Mama Mantra: I Will Show You What Work Is

Posted February 24, 2017 by Prairie Wife - 4 comments

Reading this title it sounds a bit threatening…and I guess this is one of the sterner Mama Mantras around here.

We don’t pay the Cowkids an allowance.

family cleaningIt’s a firm belief of The Cowboy and I that families work together. The Cowkids have numerous age appropriate tasks/chores that we expect them to do weekly. Part of it is out of necessity, there is no way I can sanely wash and put away laundry for seven people each week, and some of it is training for their future life as functional adults.

All of the Cowkids help set and clear the table for meals, put their laundry away (the two oldest even wash and dry theirs), clean their rooms, take care of animal chores (Cowboy J feeds horses in the morning, Cowgirl G and Cowboy W do all the chicken chores, and Cowboy C feeds the dogs), and help in varying degrees with things like taking out trash, cleaning bathrooms and picking up dog poop.

DISCLAIMER: We do not in anyway resemble the above picture when we clean.

In exchange we offer them a warm and clean home, clothes, food, free tutoring and homework help, love, and pay for various things like school, clothing, toys, after school sports and activities with friends, take them on vacations to fun places, and chauffeur them anywhere they need to go.

But, every once in awhile they forget the perks and begin to whine, fuss, complain, and generally slack or simply not do their expected chores. This pattern shows up every 6 months or so, and earlier this month it reared it’s ugly head yet again in the two oldest Cowkids. I always start the same way…with nagging and reminders, frustrated grouching and taking away privileges…and then, inevitably, I end up having to take it to the next level.

The offending Cowkids are sat down in a “family meeting” and we explain that we are done with the lazy behavior. They are told they will be receiving extra chores each day, and expected to complete all their chores promptly and with a smile.

The purpose is to show them what work really is, so that when they return to their normal chores (a week or two later depending on the severity of the problem) they will appreciate how little they truly have to do.

kids forced to do workThis weeks agenda includes but is not limited to:

  • Scrubbing down the mudroom
  • Pairing up (and putting away) a laundry basket full of mismatched socks
  • Washing all the windows and mirrors
  • Cleaning out my car
  • Washing baseboards
  • Cleaning walls
  • Picking up dog poop all over the whole yard (not just the close to the house part)

If you’re feeling like maybe I’m taking advantage of this opportunity to get done a ton of chores I hate/have no time for you would be correct.

And how nice is it that in the process of this, my children will be learning a valuable lesson?!

This is not our first time going through this and as I said, the results usually last around 6 months…which is about how often my house begins to need a deep cleaning 😉

What do you think of this mama mantra, too harsh or just right?




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4 thoughts on "Mama Mantra: I Will Show You What Work Is"

  1. Alyssa L says:

    I love it! We have a similar mantra at our house and the kiddos are expected to do their daily chores without pay. I don’t get paid in cash for keeping a clean house, and I don’t want them to have their expectation when they grow up. They are paid the same as the cowkids. I’m glad they have friends in the same boat to commiserate with!

  2. Jenni T says:

    Perfect. We do our children no favors when we don’t make them participate in ALL the household happenings–this most DEFINITELY includes the chores! Go MOM!!!

  3. Pa says:

    Remember when you were a kid and your mean, nasty parents told you that someday you would appreciate what we were doing to make your life miserable. Is this “someday”?

  4. Alyssa says:

    I love this so much! We have a similar mantra in my house and the kiddos often get lazy, pretty sure we are due for a family meeting soon! I am under the belief that of my kids get paid to clean up, they will never want to clean up after themselves without pay, including their adult lives. Pitching in at home is part of growing up. I’m glad my kids have someone else to commiserate with!

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