Were You Prepared for the Drudgery of Life?

– Posted in: Cleaning, Growing Up, Parenting

Today, while unloading the dishwashing for the 3,000th(?) time, the following thoughts crossed my mind:

  1. That business about needing to do something 10,000 times to be good at it is really crap because I could do this in my sleep.
  2. I wonder — can you prepare a person for drudgery?

I was feeling like Conan the Barbarian pushing the giant stone wheel around in a circle today. When I faced a kitchen full of dirty dishes and a dishwasher full of clean dishes right after moving dry towels out of the drier so I could switch clean towels over to dry so I could start washing the dirty sheets I’d just stripped of the beds, well. . .

Most days I’m okay with the cleaning, wiping, sorting and every other “-ing” that comes with keeping a person’s house from looking like something out of Hoarders. But sometimes I get so cranky about it, and I wonder, is that because my momma just didn’t raise me right?

My brother and I had a pretty cush childhood. We did some chores, but we certainly weren’t up there with my friends who did the dishes every night, cooked meals, and handled their own laundry. Yet somehow — and I’m really not sure about the “how” — I left the house and didn’t starve or live in squalor.

But I wonder sometimes, am I wimpier than people who grew up doing all the stuff I now have to do every day as an adult? I’m not saying I wasn’t a hard worker as a kid. I’m a classic overachiever — to the point where I burned myself out and basically made myself chronically ill. But my hard work always revolved around school, sports, and music lessons.

So my question remains:

If I were more conditioned from an early age to do all the boring stuff of life, would life be any easier now? Would I be a less bitter adult?

Or would I have just wasted some valuable time when I could’ve been doing cool, enriching, creative stuff? Would I have missed out on being a kid?


Should you prepare a child for drudgery



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14 Comments… add one

Cheryl S. November 22, 2013, 6:29 pm

I vote b. I had to do all the chores every week. I vacuumed, dusted, cleaned bathrooms, kitchen, etc. It doesn’t make it less annoying now. Trust.

Tammy November 22, 2013, 11:28 pm

Well see. There you go.
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Poppy November 22, 2013, 8:43 pm

I thought I did a lot as a kid because I was responsible for the dishes every other night (traded with my sister). Ha! It was my mom who had it tough. This is what I tell my teenage daughter every morning when she is bitching about putting away the dishes. By the way, I hate when she spends the night at a friend’s house because then I’m stuck doing it.
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Tammy November 22, 2013, 11:31 pm

I go in spurts when I get the kids to do certain things consistently, and then I just fall off the wagon. So then I get REALLY annoyed because the job that used to get done by someone else has come back to me. I guess it’s all relative.
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acorporatewife November 22, 2013, 8:43 pm

I’d have to say I was prepared… but I don’t think I was prepared for drudgery. I was prepared for routine. And when I get cranky about it, I find I’m just like my mom was, when she was doing all the “-ings” before we got off our behinds and started pulling our weight. She felt alone in her work. She felt she wasn’t appreciated. So now, I’ve also made it a routine to seek appreciation and company, whenever I’m the least bit bitter. It helps.
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Tammy November 22, 2013, 11:37 pm

I’ve figured out I’m a lot like my mom. She would sort of take it and take it for a long time and then just blow. I’ve noticed the time between my periods of “blowing” seem to be shorter than hers. But that may just be childhood vs adult perspective.

vanita November 23, 2013, 3:25 am

woman i grew up doing all that stuff (and i make the teens do it now, except cooking) and i hate it today like nothing else. i will happily pay one of the teens 20 bucks to scrub the tub, and be coffee-creamer-less for a week, just not to do it myself. I’m pretty sure oldest teen wants to go away to college so she doesn’t have to do chores anymore. hahaha, man is she going to miss chores compared to being on her own and long months without home cooked meals. hahahaha. well, hubby’s cooking, not mine. nobody will ever miss my cooking.
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Tammy November 26, 2013, 12:18 am

What is it about scrubbing tubs? Actually, showers in general. Doors suck. Curtains suck worse. You just can’t win. Yick.
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Molly November 23, 2013, 6:29 am

i hate it. i hate the cleaning and the chores. we have a chore sheet that began 6 years ago but went into “all-kid” mode 2 years ago and they don’t balk so much about it, but it’s pretty tame: dishwasher, laundry, haul garbage … i would like to add vacuuming bedrooms and bed stripping on the off weeks when the cleaning service comes. i married a wonderful man who is like me: a little casual about intense cleaning so we throw money at it every two weeks to do things none of us wants to do: dust.

Tammy November 26, 2013, 12:20 am

Try as I might, I can’t get the kids to understand stripping the beds. They just don’t get the sheets thing. They always bring me weird combinations of linens. Don’t ask.
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Andrea November 23, 2013, 7:03 am

I hate doing chores, but I think it has more to do with what kind of person you are. I am not a “just do what needs to be done” kind of person. I will stomp my feet, sigh audibly, and enter into the chores with a great feeling of being burdened, and I hate it hate it hate it. On the other hand, someone who is more like “well, it has to be done so I’m gonna do it” doesn’t dwell on the drudgery. I’m a dweller I guess.
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Tammy November 26, 2013, 12:21 am

Yeah. I’m a dweller. About a lot of stuff.
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Cher November 24, 2013, 7:04 am

I had to do tons of chores and cooking as a kid including cutting, splitting, and stacking firewood (which did come in handy as an adult). My mom and grandma cleaned all of the time and their houses sparkled. I didn’t want to spend my entire adult life making everything spotless and clutter-free. Therefore, my house is cluttered and on some days does look like they filmed Hoarders here, but is clean to an extent. Plus the kiddos do their own laundry!

Tammy November 26, 2013, 12:24 am

My mom’s house sparkled. I still don’t know how she did it.

BTW, I loved chopping stuff with an ax when I was a kid. Probably because it was dangerous!
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