Posts Tagged ‘chores’

Laundry Line Up

February 20, 2014

In the Crosby household, the minute your little hands could reach the knobs on the washing machine and dryer you were taught to do your own laundry. In my humble mama opinion, this has been glorious, to say the rock-bottom least. We have, however, hit a few glitches over the years.

1. Children who leave their laundry in the washer, in the dryer, piled on the washer and dryer, piled on the floor in the laundry room, etc. for DAYS.

2. Children who can only remember to empty the lint screen if they were paid $127 each time. (And no, $125 is not enough!)

3. Hanger stealing children.  BYOH!

4. Children born in Colombia who had a birth mama who was 4’11”. (She may not be able to reach the knobs until she is 21!) Thus, the laundry stool was welcomed into our home. (So …. the cow…. does this mean there is life milking cows after the laundry is done???)


This week I have had the pleasure of watching all three of my children who are still living here do their own laundry. Son #2 dragged all his bedding downstairs to the laundry room a few days ago including his comforter.  It did my heart good.  Hubby and I were on the couch (watching Downton Abbey, but that is entirely another story!) when the dryer buzzer announced that son #2’s sheets were dry. A gangly 15 year old came flying down the stairs, ran to the laundry room, grabbed said dry sheets and dashed back up to his room. (Not emptying the lint screen. GAH!) A quizzical look came upon my husband’s handsome face. Being the bearer of all knowledge about my kids’ weird ways, I informed Daddy-o about the joys of climbing into a bed with warm sheets…. even in Phoenix, Arizona it is a pleasure.

Yesterday, the little Colombian princess was sorting her laundry on the couch in the family room, then moved it all to the laundry room and washed, dried and put away all her clothes. (Insert happy mama sigh.) Later that day, she was dusting the family room and happened upon a little pair of black panties with a hot pink waistband in the large blue decorative bowl that sits on the coffee table in front of the laundry-sorting-couch.  She was horrified that she left them where all the world could see… and she couldn’t stop giggling. Made me giggle too.

Today, I brought down my basket of dirty clothes but got distracted being a mom before I could get them sorted.  Son #1 whisked through the kitchen in the middle of my distractedness and loaded up the washing machine before me and my loads that were downstairs FIRST! However, I don’t care AT ALL!  He is 17 and washing his own stinky clothes without being asked or prodded.  It is a mommy victory moment and I will happily wait in line behind my kids for the washer ANY day!

True Confessions of a Mother

January 18, 2013

When my children were 7, 4 and 2-years-old (back when I only had three kids!) I read a book that stated, “A seven-year-old is capable of running a household.”  It shocked me.  But I bit into it…. with my jaws wide open… similar to my first bite of a Krispy Kreme donut.  That night, as I laid in bed with my eyes wide open, I dreamed of training my 7-year-old to take over all the menial tasks that I dreaded as a mother and keeper of the home.  I envisioned my next two offspring also reaching the ripe old age of seven…. and helping their older sister do EVERYTHING!  Oh, sweet baby Jesus, this was the answer I needed … my ticket to sanity… the train bound for the hot bubbly bath surrounded by candles …. and TIME to read a good book without interruptions.

The chore chart was born that night and materialized the next day.  It worked like a gem.  I taught each kid a single chore, one at a time, year by year, that they could master at my cleaning expectations.  Oh, would my future daughters-in-law sing praises to my name!

You may be asking yourself what I would do with all my new-found free time…. well, I’m a homeschool mom.  BAM!  (Homeschool mom = no free time.)

Reflecting back, after 12 long years in the saddle (and 9 to go, but who’s counting?), I have come to see the harm the chore chart did to my children.  Yes, it’s true.  And I am admitting it here for all the world to read.  (Well, that is…. the 80% of those in the world over the age 15 who are literate… according to a 2002 statistic.)  (Homeschool moms are experts at finding statistics to prove their point.)

As the teen years encompassed our home, I realized that my sweet chillin’s wouldn’t lift a finger for any chore that did not have their name next to it on that particular day. “WHAAAAT?  Is that how we brought you up???  To be selfish and petty?”  Made my blood boil.  (That only happens at 212 degrees F…. and I was THERE, baby!)

Discussions revolving around teens and the spirit of helping, a willingness to serve, desiring to be like Jesus, etc. etc. etc. were had by yours truly and many others in my life.  Since then, we have regrouped and are trying something new and improved… it’s called being nice.  Being thankful.  Not feeling entitled.  An announcement was made at the dinner table not long ago…. it went something like this:  “We are a family.  We help each other.  We serve each other.  If someone cared enough to plan your meals, go grocery shopping, cook for you and set the table….. then you need to stick around until the whole kitchen is cleaned up and the food is put away.”  BAM!  It has worked beautifully for three nights now.  I will keep you posted on the success of trying to teach my children to be helpful without their name written on a chart.  Pray for me.

Now, those who have great faith in my chore chart abilities, do not fear.  Only the kitchen tasks have been removed.  Their names are still next to chores that include wiping toilets, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning windows, collecting trash, etc. etc. etc.  Some things just need routine.  Ok, I just need routine…. and a long bubbly bath surrounded by candles.

Kids These Days

August 27, 2008

Chicken Coop Construction

It’s getting closer and closer as the Crosby homeschool start date approaches.  (Usually things that are approaching do get closer and closer.)  Redundancy is one of my many talents that I immerse myself in over and over and over.  (heh heh heh)  Anyway, we always start school the day after Labor Day.  Remember when that was the official start date… back in the day.  Old school.  I grew up knowing what Labor Day stood for….. S-C-H-O-O-L minus 24 hours.  The end of Popsicles dripping off our chins.  The end of late nights in the fort secretly eating the neighbor’s carrots from the garden.  The end of shorts and tank tops because back in the day we had to wear respectable clothing to school.  I guess you can’t learn as much in a tank and cut-offs. 

Anyway, with the need for higher level sciences that I am not schooled in, we actually had to start getting out of bed earlier than 8:00 a.m. in AUGUST to get our high schooler to Biology.  What in the world?  (You may have guessed, but I’m not doing too well on going to bed earlier…. or waking up earlier.  I’m 1 for 7 before 11:30 so far.)  When did American kids get so stupid that summer was cut short and classroom time increased to make up for the numbskulls here in our homeland?  And with the time adjustments, the tests got easier and the scores are still dropping.  In my humble opinion, it’s not the quantity of time sitting behind a desk that is leading to lower levels of learning.  It’s that less and less is expected of kids these days…. in school, at home, on the team.  It’s sad.

Yes, I’m still reading the book Do Hard Things and I whole heartily agree with the two whippersnappers that penned the tome.  Teenagers were not only not called teenagers 100 years ago, but there weren’t teenagers.  You were a kid playing with sticks and marbles, keeping frogs in the pockets of your overalls, making daisy chains, and then WHAM, you were an adult with grown-up responsibilities.  Twelve year olds WERE capable of planting the crops, shoeing horses, running the household, steering ships, nursing the sick.  What do 12 year olds do today?  The Wii, skateboard, maybe girl/boy scouts, but not a whole lot else.  Embarrassing, that’s what it is, that we don’t expect anything of youngsters these days.

The Crosby household is primarily run by three children, ages 14, 11 and 9.  I’m in a supervisory role, not really a participatory role any more.  (It’s SWEET!)  We have found that if we expect greatness, it arises.  When our kids were 11, 8 and 6 they measured and drew the backyard to scale, designed the sprinkler and drip systems for lawn, trees and flowerbeds… dug LOTS of the trenches… and our 8 year old son measured, cut, glued and installed the deal.  Three years later it still is working like a charm.  He’s not a nerd with thick glasses and a pocket protector either.

I remember getting a flat tire once and my seven year old son hopped out and changed it.  All the kids cook full meals that include fresh vegetables, homemade entrees and desserts.  If you can reach the dials on the washing machine… guess what?… it’s your turn to do laundry.  These kids truly are capable of grown-up tasks.  Some day, two young ladies are going to profusely thank us for training our sons to be REAL men… you know, laundry, dishes, meatloaf and toilets. 

If you are going easy on your kids, it’s not too late to convert. I highly recommend it.

The Day I lost my Marbles

March 22, 2008

street hockey

Last Fall I volunteered to host a street hockey event for homeschool boys at our house.  The day before the event, the children and I were attempting to make the yard look acceptable by mowing the grass, weeding the rock areas and pulling out dead plants.  Mowing sounds easy, but we have a 15 foot trampoline complete with huge metal bars that hold the safety enclosure in place…..and it rotates its way around the yard to promote even grass growth.  It is so large that at least one leg is always on the grass.  It takes four of us to drag it to its new location each time.

The kids and I had been working in the hot AZ sun for several hours and we were sweaty, dirty and tired.  Wearing my hot-pink gingham gardening gloves, I hauled the last bag of clippings to the front yard garbage can and headed back to close the side gate.  My youngest son was still in the front depositing other treasures in the garbage can.  Just as the gate clicked, I heard a car pull into the cul-de-sac and stop.  Remembering my baby was alone out there (OK, he’s 9, but STILL!), I ran back to the front yard to make sure he wasn’t being kidnapped.

He was safe.  It was a fellow homeschool mom with her son and a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies coming to the street hockey event.  Reason left my mind.  Consciousness practically did too.  She told me that it was supposed to be that day, while climbing out of her truck.  I mumbled something incoherent about needing to straighten up a bit and darted for the front door. 

I didn’t even check the calendar to verify her arrival for the appropriate day.  I just plain freaked out.  I needed a shower… there was no time.  I didn’t have any make-up on…. there was no time.  My house was in shambles…. I had about 15 seconds until she reached the entry.  So I did what any sensible, calm homemaker would do in the midst of a kitchen piled with dirty dishes… a table covered with JUNK and clothing, shoes, laundry, newspapers, and dog toys scattered all over the floor…..   I went straight to the cupboard under the kitchen sink and grabbed the garbage can.  I quickly ran to the laundry room and set it on the dryer.  (Why?  I have no idea…. it was out of sight to begin with.)  Then I went back into the kitchen and surveyed the disaster zone.  In a zombie-like stance, with my shaking arms stretched out in front of me, I yelled in despair, “Look at my house!”  The sight must have been frightening because my daughter jumped off the couch and ran past me and upstairs without a word.

Then I thought, “It’s not today.  It’s tomorrow.” I put my arms down and checked the calendar.  Yep, still had 23 hours to get ready.  I greeted the other mother at the door and calmly confirmed in a gentle manner that she was the basket-case and not me  (even though the previous 17 seconds confirmed otherwise.)

Question of the Day…… What’s up with Excuses?

March 13, 2008


What is up with kids and excuses?  I am entirely amused at the plethora of “reasons” my kids manufacture when asked to do something.  This is really indicating a flaw in our parenting… that we haven’t taught them to respond favorably.  But WE HAVE!  The good Lord knows that we have.

Here are some classics when asked to take out the trash:

“I have to go to the bathroom.”  Did he just figure that out at that moment?  Did the word chore cause urine to fill his kidneys?   How long had he been holding it?  If I didn’t ask him to remove the rubbish, would he have drenched his drawers?

“That’s (my sibling’s) job.”  Did I ask who’s job it was?  Does he think I can’t read the chore chart?  Last time I was tested, I read at an 8th grade level.  And frankly, if you’re passing through the kitchen when the trash needs to go out, I don’t care who’s job it is. 

“Can I just finish this (Wii) game?”  No, because when the game is over, you won’t remember what I asked you to do.  And I have seen the kids reset the games when they thought I wasn’t looking.  I have eyeballs on the back of my head, remember?!  Memo to the kids: Mom knows there is a pause button on the Wii.

And my favorite responses to questions regarding regular daily hygiene routines:

Mom:  “Did you brush your teeth?”

“Almost.”  Now, what in the world does that mean?  You got the toothbrush coated with the sparkly, minty goodness, but didn’t quite get the dental cleaning device into your mouth?  Or, you were heading to the bathroom, but got distracted by a Hot-Wheel?

“I did yesterday.”  Great.  Just great.  Is that supposed to bring me comfort? If you plan on ever getting married, that answer needs to be reconsidered.  Do you like the fuzzy teeth feeling?  Did you notice that your teeth feel differently when they have been brushed?  Don’t you like that clean, smooth surface when you run your tongue over shiny teeth?

Mom:  “Did you take a shower?”

“I don’t need one.”  Did I say, ‘Do you need a shower?’ No.  O.K., and do I have the only working nose in this household?  Did you play hockey and wear a helmet and get all sweaty?  Bingo!  You need a shower.

“I took one two days ago.”  That’s nice.  Thanks for sharing.  Did you happen to notice the dirt, not only on the bottom of your feet, but on the top?  Boys stink after one day.  Even if they sit still reading silently in a clean house…. they still build up stink…. somehow.  Showers stop stink.

“I’m not dirty.”  Did I ask if you were dirty?  Somehow I think we gradually begin to see dirt as we age.  And that is only on others.  Kids don’t see dirt on themselves, only on others, and only if it’s REALLY obvious.  Have you noticed?  It might have something to do with them not being able to see over the bathroom counter to the mirror yet??? 

“A little dirt don’t hurt.”  First of all, it’s DOESN’T…. dirt doesn’t hurt.  And did I say it hurt?  No.  I said, did you take a shower.  Answer the proverbial question……. please!

Thanks for letting me vent.  If only I could relay all my sarcastic answers to the kids, I wouldn’t need a blog.  But alas, we are trying to discourage sarcasm……