Monday, July 13, 2009

Passing on a Work Ethic

Oftentimes I wonder if I have been a failure as a mother or if my kids are just being kids. It has been a strange transition to go from doing everything myself and to my standards to having the kids be responsible for things and striking a balance between what I want and their abilities and/or willingness to do things.

My house used to be so much cleaner when I wasn't working full time. Now much of that responsibility falls on the kids; kids who would much rather spend time surfing the internet, playing guitar hero, sleeping, or hanging out with friends. When they do get to their chores it is doing the bare minimum to get by with having done it.

When does that desire to do things at a better or higher level kick in? Does that come with being solely responsible, having your own place and no one else to do it? Because I sure haven't found a way to instill it in my kids yet. And if I have, they sure aren't letting me in on the secret!

It makes me wonder if they are ready to be adults on their own. I wonder what kind of employees, mothers, wives they will be.

If I could go back and do anything differently while raising them it would be to let/make them do more earlier. My biggest failure with that was I either thought they were "too little to do that" or they couldn't do it to the way I (being a perfectionist) liked it done or it was easier to do it myself than to spend the time teaching them to do it "right".

The problem with this is they grow up thinking that mom will do everything and if we ask them to clean their rooms we are so mean and unfair. When my oldest was about 4 years old we told her to go and clean her room. She turned around and looked at us and said "but mom is the worker".

Wow, talk about straight to the heart!

We can joke about that comment now but the underlying message of the statement still holds true. So I want to know. How do you get that work ethic kick in? That is one torch I want to pass on.


  1. I'm not sure exactly when that kicks in?? For me personally - I think my mom was a lot like you in that she would rather do it herself than be tortured with our whining and half-@$$ job... needless to say - when I got married I was clueless as to how to cook, clean, iron, budget, etc. - pretty much anything domestic. The good news is... I got it, and they will too! The bad news... it takes time, and LOTS of it! I finally googled how to 'iron a shirt' about 2 years ago because the few times I TRIED to iron I, just kept ironing in more wrinkles - I still hate ironing, but at least now I know how.
    When you get it figured out - you let us know the secret - we all have kids either at that stage or heading in!
    Good luck!!

  2. This article that I found today had some good points, but it's mostly for younger children. I'm going to start using the part about calling "chores", "family contribution". :)

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  4. Hey Mama Voss~

    I think it just depends on the person. I know I used to be like that, but I think I started doing extra stuff without being asked when I was around 17. Then again I was always like that. :/


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