“Contributing to the family” and other Schuff-isms.

Where has this post come from? I’m writing more from my heart…read this one first if you want…

One of our family mottos…a “Schuff-ism” (since our last name is Schuff…get it? *snort*) is simply, “contributing to the family.” There are 5 of us living under one roof plus a dog. If we all don’t chip in, then one or all of us can become overwhelmed or miserable (and that usually is me! The Mommy!)

Let’s be honest here, us as Moms were not put on this earth to be a slave to our children. We just weren’t. Now if you want to be a slave to your children, please stop reading right now. I will not be offended in the slightest. All Moms are different and we all have to raise our kids in the best possible way…for our kids. Note I didn’t say…for us.

Being your kids’ servant doesn’t serve them at all. It only serves our need to be needed. 

Let me explain myself.

Sometimes us as moms, ever the care takers, rear wipers and dinner makers…well…we can be kinda martyrish. Now I know that isn’t a word, martyrish, but I think we should make it a word. Some of us call it something different like, “Independent” or “Self Sufficient”, saying “the kids are too young to do x,y,z, etc” or my favorite…”I like things done a certain way.”

We think that the moment that we have babies, being their servants is all we should be doing, when teaching them to serve is actually our job.

Now, you lovely mommy that has a tiny baby who nurses and is up all night and needs you 24/7…I’m not talking to you. I love you and care for you…but you are in a whole different place right now. I will write something specific for you later. Just know that you do have opportunities to teach your baby but they center around your relationship with your husband. Right now it may feel like you are a slave to your baby and in a sense you are. Please read my post from a last month, right here…this too shall pass.  I’ll come back for you later…

Anyway, these tips are specifically geared towards kids 4 and up, right around the time where they can do certain chores unsupervised. My kids are ages 4, 7 and 9. Also, we don’t deal with any behavioral or spectrum disorders that some families do. There…those are my disclaimers.

So when we ask our children to do something for us, a chore or a task, we refer to it as, “contributing to the family.” Like I said, there are 5 of us and a dog living here, that is definitely not as many as some families, but to us, it is a lot.

Here you go…a list of our “Schuff-isms”…

(Now normally in these tip-type posts I guess I’m supposed to put the most important tip last. Well I’ve put it first. That way, if you don’t care to read anything else…ast least you’ve read the most important one!)

1. “I don’t care how you do it, do your best and get it done.”

I know this is going to be the toughest thing for a lot of moms. We were raised to do things a certain way, our husbands were raised to do things a certain way. That by golly is how our kids are going to be raised to do them!!!  Yeah…good luck with that one. I’m going to get really practical here…

Take the laundry for example. When my husband and I first got married, I folded the towels differently than he did. He cared about how the towels were folded, so I folded them the way he wanted. I had to learn a totally different skill! Then over the years, we both wised up and now I fold the towels any way I want to. Then the kids started have some more responsibility and the time came that they needed to learn to fold the towels. So I have two decisions, I can teach them the way I do it and make sure they do it my way, or I can teach them the way I do it, and then have them do their very best and watch them get it done.

I choose to allow them to do their very best and however they see fit to get it done…I really don’t care. The towels are not folded how I learned to do it as a child and most often they are stuffed in the cabinets all messy…but folded nonetheless.  To cut out even the folding process, the kids throw all our washcloths and handtowels into a bin in the cabinet. There. Done. Now we can go outside and play.

Now if the kids are blatantly skipping over the laundry and I see them doing a half hearted job on purpose, then that is behavior that I address. I haven’t had to do that yet. But really…who likes to do the laundry anyway? Come on…just stick the towels in the cabinet and be done with it!!

The thought of nitpicking my 7 year old on the way he folds the towel? Looking into his auburn colored eyes and long lashes, saying to him, “No Zach, that isn’t the way you do it. Do it THIS way.” Well…I’ve just started to lose the battle for my child’s heart right there. And the thought of going behind him to “fix” the towels that he just spent 20 minutes folding? Well it completely undermines the job that he did and the work he put into it. I am in a sense saying, “What you did was not good enough, therefore your Mom will do it for you.”

So if you find yourself worrying a bit over how the towels are folded, or how the dishwasher is filled, or how the legos are put away, I have a question for you….

Why?

Please don’t think that I am being critical or judgmental…I’m just wondering. Why is it a big deal? If you can figure out why it is so important to you, then you’re halfway to feeling less stressed about your child doing his or her chores.

You know what…I’m going to leave it at that. I’ve already written way more than I intended to. I’ll come back another day to share more of our “Schuff-isms”.

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