Missing chords with giving chores

My wife and I will never win any Parents of the Year Awards.

Lennox's Lion Attack - Thanks Lego!

Lennox’s Lion Attack – Thanks Lego!

Most of the time, we’re just bumbling through this whole ‘Raising Kids’ business with one singular aim – to avoid being hauled away by the Department of Welfare for Children.

Very occasionally, however, we get struck in the ass by a bolt of inspiration to teach our two boys some valuable lessons. And the current fad we are on is teaching them to work for something, to earn their keeps, and to save.

When we first came up with this gem, my wife and I were very proud of ourselves – so much so that we toasted a whole bottle of wine just to celebrate our parental wisdom.

Unfortunately, as soon as we implemented this, our asses were struck from all fronts by its side effects.

One current example involves my elder 7 year-old son, L. For the past week, he has been trying to save up $32. That is how much Lego charges for little colourful blocks which transform into Legends of Chima 70002: Lennox’s Lion Attack. In my days, Lego building blocks transformed into nothing but bigger, uglier blocks, and they sure as hell didn’t have names like Chima or Lennox’s Lion Attack. However, the problem here is not the product. It is the cost or, more specifically, the collateral impact it has on my sanity.

In a bid to earn money to buy this Chima thing, L has been driving me crazy over the past week with: “Daddy, you got any chores for me to do?

My reply to this has typically been along the lines of: “But I’ve already asked you to clean up the leaves in the backyard, do the vacuuming and unload the dishwasher. And I’ve already paid you $2 for each job!

How about the car, Daddy? I will wash your car for $2! Can you move the car to the back so I can wash it, PLEEEEEASE?

But, L, I’m busy right now cleaning up the leaves in the backyard, doing the vacuuming and unloading the dishwasher”, I would respond while grumpily re-doing all the chores that my son was supposed to have done but lost interest half-way through.

Upon hearing that, L would move on to the next victim and, soon after, my ears would faintly catch in the distance a little voice saying: “Mummy, you got any chores for me to do?”

Indeed, the question “You got any chores for me to do?” has been uttered so frequently over the past week that I’m on the verge of screaming out “NO MORE CHORES FOR YOU! GO WATCH SOME TV OR PLAY VIDEO GAMES OR SOMETHING!

To make matters worse, this doing-chores-to-earn-money business has turned every conversation with L into … well … a chore.

L, go and clean your bedroom.

OK Daddy, but how much are you going to pay me?”, L would shoot back.

L, don’t be too rough when playing with your little brother.

OK Daddy, but how much are you going to pay me?

L, go and do a pee before we go to your friend’s birthday party.

OK Daddy, but how much are you going to pay me?

I was so indoctrinated with this standard response that a couple of days ago, when my wife asked me to read a bed-time story to my younger son C, I unconsciously blurted out: “OK honey, but how much are you going to pay me?

Not only that, but L has started to solicit work from people other than my wife and I. His grandparents, aunties, uncles have all been unmercifully subjected to the hard-sell. He even tried to get money from his little 5 year-old brother’s piggy bank, in consideration for being a ‘nicer big brother’!

In fact, I’m half expecting a call from his school teacher and/or the Department of Welfare for Children, asking me whether our family is experiencing financial difficulties because L is asking for chores to do at school for money.

I’m not sure how close my first-born is towards his financial goal of $32. But I’m getting very tempted to just buy him the damn Legends of Chima 70002: Lennox’s Lion Attack gratis. Alternatively, the next time he tries to hustle me for money, I may just tell him that I will give him $2 if he stops asking me for chores to do.

Either way, to all those Parents of the Year out there, I take my hat off to you. You deserve all the accolades that come your way. As a matter of fact, I’m going to toast a whole bottle of wine to congratulate you on the way you teach your kids useful habits, and to celebrate your amazing patience and dedication – important qualities that I clearly lack.

Keep on pounding.


20 thoughts on “Missing chords with giving chores

  1. Ashley @MilesonOats

    Hilarious post! Brought a smile to my Wednesday that feels like a Monday! I am sure your a fabulous father and just being too hard on yourself! Keeping on runnin’!


  2. linbritt

    Maybe he’s cleverer than you give him credit for. ‘Nagging and only half doing the jobs so dad gets frustrated’ is a cunning plan to be GIVEN the Lego Chima 😉

  3. smile breathe and go slowly

    sometimes I miss the way my parents did it…parented with fear and indifference. Ok that’s probably not good…but the way WE do it is way too complicated. I’m trying to UNDO all the grand schemes and plans and just let them learn through natural consequences. Oh and say NO a lot. LOL ( YOu’re hitting me on an “i’m done and handing in my parenting card” day sorry 😛

  4. Brenda

    Smart children make our lives so difficult. LOL Hilarious post. Every strategy backfires as the yard apes figure it out. Someday we will appreciate all that devious cunning when they make a living. I hope.


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