all blue

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: chores.

I am not blue about chores. Not at all. I like chores. Being an independent stubborn woman, I don’t do them in the order or way that society currently seems to think we should do them. I do them in the order I think is important.

I was divorced in 2007, with a 14 year old and a 9 year old. My Ex promptly left town. He stayed in very close touch with the kids, calling about 5 out of 7 days, but did not see them for a year. I was working full time and had over night call.

My goal was that the kids would both know how to do lots of basic chores by the time they left home. Vacuum. Sweep. Clean the bathroom. Do laundry. Replace lightbulbs. Cook. Grocery shop. Plan a meal. Change a tire. Check the oil in each of our cars. We have a 1986 Honda Civic 5 speed, so include drive a clutch. Avoid debt and some basic money handling. Discuss insurance: car insurance, health insurance, others. I started turning over the responsibility for their own health care, dental, vision as well. I want them to know the family medical history and we discussed addictive substances and politics and justice. When my son was in college they asked for cell phones for Christmas. I asked them to research phones and a family plan and said, yes, I would do that. They did a great job bringing me the information. I wanted them to disagree with me as well. If they wanted to do something, they could argue their case and might convince me. I did not hire someone to do our household chores because running a household is work, honorable work, undervalued, and underappreciated. And expensive if you hire people to do all of it.

Both of my kids are much neater than me. Less packrat. At least, they are now… I think it’s a late expressing gene….

I took the photograph two days ago, on a walk in the evening. All blue.

6 thoughts on “all blue

  1. V.J. Knutson says:

    I raised my children on my own also, with the goal of teaching them independent skills. It turned out well, although I’m sure there were many blips along the way.

  2. curioussteph says:

    I so agree on allowing oneself the freedom to do chores in the order that suits. I also am very impressed with your support of your children in becoming competent adults, learning what’s involved with caring for oneself and decision making. It seems unfortunately rare these days.

    • drkottaway says:

      I think everyone tries. But some families are so wrapped up in work/money/addiction/appearances/whatthehellever that they do not step back to really parent thoughtfully. I see a frightening number of parents really give up when kids are around 14, saying they have no influence. That is not true. I think as a culture we are terrified of our children knowing the truth about us as adults: WE are still trying to figure it out and YES the world is a work in progress.

      • curioussteph says:

        I agree. And I work with a number of parents who are terrified to let their kids in on that info, that life is always a work in progress, that we all have challenges and don’t get it “right” (whatever that may be) on the first try, etc. Such important living skills.

        • drkottaway says:

          I think we would have less anxious kids and less depressed kids if all the parents would be more honest about their feet of clay. I would give MYSELF time outs, telling my kids that I was about to lose my temper and was locking myself in the bathroom for a time out. They would stand outside and say, “Mom? Are you coming out yet?” Sometimes I would say “NO! Not yet!” How can kids learn to manage all the emotions unless they see their parents manage all the emotions? Love, joy, happiness, grief, anger, jealousy! All of them! And I think it’s good for a parent to say “I am crying about (aunt Millie’s cancer) and I am sad. It’s ok to be sad and to cry, because I love Aunt Millie. It’s not about you.”

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