Dear Children: It's Time To Shape Up When It Comes To Chores

by Lisa Witherspoon
Originally Published: 

Dear children,

There seems to have been a slight miscommunication between us, and I would like to take this opportunity to clear it up. When you were younger, there were many household chores you simply could not do because you were physically too small or too immature. However, now you’re older, and there is plenty you can do to help out!

Except, you don’t, so I’ve been pondering why I’m still doing all the work myself.

It has occurred to me that it is not, in fact, laziness, but true concern for my well being. Perhaps you are concerned that if you do some of the cleaning, I might be insulted. I, however, have been cleaning up after you for years and years, so I am quite confident in my skills, I promise.

Another possibility is that you are afraid that without so many chores for me to do myself, I might actually have a bit of free time and become bored. Let me wholeheartedly assure you that I have not been bored since the moment the first of you was born, and I am confident that I would be able to fill any newfound “free time” with plenty of other activities.

It has also dawned on me that, in the hustle and bustle of life, I may have failed to formally give you permission to do the chores from which you were once forbidden. If that is the case, permission is officially granted!

If any of these thoughts are deterring you from jumping in and lending a hand around the house, please consider this your official notice that I am not the only one who can …

Put items in the recycling bin. Next time you finish off a soda bottle or eat the last cracker in the box, feel free to just go ahead and drop them in instead of leaving them on the counter for me.

Do laundry. Sometimes, I get busy and don’t have time to wash your favorite outfit ten times every week. I’m really sorry about that, but you are more than welcome to do your own laundry anytime. I thought that would have been clear when I took the time to show you how to sort your laundry, add the detergent, and turn on the washing machine. Perhaps I was not clear enough.

Put dishes in the dishwasher. You put your dirty cups and bowls in the sink all the time, so let me point out that the dishwasher is right beside the sink. It would only take you another 15 seconds or so to open it and put your ice cream accessories in the dishwasher rather than in the sink. As a bonus, if you do it during a commercial break, you won’t even miss a single second of that Austin and Ally episode!

Unload the dishwasher. Should you attempt to put your dishes in only to find the little blue light shining to indicate that the dishwasher is full of clean dishes, I really don’t mind if you go ahead and put those clean dishes away in order to make room for your dirty ones. It might take a tad longer than that commercial break, but you probably have that episode recorded anyway.

Vacuum. It used to be scary, I know, because it is rather noisy. You have iPods now with earbuds you can use to drown out the sound, though, so it shouldn’t be that frightening anymore. I guarantee the noise won’t bother me. After all, I live with you kiddos and you are much louder than any old vacuum cleaner!

Scrub toilets. Trust me, I have cleaned up enough other people’s poop and pee (i.e. YOURS!) to last me a lifetime. There is nothing in the world that would thrill me more than to see all of you scrubbing your own crap of the bottom of the toilet seat, so should the urge ever strike you, please – have a blast!

I should note that these are by no means the only household chores you can do. There is, of course, mopping, dusting, changing bed sheets, organizing closets, and washing windows. If you ever want to try any of those duties, remember that I love you and you can always come talk to me about anything. I might be a tad shocked, but I assure you I will not be mad or annoyed. At all.

I’m really glad we had this little chat. I feel much better about the situation and I hope you do, too. Now, how about you go clean something, OK?

Love always,


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