Something is wrong with this picture, I thought, scraping dried pepperoni off a dinner plate. As much as I enjoyed watching and supporting my girls’ activities, our busy schedule left little time for housework. Somehow we had plenty of time to make messes, but never enough to clean them up.
Whenever I complained, my husband always gave me the same advice. “Get those girls to help you.”
“I know,” I said, feeling a twinge of guilt, “but that’s easier said than done.” They always seemed to have an excuse.
“How about folding some laundry?”
“Okay Mom, this TV show is almost over.”
“Girls, I need you to unload the dishwasher.”
“Sure Mom, but can I do it in a couple of minutes? I’m so close to the next level on this game.”
“Okay guys,” I said, one morning during breakfast, “today we’re starting something new.” Three pairs of eyes gazed up at me from their bowls of cereal. “From now on, each of you must complete a chore each day before getting on a screen.”
“A screen?” my youngest asked, tilting her head to the side.
“Yes, a screen,” I said. “You know, TV’s, computers, Wii games, iPhones …”
One by one each girl’s mouth dropped open. They weren’t excited, but I was eager to set my plan in action.
I’ll admit the first few days were a challenge. Like most kids they tested me, making sure I could stand my ground. But within a couple of weeks, doing chores became our daily routine. My plan worked great – and no nagging was needed.
I used to think a good mom meant self-sacrifice and being able to do it all. Now I have a new definition. A good mom builds a team and teaches responsibility. She is more able to enjoy her kids because she’s no longer stressed out, sleep deprived and exhausted. Once I learned to share the load, I think I became a pretty good mom.