Have you heard about Jessica Stilwell, the mom who went on strike? The description is a little off-putting at first, but I was soon cheering for her as I read it.
Instead of following her kids around the house and cleaning up behind them, clothes, dishes, toys, school stuff etc., she decided to let them do it themselves. She stopped being her kids’ slave and made them take responsibility for their own stuff. They are 10 and 12 respectively.
Here’s the video.
When I heard her story, I though – “Well, yeah…”
Others have said it and it’s true. Her story isn’t really about a mom going “on strike”. It’s a lesson in how to parent our kids. Her previous approach in not teaching her kids to take responsibility for themselves did them a disservice.
KUDOS to Mama Stilwell for giving us a great example! You go mama!!
My parents were great at helping us take responsibility for our own “stuff” as well as expecting us to contribute to the overall upkeep of our home. Everyone in our big family had weekly chores as far back as I can remember. I do wish I could ask my mom when she started having me clean the bathroom weekly. I might have been 7 or 8 and I know she went along behind me to ‘perfect’ it more than once.
My mom used to joke, “Why do I need a dishwasher? I have 5!” (referring to my four sisters and I).
“Har, Har, mom.”
Back then, I HATED doing dishes and often dragged my task out as long as possible.
Now I see it so differently! I appreciate that my parents taught us personal responsibility in these areas.
Because of my parents, I know how to do the dishes properly by hand and wipe down the kitchen. I can clean a bathroom to perfection. I know how to cook. I know how to check my oil, brake, power steering and tranny fluid and the tire pressure on my car (thanks, Dad!). I can mow the lawn myself (my favorite chore!).
Does this mean I always do all those things perfectly?
Uh, have you been to my house lately?
While these are important life skills, the real gift my parents gave me in making me do chore was teaching me to take responsibility for my own life, my own choices.
This is a lesson I think about daily and thank them for silently.
I can only hope to do so good a job at sharing this with my own kids.
What positive lessons did your parents pass on to you?
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