Mommy Who Is Scared Of Chore Enforcement

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First of all, I understand.

You are not alone.

Let me relay my story.  I hope you take comfort.

My daughter Jazmine is 8 years old. If you are new to this blog, for the first 7 years of Jazmine’s life, we lived with my mother-in-law.  Life was very different then.  I had a lot of “help”; most of which was an easy fix to a current situation. During this past 11 months of living under our own roof, I’ve had to grow A LOT! Jazmine had to grow a lot. It could not and did not happen all at once. Discipline is an area where I’ve had stunted growth. I am not talking about behavioral discipline. I am talking about enforcing chores and household responsibilities.

Jazmine has chores, meaning I’ve assigned them and she knows what things she is responsible for doing.  She also knows how to complete each task to Mommy’s specifications. However, I have not done a consistent job of enforcing those responsibilities. She knows she is to vacuum after dinner but, often enough, because I dismayed at having to address her non-verbal unpleasantness at being told to complete the chore, I would not say a word but let it go.  Other times, it’s not that I didn’t feel like enforcing but that a greater need arose. Namely, Baby Grace needed and eye kept on her while I finish something in another part of the house. Jazmine can not yet vacuum and watch a toddler so, I nixed the vacuum for babysitting.

My husband and I just got back from having some time away.  Now that we are back home, and our weekly routine gears up again tomorrow, I have had time to reflect. I can not be that worn out anymore. I can not stay up late after our girls are in bed to clean, fold, and wash. My husband does not need to stay up after working to straighten up.

The Bible is clear. It says, “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 11:19).  Although that verse is referring to the Israelites teaching their children to carefully obey God’s commands, you will notice that the children are with their parents. The children are with them in the house, on the road, at bedtime, and in the morning. I’ve not had Jazmine by my side while doing most of the things needed to run a household. I’ve let her entertain herself while I completed my chores. I’ve done her and myself a disservice.

I was afraid to enforce before because of what it would cost me. Time.

It’s like teaching her to tie her shoes all over again.  When she was 5, I had to add an extra 5-10 minutes to the get-out-of-the-house routine to allow her time to work at tying her shoes. It was worth it but oh so labor intensive. Until today, I’ve shied away from enforcing chores because I did not want that labor intensive work day-in and day-out for the next few weeks (months) on end while raising a toddler whom, I swear to beans, has hit the terrible twos at 14 months of age!

But the Bible says, “Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul” (Proverbs 29:17) I can take comfort in that, as much hard work that will go into this next stretch of mothering, delight is awaiting me on the other end.

So, fellow scared Mommies, let us journey on together shall we?

Disclaimer:  My decision not to act was selfish and unloving. My desire for perfection (regarding cleanliness) in my home effectively killed much-needed instruction from me to my child. I am armed with laminated and posted chore charts (one of which is pictured above) and a determination to make household responsibilities just as important as school. I will enforce the chores she knows how to do.  Whatever task I am about to do in our home that is new to her, my Jazmine will be by my side.  I will be teaching and she will be observing and learning. We will be conversing. I will not expect perfection when she first attempts task nor when it’s her 50th attempt. I will, however, expect improvement. 

Conflicting Emotions

It’s a little after 10PM.  We’ve had a busy day.  Jazmine is in the bed.  My mom calls; I talk to her. I finish our call and briefly talk to my tired husband.  I am finished all of my roles for the day.  I’ve Mommied, wifed, and daughtered. I was beginning to settle in to time for Xara.

I had no real plans but somewhere in the options was a shower, read a book, watch a show, and/or relax on the couch before bed. I see one Jazmine item still left out.  I pick it up to put it away when my husband asks me to rub his foot.

Instantly, I am incensed.  Hadn’t I done enough already?  I took care of everyone else. I am finished now.  I want to take care of me now. Why does one wait until I look like I am about to rest to have an ‘oh but wait, can you do’ moment?

I sat down, quite resentfully, next to my husband and rubbed his foot. It was not mechanical but neither was it loving.  I did provide some warmth to my touch but the emotional resentment was there.  I could feel the tears in the back of my eyes.  I blinked them away.

When is enough enough for the day? When can I say ‘no, I’m done’?  And here I am, wanting more children. Maybe that is why I haven’t conceived. I flare up at the Wifommy responsibilities I have now and I have the nerve to want to add more children to the mix?

I really had to blink hard then to keep the tears at bay. That line of thinking made me feel bad on top of worse. How can I yearn for more and inwardly fuss at what I have?

So now, I am doing nothing on my original things to do list.  Now, I am writing a post about how discouraged I feel about not being able to call an end to my Wifommy day, being angry with my husband for wanting me to rub his feet, and being ashamed about wanting more children given my inward outburst about what my current household size requires.

 

My Hips Don’t Lie

I love to dance.  I really enjoy it.  All I need is to hear a drum beat and you can fuhgeddaboudit.  I’m gone.  I don’t care where I am.  I can be in the grocery store and bust a quick move if they play something I like.  I dance when I’m happy.  I even dance while I’m eating or about to eat (not all the time but it is not uncommon).

I’ve said before that I have been taking a bellydance class and I love it but the class day is moving to Sunday.  I can’t do Sunday’s.  Not only is Sunday the day we set aside to come together and worship the Lord but it is also a family day for us.  My husband is a minister.  We have two services at church and he attends both.  He is tired and hungry when he comes home and even more so if he preached that day.  We have three children who go back to their mother’s houses on Sunday as well not to mention our toddler.  There is no way I can attend a Sunday class.  What am I to do?

I was saddened to hear about the day change.  For a split second, I was trying to think of a way to make it work so I could attend class.  Trust me.  The thought lasted for the briefest of fractions of a second but even then I was surprised I had the thought in the first place.  Then again, I really like bellydance and my instructor is so awesome.

You have to take a stand.  Not necessarily against someone but rather for Christ.  I am honoring God by keeping my priorities in check.  God, husband, children, and then everything else.  I am standing for Christ and keeping my commitment to Him through the responsibilities (family) He has given me.

I know of a young lady who is possibly going to start attending the Sunday class.  She is a Christian but she does not have the same responsibilities as I do.  To her I say, go for it!  If God is first, the rest of your life’s responsibilities and priorities should fall into place.

But what about my hips?

I was so pleased to hear that there are other instructors in my local area that are approved by my instructor.  If the Lord wills, the class date, time, and location will line up so that I can attend.  I hope to start sometime next month.

Priorities

A piece of advice for my single ladies.  Try different things.  Explore.  Look for things you like to do and do them.

I like to belly dance.  I enjoy it.  I work hard at it to learn it.  I started taking classes twice a week almost 7 months ago.  One of the things that intrigued me about this dance is that not everyone could do it right off the bat.  You have to learn it.  I like knowing that I can do the moves. No one outside of class sees me dance except for my husband and (occassionally) my 15 month old if she sees me practicing but I like knowing that I can do them.

About two years ago, I started seeing different exotic aerobics studios pop up here and there and became interested in what the hype was all about.  I heard that dancing on the pole was not as easy as it looks and that you have to be in shape to do it.  Well, that was all I needed to hear.  I felt challenged and looked forward to the day when I could take my first pole dancing (aerobics or whatever you want to call it) class.

I took my first pole dancing class two weeks ago.  I loved it.  I took my second class yesterday at another studio.  I loved it.  I am sore, but I loved it.  When I say I am sore, I mean I am so sore that even when I am laying down in the bed resting my thighs still hurt, sore.  I went with a family member both times and at the end of yesterday’s class, we were trying to figure out how we could take a pole class once a week!

Here’s the dilemma.  I have responsibilities at home that can’t go on the back burner or get passed on to someone else because I want to take a class.  It’s an internal conflict.  I don’t want to feel guilty about leaving my family to do activities that I enjoy without them.  I would be gone four  nights a week instead of two.  (I am also interested in taking a belly dance hall class as well:)).  My bonus children come on the weekends and they are frequenting us during the summer weeks.  The dance hall class is held Wednesday nights (which is Bible study night for most of us) and the pole dancing class is offered Friday evenings and late morning Saturday.  I want to commit to taking it at least twice a month but I can’t.

This is the time that one usually makes the untrue statement, “I don’t know what to do.” I know what to do, I just wish there was an alternative.  I want there to be a pole fit class and a belly dance hall class held during the day (let’s say around 10AM) at a local gym that provides childcare where I could just pay for the dance classes I take and not pay a full membership.  Is that too much to ask? (smile)

I know that it is about timing and that the time is not right for me to take all four classes at the same time.  That day will come but it isn’t today.   It sucks because now that I am a married 31-year-old woman, I find activities that I would like to do and I can’t do them as gung-ho as I would like to.  (sigh) I enjoy the times when I can do what I like and embrace the times when I can’t.  I don’t want to miss a minute of what’s happening right now because I am thinking about somewhere else I want to be.