In our home growing up, there were a few words/phrases that you just didn’t say. In April’s post, “By the Root“, I shared one of the taboo’d. The word “shut-up“. (Maybe my mom won’t see it if its written super small). Of course any cursing and bodily function descriptions were off limits. Plus, certain body parts were spelled instead of spoken, like “b-u-t-t”. (We still tease her about this one!)
But the phrase she truly despised were the words, “I’m bored”. Watch out if you uttered those precious two. Now that I’m a mother, I can totally appreciate her disdain for the expression … every little entitled, serve-me, slothful taste of it. Okay, so maybe not that dramatic, but come-on … do I have to think of everything to fill the hum-drum of summer??!!
So, last week we started what I like to call “Bored” Chores. The rules of engagement are as follows:
If said child comes to the mother and, for instance, politely says, “Do you have anything I could do?” The mother will quickly reply, as little birds sing gaily above her head, and mice happily scurrie around her feet, “Why, yes … Here’s a list of little jobs ready and waiting for eager hands. And since you came to me… I’d like to generously compensate your hard work and willing attitude.” A zippy song just might spontaneously erupt as the children joyfully embark upon their delightful adventure.
If, on the other hand, said child comes to the mother and utters the phrase, “I’m bored.” The mother will swiftly present the chore board full of “Bored” Chore opportunities so that pesky free time burden can be lifted and replaced by good, clean, character-producing work… with no pay, of course.
Here are a few of our “Bored” Chores/money-making opportunities:
1. My Spring/Summer 2010 nemesis, those darn nut-grass weeds.
Windows are a killer … It looks like so much fun – the promising roll of paper towels and fun squirt bottle. Then, like any job, the fun turns into work. These 2, eager to get some extra cash, ran for the Bounty & Windex and started their job (“bored” never touching their lips.) Of course, the inevitable occurred. Older sister quickly figured out that not only is it air-conditioned inside, but also the dirt is only dust. While, caked on grime coupled with creepy spider webs defines the outside panes. She sweetly volunteers to clean the inside while Sister-Save-a-Lot washes the outside so they can get the windows done faster … “And we can help each other see any spots we missed.” Uhh-huh.
I feel for the fool that gets this lovely project. It should probably be me. Were they ever clean?? Surely when we moved in they weren’t so full of junk!
4. Car Wash – really a treat on a hot-muggy day, if you’re a glass half-full kind of person.
5. Brushing the pool. Since I’m sleeping with our cute pool guy (so what if we share the same last name and he’s too cheap to hire a professional), I don’t think he’d mind the help. Plus, you can jump in after.
6. Data Entry – Maybe I’d actually send our Christmas cards this year if I just had to print a sheet of labels instead of hand-addressing each one.
7. DVD organization. It’s so frustrating to open a box and find it empty or housing the wrong movie.
8. Furniture Re-Finishing. This is one of my job postings that has yet to find a taker. Our front porch hosts three rockers that need some major TLC.
9. Fun with Math. I’m happy to reward non-required summer study.
10. De-Clutter…. their own closets, drawers, etc. We still need to do our garage sale (and you thought I was joking about the Recovering Procrastinator thing) … the more stuff, the better.
I could keep going … but will stop there. Needless to say, I can keep them busy if they can’t find productivity themselves. I’ve noticed, though, they tend to work a little harder for someone other than me.
“I’m hot. I’ve been working REALLY hard! I think I’ve done enough.” Speed Police said with a Tom Thumb shopping bag 1/4 filled with nut-grass weeds.
“Pretend like you’re working for someone other than your mom,” I say, knowing she would not give up or complain for anyone else.
Indignantly, she informs me, “MOM… I’m working for God!!”
There you have it.
Thanks for walking the road with me.
Tune in Wednesday for a wonderful Ruth Meek Table Talk!