lessons is happiness: the kids can help

One of the things I struggle with as a mom is the feeling like I do all of the work. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in that feeling. An at-home-parent's day is filled with kitchen cleaning, bottom wiping, laundry folding, spill wiping, toilet scrubbing, toy wrangling, and grocery shopping. There's no way around it. Kids are a lot of work.

I recall reading somewhere that the only way to get things done around the house was to include your children in the work. And that is what I do. At first it was just as a distraction so I could get a bit more work done. "Could you please wipe this perfectly clean table with a sponge while I finish loading the dishwasher?" "Could you please throw fold this towel for me while I fold the shirts?"

But as my older son reached three, and started to reliably put his dirty dishes in the dishwasher without being asked, I realized that I was training actual helpers. That the entire burden of keeping our home in order would not fall to my husband and I. And that, my friends, was a real lesson in happiness.

Here are the things I now expect my 5-and-a-half year old to do.

1) get himself dressed/undressed and brush his teeth
2) feed the dogs
3) tidy up toys
4) tidy up art supplies
5) clear his place at the table and wipe it with a sponge
6) help unload the dishwasher
6) make his lunch for school

LESSON: The kids really can help, if you take the time to teach them.

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