Seven Steps to Helping Every Single Mom, Put Those Kids to Work

Do you ever think about how rich you would be if you were to get paid for all you did for your children? Ya, I rarely do either. Because, well, let’s face it, it’s our job.  But when did it become our kid’s job to not work? I’ve heard the stories. Maybe you have too.Great Grandpa walked to school and back in the snow. Over the hill. Ten miles. He made the long trip after he had already been up since 4 a.m. milking the cows, delivered two sows (that’s a grown female pig. Probably didn’t deliver that but hey!) and fed the chickens. When grandpa got home, sure he had homework, but that was done after he plowed the field, helped his daddy with the wagon harnesses and prepared the barn for momma’s canning (I always wanted to can so I tossed that in there).

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I don’t know about you, but being a single mom is HARD work. A different kind of hard work than our great grandparents may have had but never-the-less, it’s hard work. Why, then, does it seem like we give our children the easy way out? Why is it that we don’t make them push to be there best? Not only push them to be their best but set the standard and expectations around the house and assist them in following through. Well, my dear friend, if this is something you struggle with, I’m here to tell you…

Today’s post is about helping you do less and putting those littles in charge of doing more. Because this is an ongoing battle in our home, I thought it might be in yours as well.

Here are my seven steps to helping every single mom put her kids to work:

  1. Prep work: Detox From Guilt….Hire a therapist. Call your mom and throw a fit telling her what a lousy job she did raising you. Squawk and scream at your ex-husband. Sarcastically thanking him for leaving you to do it all. Whatever you have to do to rid yourself of the guilt you hold for ruining your child’s life, do it. This is why. Before you successfully launch this plan you’ve got to box up the guilt god, set him on a shelf, and walk away. You have to be in a healthy mental state to succeed. I’m telling you, being a single mom is WAR! And in the line of battle guilt is a deadly weapon that works against you. So dump it off and know that what you are about to do will save your family.
  2. Get organized and start delegating:  Once you have packaged up the guilt, make a list of what you don’t want to do in the house and separate it into chores and duties. Chores are something that kids gets paid to do, and duties are a requirement for being a part of the family, then assign it to those precious little minions. Bwahahahaha!!! I just love being a mom. Don’t you? Now, don’t get all caught up here and think your kids are too young or too busy or, you don’t have the patience. I promise you; they are not too young. Nor are they too busy and yes, you have the patience. Now, I’m not talking about making little Johnny change your oil, or Susie drive to the store and get groceries but these kids can do way more around the house than what we allow them to. So get to delegating and rock out to the freedom band. FREEDOM!!!! *insert awesome Cassie dance moves*
  3. RelaxI know this is asking a lot of some of you, but it is essential to the balance of your work-load and your sanity. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect in the house, i.e. the dishes perfectly put away, the dishwasher perfectly loaded, and the clothes perfectly tucked into the cupboard. This perfect business is for the cows. It’s another deadly weapon in this plan of action. And yes, it also works against you here. I know it’s hard for us parents, well some of us, to relax when we want the kids to help out around the house, but I ask that you be patient with them and as they grow they will eventually learn to stack the plates and towels just the way mom likes. I promise!!
  4. Be ConsistentSo, I tell you to relax and then I say “be consistent”. I don’t mean to say that you are not going to have days where it all just goes to hell in a handbasket – whatever that means. But if you really want to lessen your load and hand over those extra things around the house that you shouldn’t be doing, then you’re gonna need to follow through to a certain degree. These little creatures can be monsters sometimes and take full advantage of doing nothing. My daughter is a professional at pretending she has this black whole of a memory. She just can’t seem to recall what I expect of her. So do everyone a favor, buck up mom, and take the time to ride this thing through a few weeks by creating a weekly plan and sticking to it.
  5. Set ExpectationsThis will be custom to your style of parenting, the uniqueness of your family and the ages of your children. You are busy and so are the kids. Open this conversation up to the family and get some feedback on what they think, then think it through and lay out clear expectations.
  6.  Put it in writing and stick to the plan: I use the term non-negotiables around our house. Just like you go to work every day, or you make sure the bills get paid each month, and their little bellies stay fed, they too have a job helping keep the home in order. Don’t let them work you over. If they catch on to your putting the guilt god away in a box, I promise you, they will hunt that box down and let him out and sick him on you. Control of your emotions and a clear plan is key to sticking with it. Besides sticking to the plan, it will be easier for everyone is you have this written down somewhere. This is a little tricky. I have found writing it down is as important as the conversation and sticking to the plan. Kids need a visual and so do we. Every family is unique in the way they stay organized let this be unique too!
  7. Be Flexible and gracious: stick to the plan and be flexible? Yes. It takes time to get into a new routine. It takes time to learn new things, for you and the minions ;). So, extend some grace and flexibility while everyone is adjusting. If the family has had a tough couple of weeks and it seems like this “Great New Plan” will never get off the ground; it’s o.k to take everyone for ice cream or treat them to something unusual. Like milking a cow or petting chickens. Lol. Just kidding, but you know what I mean. Get creative. Make sure you tell them you know what you are asking of them is hard work. Let them know you are not giving into your expectations of them, but that coming together after a few days of frustration and a long week of effort, even if it’s not been perfect, is a good way to stick together. Of course, make sure it is something more simple than what you would do if you rewarded them for doing a great job!!

There it is, a home made “built-in maid service” for free! For those of you that haven’t started any of this.ever. I am sure you are thinking,

“Cassie, that sounds like more work than just doing it all myself.”

Yep! It will be work! But aren’t you already doing a lot of work maintaining it all as a single mom? Aren’t you exhausted? You are working three full-time jobs! I promise you, once you have this action plan in place, and those little creatures are busy around the house, life will be MUCH easier. What I have laid out is not a perfect outline. I believe the key success in this is consistency. It is a constant work in progress in our home. Some weeks we just fall off the wagon completely for weeks. But I do promise, if you stick to it and stay consistent, you will make significant progress. Just give yourself and those little monkeys, or big one’s, time and much mercy in the process. If you have questions about setting this up in more detail and the structure and support to help your family get motivated, please feel free to contact me with any questions.

I would LOVE to hear from those of you who have mastered this balancing act. What are you doing that is working? What didn’t work? And, what resources, did I not mention, would help you set this plan into motion and win with it!

-Cassie

photo cred: stocksnap.io/photo/J405LO4B6Y

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