Balancing chores with friends, school, activities and homework? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 12-17-2012, 07:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a new found respect for parents of teens who have grown accustomed to doing little around the house. redface.gif  DC has always had regular household chores. This year it seems like she's often so busy and chores are an easy thing to cut from her schedule. For instance, tonight she had to front load on homework because she has an activity tomorrow night. So, I emptied the dishwasher for her while she did some extra work. I felt like she was learning a good lesson on procrastination and it seemed worth it to let her skip her chores. But, it seems like things like this are happening frequently and I'm starting to imagine a time where I regret doing chores for DC just because she's busy. 


I'd love to hear thoughts and stories from parents who have experienced something similar. 



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#2 of 15 Old 12-18-2012, 12:12 PM
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Well, I haven't worked more than part-time since the kids were born and there have been several total SAHM years in there too. Sure, I'm a busy girl but the reality is, I'm home far more than DH and the kids. I do take the lion share of the housework and it feels appropriate. If I worked full-time, sure, there would need to be more even balance but that is not the life we agreed upon before starting a family.


My kids have very little "assigned" to them. They must feed the dog every morning and night. The kids need to clean the bathrooms every weekend. DS handles the trash on Sundays. About every other week we do a full-family cleaning frenzy where we grab up chores randomly. Otherwise, I handle the daily upkeep and the laundry (I actually enjoy laundry and it gives me an excuse to watch TV while folding.) As for dishes, if they are busy. DH and I do them. If we're busy, the kids do them. If we are all busy, we use paper plates or eat out lol. 


I guess what I'm saying is that we try not to stress it too much. I'm proud of the things the kids do outside the house. They take on a lot of leadership, work hard, responsibility, community service. They get excellent grades. DD has a part-time job and pays for her own phone and activities. When I'm extra busy or just burnt-out, they are quick to jump in and help. None of us feel particularly put-upon.

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#3 of 15 Old 12-18-2012, 02:17 PM
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This seems like a good time to sit down as a family and figure out what are priorities for your dd and how she can schedule everything she needs and wants to do. It may be that if you agree that school, friends and activities should be a priority at her age then the chore load needs to be lighter than it was in the past for her. If you decide that homework and chores are more important than activities and friends then maybe those activities need to be cut down.


I would not just do her chores without having a discussion about her schedule and helping her figure out a solution.

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#4 of 15 Old 12-18-2012, 02:23 PM
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My kids definitely did more chores this summer than this school year. They still have to help pick up the house, pick up their room, and help with their laundry (older one we encourage to do her laundry). In the summer, they were also helping with dinner or cooking one day/wk., which we just don't have time for during school, and also helping every day with the cats, which has been sporadic during school. I'm OK with that, though.

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#5 of 15 Old 12-18-2012, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post
As for dishes, if they are busy. DH and I do them. If we're busy, the kids do them. If we are all busy, we use paper plates or eat out lol.


We pretty much ran with this across the board. All three of us were always busy, between school, work, activities, etc. Most of the time, we weren't all three of us crazy busy at the same time, so whoever had more time took on more of the load. Yes, I likely did more tan the kids, but they were very good at stepping up to the plate wen needed. I can say that my daughter was a champ when I was ill this summer. She juggled taking care of the basics at home (animals, laundry, food for herself, etc.), with getting up to the hospital twice daily (at least), checking on my parents, field hockey and work. I was quite impressed, and it made sending her off to college much easier.

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#6 of 15 Old 12-19-2012, 08:24 AM
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As long as she is on top of her homework, I think it's fine. I mean, if she was doing homework as a last minute thing, then I would be concerned, no possibly leave her to do the dishes as well because she hasn't managed her time well, but if she is skipping out on chores, because she is getting a head start on her homework, then I think you are doing a great job. Maybe sit down with and design a roster of when she needs to do chores, and when she can sit down and do her homework, otherwise she will only go into homework mode when it comes to her final years, and she may overdose on school (she'll need a break every now and then, and chores sometimes gives the break, because it's a mindless thing to do.
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#7 of 15 Old 12-19-2012, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts. I think maybe a re-work of the chores and household roles are in order. Come to think of it, we haven't revisited the subject in quite a long time. Your replies also helped remind me that I've never been a fan of parenting "now" for some fear I have of the future. A kid who has time for fewer chores because she has several activities, homework takes her a bit longer and who also still needs 10-11 hours of sleep is not the same kid who just thinks her parents should do everything for her. Also, as I process all of this I also need to remind myself that my DC has a new sister, who she is VERY helpful with so that's a new "chore" (though we don't talk about it in those terms) that we have added without talking about household roles. I guess it's time for a family meeting.  

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#8 of 15 Old 12-19-2012, 10:04 AM
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notes.gif Very interesting thread. DD is 10 and has quite a few activities, schoolwork, and neighborhood friends who always want to play. I usually let her skip a lot of chores because I feel it's more important for her to play her piano daily. That's non-negotiable. And I think it's important for her to play freely outside.

So after school, she does homework, plays her piano, and goes out to play. She has very few chores. She helps out though, and does what she is asked right away. She sets the table, clears the table, makes the bed, and feeds the cat (sometimes).

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#9 of 15 Old 12-19-2012, 10:11 AM
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My almost 10 year old has no assigned chores for this very reason. She is barely home between sports, school, and friends. When she is home we are usually cramming in homework. I do have expectations for her. She needs to help pack up all her sports gear, be proactive on stocking up on new supplies, unloading it out of cars, knowing when it is time to work through that math sheet. And she has 3 younger siblings and does need to provide assistance to them, even "baby sitting" a little here and there. All of that takes place of chores in my mind. 

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#10 of 15 Old 01-26-2013, 08:26 AM
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This is a great thread. I am a single mom with full custody of two girls (6 & 11). We are very busy with extra-curiculars and their parental visits with their dad. I do a majority of the everyday chores, it's just easier that way. However, they do have certain things they are responsible for each day. Emptying backpacks and lunch boxes. Homework. Repacking backpacks. Feeding and watering the dog and our cockatiel. Laying out clothes for the next day. Keeping the table cleaned off. Anything else is to be done if asked. They are wonderful, rarely complain about things, and will often ask if they can help or just jump in and start doing whatever it is that needs done. I do give them an allowance, and a dollar amount is taken away if jobs aren't done or they complain. The allowance keeps the "I wants" from happening. If they want it, they save for it and use their own money.
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#11 of 15 Old 01-30-2013, 02:16 PM
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DS1 (10) used to have a lot more chores than he does now.

He doesn't get home until 4PM, he does his homework on the bus, when he gets home he changes clothes and I let him unwind.

In the mornings he needs to make his bed and before he goes to bed he has to leave a pathway in his room. lol

Weekends he helps out, he either puts the dishes away, or sweeps the floors etc.

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#12 of 15 Old 01-30-2013, 06:58 PM
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This year my dd is in 4th grade (she's the oldest) and the first year she's really had significant homework, on top of just 2 extra curricular activities. Her social life is still pretty minimal, but given what she is involved in, I can't believe how fast the afternoons go by! I cant' imagine when she has even double the homework, plus if she keeps up with music or dance... and then adding chores? I guess the playtime with her brother will diminish, but the afternoon/evening feels so short already. Right now, all that's required is she and her brother fill the woodbox everynight, and pick up their things. On weekends we might do a family clean, and then they pitch in. 


Though, I remember in middle school and high school coming home to a list my mom had left me- vacuuming, dishes, laundry. And i was doing a bazillion extra activities. Not sure why it seems so different... 

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#13 of 15 Old 01-30-2013, 08:34 PM
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Very interesting thread and something I have been thinking about lately.  Dsd is 11.5 and doesn't have much in the way of formal chores, and I'm not sure where to squeeze it in!  Once she is home from school, there is barely time for homework, shower, and dinner before bedtime.  Complicating this is she splits time with us and her mom, so we don't get to see her every day and I hate to make all her time with us about schoolwork and chores, but also don't want her to have no responsiblities at our house either.  She is responsible for making her own lunch and breakfast (and theoretically cleaning up after same, though this rarely happens) on schooldays.  On the weekends, she has to clean her room (including vacuuming, dusting, and changing sheets) plus once in a while helping to fold or hang out laundry or very occasionally vacuum a room or unload the dishwasher. 


Newmainer, I too remember coming home from school and being expected to straighten the house, do laundry, and make dinner with my sisters at a fairly young age, even when we were all also involved in activities and had homework.  Oh, and even a part-time job in high school.  It is interesting how expectations change. 


The more I think about it, I feel like dsd's chores are mostly about taking care of her own things and I wonder if there should be more focus on helping out with the whole house/family stuff.. So I actually feel like we are slowly upping the personal responsibilty thing, which is great, but not so much on household/family responsibility or whatever you call it.  How do you all handle that balance? What is age appropriate?

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#14 of 15 Old 02-01-2013, 05:24 PM
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It is difficult to balance homework, music practice, sports, and other activities with household chores. It is also harder to teach a kid how to do the chores and coax them through it for several years than it is to just do it yourself. That being said it is a CRITICAL part of learning. These are life skills they must learn to be adults and potentially parents themselves someday. I thought I was the super chore mom until I moved to Arthur Morgan School where we live and I work. Students here help prepare meals and clean up after every meal. During that clean up time there is something for everyone to do, the kitchen and food get cleaned up, and a bathroom gets clean and the floor gets swept and it all takes about 30 min after breakfast and dinner. It takes a few weeks to get it going smoothly but then the kids realize, "Hey I am capable of doing this and doing it well, it's no big deal." Life-skills also help kids when they go into high-school and college and their first job. Who ever heard of a high-school kid that doesn't know how to sweep? but it is still something they must learn and practice in order to know how to do it.

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#15 of 15 Old 02-06-2013, 02:11 PM
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Both our DDs have been doing chores to earn allowance since they were in 4th or 5th grades. I think they have it pretty easy (but of course they drag it out and make it harder than it needs to be), way easier than when I was their age at least, and I only got $10 a month allowance, not $20... Even with inflation, they're doing pretty good wink1.gif Their expectations are: feed dogs/water, unload dishwasher, pick up personal items every day/clean bathroom, clean room, 1 load laundry each per week. Pretty easy for a 12 & 15 year old, you would think, but they always try and finagle out of it... DD12 has even paid DD15 to do her work before, lol. They need to know the value of money and understand that everyone in a household has to do their part. They both go to "hard" schools, so sometimes they get out of doing the dishwasher, but other times they have to do the whole kitchen if they fight with each other unloading, which happens a few times a month... Another important lesson, working together. Even with these chores, I am horrified to think that DD15 will be ready for college in 3 years. She is nowhere near as independent as I was at her age. When I was 15, I got myself to and from a "real job" in the summers (25 hours a week), kept the same job one shift per week during the school year and I had a couple of regular babysitting clients every weekend. She can't even give directions to our house and throws a fit if she doesn't get to hang out with her friends every single weekend. And I was more involved in sports and extracurriculars than she is, didn't have the Internet or a smartphone to play on (which is a big problem with this generation, not only do they rely heavily on technology, they would be absolutely lost without it)... So I still feel like she should be expected to do more. I certainly wasn't ready for "the real world" at 18/19, with 6 years of job experience under my belt, so I really hate to think about the rude awakening both of our girls will have...

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