A few weeks ago in church, we had a lesson on work and responsibility. The lesson caused me to reflect on how my parents taught me how to work and how I am currently teaching my children to work. My parents always made us do chores when we were little. My mom would assign us each a room or two to clean and would inspect the rooms when she came home from work. If we passed, we had a week break until we had to do it again. If we didn't, she made us redo the chore until it measured up to her standard. I am fairly sure I remember grumbling under my breath. My siblings and I became pros at rolling our eyes. But to no avail, mom made us clean anyway. She was tough like that. She also made us get jobs as soon as we were able. We began paying for the things we said we really wanted the moment we received any income. Although I felt this treatment was unfair at the time, I look back at saving my pennies or blowing my pennies with fond memories. My mom had one goal in mind: to teach her children to work. And I believe she excelled far beyond her expectations. My siblings and I are hard workers. We are dedicated and loyal to our employers. We work more than the expected hours just to get the job done. And for the most part, we like to work. It is part of our nature.

Looking back at all the memories makes me consider my own teaching habits with Mya. Most days I ask her to clean up a mess, but when she doesn't move fast enough, I just clean it myself. I tell myself I am way more efficient than she will ever be at two years old. However, I feel I have been doing it wrong. I should be teaching her to help me work and clean. Does it drive me crazy when she ruins my pile of dirt after I sweep? Yes. Does it drive me crazy that it literally takes her 30 minutes to pick up her bag of blocks? Yes. Does it drive me crazy that when I ask her to stir something, more of the something ends up on the counter than stays in the bowl? Yes. Or does it drive me crazy when she pulls her chair next to me "to help you mommy" when I am trying to quickly make something? Quickly is a key word. Yes. But I need to let her help. It is the only way I will be able to enforce chores and work in the future. Today we had a great time doing laundry and dusting. Mya loves both these chores. She demands to pour the soap on the clothes and she insists on spraying the dust spray on the dirty surface. And while it did take me longer to complete my weekly tasks today, they still got done. Thanks to my little helper.

Since V isn't old enough to help around the house yet, she has the great responsibility of making me smile when I am grumpy after cleaning for several hours. And she does that so well now that she began to smile big this past week. Oh, how I love her smile. It just melts my heart.


  1. Nooooo, she can't get big before I even see her! Smiling already? What a cutie. Mya is looking so big. I love her little outfit in these pictures.

  2. Janine,

    I really loved reading this post. It reminds me to be industrious is to be well prepared for the world. Our mothers did us a huge favor in the long run. Even if we cursed them at the time!

    You are giving me so many things to consider as I prepare for motherhood. You are the best.



"Be kind and considerate with your criticism... It's just as hard to write a bad book as it is to write a good book." Malcolm Cowley