I have a backlog of great mailbag questions I got during and since the ol’ hiatus. So, here’s another one. The idea that I might be overburdening my kids with responsibilities around the home is something that I have definitely worried about myself, but, so far, what we’re doing seems to be working well for us.
Hi Kendra,First, thanks so much for your blog! Although I only
have an 8 week-old son, I make mental notes from almost every one of
your blogs for the future when, God willing, we will have a house filled
with kids like you:) Here are the questions I have for you:How
do you respond to people who criticize you by saying that your older
kids are raising your younger kids or imply that your older kids are
missing out on their childhood by being responsible for taking care of
younger members of the family? How do you balance the need for your
older kids to have fun without their younger siblings while instilling
in them that they are, literally, their brother’s keeper, or is that
even something you worry about? I hope those questions make sense and
if not, feel free to ask for clarification;)Thanks in advance!Mandy
isn’t a criticism I’ve really faced in person, or even on the blog that I
can recall. But it is something that I have personally worried about from time to time.
lot different than mine did. They have a lot more responsibility than I
ever did. All of our kids (except Lulu) have daily chores, plus they are
expected to do whatever jobs I assign them as they come up during the
day. They earn money for a few specific jobs, but most of them they do
just because they are a part of this family.
three to six year-olds can throw away diapers and other trash, they can
gather and put away shoes, they can help set and clear the table. They
can empty little trash cans and put toys away. They can get themselves
cold cereal for breakfast in the morning.
seven to ten year-olds can do the above plus feed and water the
chickens, and collect the eggs. They can put leftovers away and load the
dishwasher. They can read stories and put little kids down for naps.
They can cook eggs or oatmeal for breakfast, prepare simple lunches, and
make leftovers for dinner . . . and clean up afterwards. They can empty
the dishwasher and they can take out the trash and sort the recycling.
They can get the baby up in the morning and change her and feed her
above plus cook simple meals and clean up afterwards. They can do
laundry and clean bathrooms. They can ride their bikes to the store to
buy a backpack full of groceries, or to the library to check out or
return books, or to their daylight sports practices. We will, of course,
evaluate each child individually based on their temperaments and
maturity levels, but so far we have felt comfortable trusting our kids
older than ten to babysit their younger siblings while mom and dad are
away from home. This includes mealtimes and bedtimes.
kids have a TON of responsibilities. Really, they do. But, mostly, they
don’t mind TOO much. Here are some of the keys, I think, to why it’s
working for our family so far.
all comes back to Family Culture. My kids know that not all families
are like ours. They know that, in fact, the vast majority are not. But
we experience our different-ness not as weird, or a hardship, but as . .
after, but they also have a lot of people to play with, and a lot of
little people to love and hero-worship them. Yes. They have a lot of
responsibilities, but that’s because they are given more trust and more
opportunities than other kids.
read once that Daniel Boone grew up in a big family, and that his main
family chore, even as a young kid, was . . . hunting. He loved it, it
was something for which he had a natural aptitude, and, clearly, it was
hugely beneficial to his family. It really got me thinking about all the
chore charts and chore wheels of the parenting world, and how those
focus on “fairness” and “equal division of labor” rather than on what
kids like or are particularly good at.
between the husband and I, I’m better at some things, and he’s better at
other things. So, I do almost all the cooking and event planning, and
he does almost all the schedule keeping and going to Costco. Because
things work out better that way.
Disclaimer: I am not a theologian, nor am I an official spokesperson for the Catholic Church. (You’re thinking of this guy.) If you read anything on this blog that is contrary to Church teaching, please consider it my error (and let me know!). I’m not a doctor or an expert on anything in particular. I’m just one person with a lot of experience parenting little kids and a desire to share my joy in marriage, mothering, and my faith.
If you’ve got a question, please send it along to catholicallyear @ gmail . com . Please let me know if you prefer that I change your name if I use your question on the blog.
P.S. A big BIG thank you to all of you who voted for this blog in the Sheenazing Awards.
I am honored to have been named Best Lifestyle Blog and Best Looking Blog this year. And I’m maybe even more excited to have been named runner-up Coolest Blogger to my friend Haley at Carrots for Michaelmas. You guys got that one right for sure. Haley is TOTALLY cooler.
Head over to A Knotted Life to read about all the winners. And, you should definitely check out the most recent post from this year’s runner-up for Most Under-Appreciated Blog. Molly from Molly Makes Do has done a recap of the little-known Cultural Showcase portion of the Sheenazing Awards. It’s, um, hilarious. You guys won’t BELIEVE what I’m wearing.