Maybe I overreacted.

We typically don’t do school on Fridays;  it is reserved for trips to the library, hikes, and various errands.  However, I had none of that planned today, so — to the boys’ utmost shock — I decided to do some school with them this morning.  They weren’t really pleased.  Well, that’s not quite true.  Wesley and Ethan didn’t mind;  after all, it was only read-aloud type stuff we were doing;  no seatwork.  Grant, however, copped an attitude, which I did my best to encourage him to control.

However, towards the end of a book we were reading, I asked Grant a question, and he responded with a blank look and, “I wasn’t listening because I don’t care.”


I can’t say I flipped out, because there was no yelling involved.  But, I did let him know that that sort of response indicates that he was wasting his time and mine, and had absolutely no appreciation for the investment I was choosing to make in him, instead of doing other things I could be doing, like the mountain of dishes.

I know this is sounding like a broken record, but because of baseball, and because of our budget-crunch which doesn’t allow for eating out, when the morning’s school is over, and lunch is over, and everyone is down for a quiet time or nap, I typically do a lot of cooking as fast as I can, leaving a wreck in my wake, then run out the door to practice or a game, then get home late.  We then all eat as fast as we can, then flop into bed, or I sink into the couch at 10:30, with absolutely  no energy or motivation left to clean the kitchen.

In a family of seven (six eaters, though), dishes can stack up awfully fast that way.  Yesterday, I ran the dishwasher twice, but there were STILL dishes, mostly the ones that need to be handwashed.

So, I told Grant that this morning, I had made a conscious decision to do school with them, instead of tackling the dishes.  I then told him that in order to help him appreciate my time and efforts, he was going to wash the dishes for me.

“But, I’ve never washed dishes!  I don’t know how!” came the predictable response.

“Well, you’re nine.  It’s time you learn.”

And, he did.

I did school with Wesley, coming in every 20 minutes or so to check on Grant, and dry and put away the ones he’d done.  The ones, that is, that didn’t need to go back into the sink because of grime or grease.

It took him a good hour and a half.

Part of me thinks that it’s likely unreasonable to expect a 9yo to really appreciate what his mother does.  So, maybe I did overreact…

But, he IS nine, and he DOES need to know how to do the dishes.


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on April 10, 2009, in Baseball, Budget, Homeschooling, Housework, Motherhood, Parenting, The Kids. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Good for you!

    At our board meeting yesterday we discussed the amazing amount of kids (especially boys) who have no clue how to clean up, make a bed or do laundry… I don’t have mine tackle laundry yet but you can bet they wash dishes, take out garbage, make their beds and put away their clothing.

    I don’t think you over reacted… How else will children learn to respect and appreciate what their parents do for them?

  2. Are you familar with Parenting with Love and Logic? I think those guys would heartily agree you did a reasonable thing! As a family of 6 with no dishwasher…I am tucking this back in my brain for future use! My hands could use a break! My kiddos are only 4,3,18 mo and 5 mo…no dishwashers YET!

  3. oh yeah, my kids totally are doing dishes by age 9.

    Sometimes if they have a hard time doing dishes, it means they need more practice and they get to practice dishes every day for the next week or month or whatever.

    And we don’t have a dishwasher.

    And there are 9 eaters in our family.

  4. You go girl! I don’t think you overreacted either! Sometimes kids need a strong lesson taught to them and I bet that’s just what this did. 😉

  5. I think that you were entirely within your rights as a parent and mom. I have done many things like that. Put up all of the family’s laundry, wash all the dishes by hand, scrub the floor in the kitchen, clean my bathroom. It is a great when those things really need to be done too.

    Way to go!!

  6. Everyone in the house should help out if they are able…the smallest kids can do chores and I think you did the right thing. 🙂

    Be blessed!

  7. I think that was a very appropriate way to address his attitude, and a lesson he won’t soon forget. Don’t hesitate to let him practice and get really good at it. My 9 year old son is truly one of the best dish washers in the house (second only to moi!). He even wipes down the counters and scrubs the pots without being told. Some of that is his personality, but his dad also trained him very well when my two year old was a neborn. It is not too much to ask your ball playing kids to help make running around for baseball a little easier for you!

  8. I agree with the others. My kids are extremely helpful to me when I tell them to help me. They don’t necessarily do it joyfully at first, but it is a great sense of accomplishment for everyone when we’re all finished. I don’t know of a better way to maintain order than to delegate, otherwise everything we have to do is soooo overwhelming.

    You’re a good mama, (((Karen Joy))).

  9. Yea for more dish washers! I make my two oldest wash some everyday, ’cause we don’t have a dishwasher either. They are six and seven years old.

    So, good job on the no yelling thing. Seriously. Good job! I am not yet good at that no yelling thing.

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