The Young One’s favorite hobby lately is staging mini-protests when an adult in the house reminds her to do her chores.
She rolls her eyes, slumps her shoulders and mumbles, “I have to do everything, and I don’t even get paid.” Sometimes this is accompanied by any combination of a scowl, a foot stomp and/or a long-suffering sigh.
I applaud her entrepreneurial spirit, her sense of what is fair and her core belief in capitalism. “If I work,” her slouch says, “I should get paid, and if I work more, I should get paid more.”
She would be 100% correct in that thinking if she was toiling in Corporate America, but she’s not. She has the privilege of working at Chez Momma where we deal in expectations instead of allowance. The work schedule and task list is set by me, and I dole out the earnings for meeting those expectations in the form of rewards such as food, clothing and beds.
Everyone who works at Chez Momma has a skill set and appropriately assigned chores. The Hubs handles the taxes, the finances and the lawn. The MIL covers the laundry. I manage cooking, procurement, chauffeuring and general household administration. That leaves the Young One with a job-share for dish detail plus trash and dog-poop-pickup. (We outsource cleaning. No one has the available hours required for this task. We bring in extra manpower so the dust doesn’t get too thick.)
Hers are not glamorous chores, I admit, but they need to be done (by someone other than me). I’ve tried to mentor her to look beyond these chores to something she really wants to do.
“Your goal,” I’ve counseled, “should be to excel at waste management, so one day you can be promoted to line cook.”
She just glares at me and grumbles about an empty piggy bank and a meager collection of Shopkins.
I’m standing strong, though. The expectations remain the same. Everybody works! Nobody gets an allowance! It’s a business model I believe in.
However, I won’t be surprised if I come home from my day job one night and find her standing in the front yard with a sign reading, “No pay. No poop pick-up.”