a half. After living in a household full of boys for three years she was very excited to have a Mom to follow around.

One day I came home and she very proudly showed me the freshly washed towels all folded neatly and ready to be put away. I sat down and cried. Here a sweet seven year old had learned something that I did not until I was 18! She was so excited and felt so proud. It was after this sweet display of love I decided that maybe I could start with the oldest and see if this would work. I would teach them how to sort, wash, dry, fold, and put away their laundry. My husband and I discussed this and after a little research we decided sixth grade was a great jumping off point to begin this endeavor.

So my quest began. I would like to say it has worked like a charm and that there have been no problems, but I can't....I have four teenagers...three of whom are boys....however, each child has their own wash day with the washer and dryer solely devoted to them. They mainly do their jeans, uniforms, underwear, etc. Mom still does the shirts/blouses that need special care and towels. Many times I surprise them and scoop it up and do it for them. I realize that these four young adults are much further ahead in life than I was back in 1979. They each know their way around the kitchen (that is another post), can keep a home neat, and can operate a washer and dryer.

I hesitated to even post this, but I have seen the pride they each take in this ability. It has been a rite of passage in our home when each one entered the sixth grade. The boys come in after a hard practice or game and the first thing they do is stick their dirty uniforms in the washer. It has taught them responsibility in a very tangible way. It has worked for our family and brought about many positive attributes.

For more Works for Me Wednesday post, head on over to Shannon's at Rocks in My Dryer.


Sheila said...

Way to go! I love getting kids to do chores. It's so important! We have to remember that we're trying to raise independent adults, not cater to our children.

My kids are 10 and 13, and they can now practically clean the whole house (I just still can't get them to scrub pots!). It's wonderful. And I'm very proud, as you should be too!

Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum today!

Dutchnic said...

I think it's a great idea to make the kids help out, but don't you use an awful lot of extra energy and water this way? Here in the Netherlands teens never do their on laundry, because over here we dont't think that one person's laundry is economical.. unless you save it up a really long time!

Kyle said...

That was a very touching post and thank you for sharing it with us.

Vickie said...

No, we do not use more water or energy. They do their laundry once a week and two of our son's put their laundry together. Believe me with boys in athletics they have a lot of laundry. We are very conservative on our energy consumption. Besides they will be prepared for life having done their own laundry at home under watchful supervision. Maybe the boys will not end up with pink underwear one day in college.
Thanks for your comments.

Thanks so much for you comment. I am so blessed by these children. I can't even voice how much the Lord has used this tragedy in their lives to minister to me personally in ways that I never dreamed.