The reason I'm asking, of course, is that my workload is heavier than seems necessary some days. Doing laundry, vacuuming, dusting, mopping, cooking, and cleaning toilets, all while holding down a full-time job? Blech! Everyone who lives in my house is ambulatory. It seems logical to me that some of the people who share my last name could be, you know, doing a little more. Also, I'd like to teach my daughter the value of work and money. I don't want to raise a spoiled kid who shows up for her first day on the job and expresses horror at the fact that her boss may expect her to . . . work.
I heard a wide array of responses from the friends I queried. Some of my parent-friends dole out allowances and some don't. Some feel that chores are expected because it is part of the obligation that comes with being a member of a family (chores aren't tied to money, in other words). Others don't mind paying on an ad hoc basis if the job is done well. And that, mes amis, is the operable word. Well. Every husband in the world has attempted to get himself out of laundry duty by failing at the task in spectacular fashion. Ruin your wife's shit and you're off the hook for the next decade at the very least. My husband is not allowed to touch anything that contains, or even appears to contain, thread and/or buttons.
Anyway, when I started hearing that some of my friends' kids have been putting away their own laundry and emptying the dishwasher since they were fetuses, I knew it was time to obligate my daughter to do a little more. So, I made a chore chart for her. Here it is:
- Daily: Make bed and keep room picked up
- Every other day: Take a shower/bath with minimal assistance
- Weekly: Dust
- Every Wednesday after school and every Sunday before church: Pick up dog poop
Allowance: $5.00 per week if all jobs are done WELL.
Now, I know she won't do everything perfectly. When my husband puts the pans away in the cupboard, he puts the big frying pans on top of the smaller pans, so that they are teetering there precariously. To me it seems like common sense that you would nest the pans with the largest one on the bottom. But apparently this makes me an overbearing control freak so I've learned not to say anything out loud. When I open the cupboard and observe the precariously teetering pan tower, I just silently repeat to myself, "Different doesn't mean wrong, different doesn't mean wrong."
The chore schedule started yesterday. I sent her outside before church to pick up dog poop. This involves putting a sandwich bag over one hand and then using that hand to pick up the poop and toss it into a bag. We then have a bucket in the garage for the bag o' poop. Things started out pretty well but then she somehow managed to drop a dollop of poop on the deck. Then she stepped in it and somehow got a smidge of it on her hand. So, she abandoned the bag where it was and went inside, wearing her poop-smeared flip-flops (that part's my favorite!). The dogs then ran across the deck and also stepped in the dookie. I momentarily thought of crawling under my bed and curling into the fetal position, but instead took a deep breath and cleaned up the mess.
A few minutes later, my daughter asked me when she might expect to receive her allowance. Ummmm . . .