After last week’s post on laundry, I had a few follow-up questions about how I let my kids help with the laundry. First, we kind of adhere to the philosophy that everyone living in the house should contribute in some way. The girls help with the trash, the dishes, the laundry, watering the plants, whatever needs to be done. With some chores, they have to do it whenever we ask for the help, and with others they have to do it all the time. Like, they have to clear their dishes and sweep the floor under the table with a dustpan after every meal. They don’t even need to be told to do these chores anymore. It’s automatic because they have both been doing it since they were two. Other times, they whine and complain because we ask them to dump all the trashcans in the house which is just an extra, “hey, can you help mom out” kind of chore.
But the fact is, they are children and, really, they do a pretty crummy job with their chores. Sometimes when they sweep under the table, it looks like this. (I promise you, this is AFTER they swept).
And most days, this is how my youngest makes her bed. She doesn’t even pull up the covers; she just puts the pillows on. The covers and sheets are left like they were when she woke up.
But slowly, they learn. My oldest makes her bed as well as I do now. Like they say, practice makes perfect. But there are a lot of years in between when you just have to be okay with good enough. I don’t really care if their beds look perfect all the time; what I do care about is that they are learning some very important skills. One, to listen to their mother and follow the rules (making the bed is a rule). And two, how to make a bed (something I hope their college roommates and their husbands will be happy about). Also, because I don’t re-do their chores, they learn that I value what they can do, and I am proud of their work.
This is the same thing with their laundry. My oldest does her laundry entirely on her own, and my youngest helps put away what I have washed. The first few times we did the laundry together, and I showed them how to load the machine, how to check for stains, how to start the dryer, and how to fold and hang their clothes. Then, I let go. Which means that their drawers look like this.
And their closets look like this.
And, I am totally fine with it letting that be good enough.