Thoughts About Work & Play

Tonight I had the chance to catch up a bit with two friends with whom I’ve not spoken in a while (one a college classmate, the other a former coworker).  It was great to chat with them again.  Of course our conversations were too short (the second one was cut short because my phone battery was nearly dead), but my talk with each of them boosted my spirits, something that I sorely needed.

Lately I’ve been wondering when my children will understand the value of work, and the importance of taking responsibility for their things and cleaning up after themselves.  I learned these lessons when I was eight, and some of my children are older than that, but they still don’t seem to get it.

For years I’ve been telling them, “Get the work done and then you’ll have time for fun” as I’ve shown them how to do such chores as loading and unloading the dishwasher, doing laundry, and setting and clearing the table, but it still doesn’t seem to sink in for them that they are expected to do a few chores in exchange for the privilege of watching TV and playing video or computer games, or whatever other leisure activity they want to do. They make most of the messes in the house, so they are responsible for cleaning up those messes. Two of them especially often complain about doing chores, because of course they would rather play, which I understand, because, to be honest, every day I fight the urge to do something fun instead of, or before, doing work, but as an adult with multiple responsibilities, I put work first.  What often happens is that I never get to do anything ‘fun’ because by the time I’m done with all of my work for pay as well as housework for the day, I need to get to bed in order to get enough sleep to have energy to get up and do it all again the next day.  :sigh:

At least I get to do something fun when I’m writing these blog posts, and tonight I got the unexpected bonus of talking to two of my friends, so I really can’t complain now, but it still bothers me that my children–or at least some of them–think that I’m being mean to expect them to learn responsibility.  My feeling about it is that if they don’t learn it from their parents, they will never learn it properly.  I believe in taking responsibility, and it’s one of my jobs as a parent to ensure that my children learn to do this as well.  I just hope that they start to “get it” soon!