Tuesday, July 15, 2008

WFMW: Working Myself Out of a Job

While Isabelle and I have been spending this week building her own "home management binder," I have been struck again with the realization that I could easily work myself out of a job in the next few years. In taking the time now to teach Isabelle the ways I run the home, and the things I do to make life smoother, I am paving the way for her to take on many of my tasks. And with Alex's love of cleaning, and Olivia's love of folding laundry and being in the kitchen, not to mention what Gracie's interests will be, I can pretty well have all my bases covered.

Now this is not to say that I would actually ever do this 100%, but what a great feeling it would be to know that I could, if needed. And besides, I love so many of my jobs in the home that I would feel deprived to give them up completely.

That aside, Isabelle loves the idea of having more responsibilities in the home. There are so many things she has taken an interest in and asked to learn about, but I have yet to take the time to teach her fully. Sometimes I think I don't give her enough credit. If she is capable of doing a task, and wants to do it, I am going to teach her how from now on. That is one of the reasons why we are doing this "binder" project.

The first project I had her do this week was to write out a list of what she thought were all of my household jobs. I told her that we would work together at everything on her list so that she could start taking on more responsibilities, and so that she would have this virtual "how-to" manual for when she grows up and has a house of her own. And I also told her we would have a lot of fun spending this time together and create some special memories for both of us. I was a little leery of how her list would turn out. I thought maybe I had scared her by saying that she would be learning all the things on her list and she would only put two or three down. However, I was pleasantly surprised by what she came up with.

Here is her list, in her own words:

  1. Cooking
  2. Buying clothes and food
  3. Feeding me, Alex, Olivia, Gracie, and Dad
  4. Washing dishes
  5. Helping us learn
  6. Caring for us
  7. Washing laundry
  8. Cleaning
  9. Planning
  10. Making a schedule
  11. Making rules
  12. Making sure the family stays healthy

She also made a cover for her binder and I wish I had picked up some batteries for my camera today so that I could show you how awesome she did! She really had fun with it, but took it seriously at the same time.

Today, I asked her to choose 10 favorite recipes from our Master Menu Plan that we could make together this week and next. We'll be taking pictures of each thing we make, and she'll copy the recipe into her binder also. Her 10 choices are:

  1. Crepes
  2. Chocolate chip coffee cake
  3. Hot pretzels
  4. Chocolate chip cookies
  5. Pretzel chicken
  6. Pierogi
  7. Lemon bars
  8. Brownies
  9. Swedish meatballs
  10. Chicken pot pie

We are both excited to start working our way through this list. We're also hoping to add to this list many times.

For now, training my daughter how to love and manage a life at home is really working for me.

Find more WFMW posts at Shannon's blog.


Bek 1:18 AM  

wow! That's amazing! I hope my daughter grows to enjoy doing things with me one day. Who knows, maybe one day I'll be saying "daughters"!

MrsD/Jacque 1:36 AM  

I have to admit that I actually thought about this today... Have I trained my girls to do so much that I do not have much to do?
I have to admit that they do most of the woman's work and often include the younger siblings too, as they should.
This gives me a lot of time to do a lot of things that are necessary and a lot of the managing. I have felt bad about this in times past, but I don't anymore, because I do carry the position I am supposed to, and do a lot of work around here. And the work never will be done anyway, will it??
I love working together with my girls and my boys. I am so thankful God saw fit to give these precious daughters/friends.

Thank you for sharing this. It and the linked post are a good resource and show just how to live that learning as we walk and talk with our daughters...

queenoftheclick 2:19 AM  

I love how you are teaching your daughter how to help around the home. I like how you let her chose what she wanted to make as well. It may seem like a small thing, but in a few more years your kids will be running the house and you can relax (maybe). LOL.

jskell911 11:19 AM  

I just recently taught DS to do the laundry and tackle the dishwasher. He's 11 and loves these two chores.

Sonshine 11:27 AM  

This is a great idea not to do just with my girl but with my boys! :) My goal for my boys is to have them able to not only do those "manly" type things but to also be able to help out in the home doing those things that usually are left for the girls to do(laundry, cooking, and cleaning to name a few)

I think I will be working with my boys this school year to accomplish this exact type of thing.

Thanks for sharing!

Michele 3:03 PM  

You are so inspiring, Kate! :) I would love to do something like this with Gen when she is older. (She already beat me to the laundry this morning. She put away all her diapers- we just need to work on the folding.) :)


ahorne 4:47 PM  

I see a chocolate theme in her list. :)
I have had these same thoughts, training my boys. My mother never made us fold our laundry until I was in high school. She always did it for us. There were many consequences to that as we got older, but needless to say, I required my big boys to begin folding their own clothes in 2nd grade. My youngest is now learning how to do it. He's been matching socks and folding napkins and towels for a couple of years, but shirts and pants are a little more challenging! I keep thinking....'One day, my daughters-in-law will THANK ME.' :)

The Momster 4:53 PM  

I think it's wonderful that she is learning about household management - definately a skill that most parents don't think about sharing with their children in this day and time.

Wonderful idea -thank you for sharing :)

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