Last night I attended a meeting with a group of ladies that meet once a month to discuss mothering principles that apply to homeschoolers. The meetings are across town from me, so I don't get to attend them all. But the topic of the evening roped me in: "We will be discussing your best idea on organization". How could I resist?
While I wouldn't say any of the ideas shared were brand new to me, I was happy to walk away with some general inspiration on several topics. We discussed meal planning and laundry and touched on cleaning. Since I'm one of the ones in the group with the youngest set of children, several ideas don't apply to me yet. But it's never too early to start training my children to be helpers.
Emma (5 1/2) got alot more of my guidance today as she happily cleared the table, spearheaded the toy cleanup time, made sandwiches with me, served drinks, and helped the younger two. She does these things often, but not regularly enough, due to me forgetting to ask. I'd like to hone some of these skills, along with her other duties, so that they will become second nature. She's in charge of making her bed, watering indoor plants, feeding the dog, and she also helps me Swiffer the kitchen, fold laundry, and clean bathroom counters and mirrors. She and her little brother (2 1/2) do most of the dusting under 4 feet high, and they both LOVE that job.
Now before you assume I'm breaking any child labor laws, let me assure you that we all have fun when we're doing these things together. I usually make Tuesdays our cleaning day, and on Monday nights when I'm putting them to bed, I'll often say, "Tommorrow's cleaning day!", to which I get a "Yaaay!" in response. We play fun music and work together, and it really doesn't seem like much work. Most of what they can help with is done in about an hour.
What I want to make sure I'm doing is to train them while the idea of household duties is still fun. Once they realize not everyone likes that kind of thing, it's much harder to get them on board. I also don't want to make the ever-so-tempting mistake of doing everything myself because it's so much easier and faster. I think that would be ensuring my own demise. I think parents do their children a great disservice when they don't properly teach them to participate in the household duties. So we're in the training period, and while they're not really big enough to lighten my load yet, I have great hope that that time will come a few years down the road.
On another note, I was also inspired to do something I don't believe I've EVER done in my entire life: I woke up at 6:00 a.m. to go straight to the gym. (Screeeeeeech. The world is now going to start spinning on its axis in the opposite direction.) Yes, you read that right. Some of you who are closest to me know that that's equivalent to me taming 17 wild monkeys in a week. It would be no big deal to catch me working out at 11:30 p.m., but 6:00 a.m.? Not I, said the fly.
But it's true. I went and worked out, 'coming to' sometime after I'd been running for 20 minutes or so. I got back home right before 7:00 a.m. when hubby was getting ready to leave, and actaully had time to read my Bible and chill before my kids got up. It's too early to tell if this is the beginning of a new trend for me, but it certainly was a good experience. To those of you at the meeting last night who sang the praises of waking up early, thanks for the nudge.
I may need another nudge next week, and the week after, and the week after...