On a sliding scale of sucky sounding words, the word "chores" has to be up near the top.
The very sound of it denotes something to be avoided at all costs by people of all ages. In my world, I've rebranded "chores" to "home admin".
With a 5-year-old in the house, I've been giving thought to when she should start assisting in home admin. It wasn't long after her age that I started reading The Babysitters Club, and wanting to embody the character Dawn, tidied my room nightly, which progressed to cleaning bathrooms, doing the ironing, and years later being friendly with the push mower.
Just as I think parents can be completely over the top in their praise for the most basic of achievements, I don't agree with a payment system for things that simply have to happen around the house. We all live here, we all contribute to the mess. I wonder if financially rewarding kids for completing rudimentary daily tasks is the right way to go.
I need to get my strategy right - and quickly. Giving a few coins to a young child lights them up and I'm happy to reward for outstanding efforts, but children should learn these tasks are necessary evils to keep home life running smoothly.
I recently read an article about chore lists that divide the internet. According to this article, my daughter should be able to tidy her bedroom, prepare simple snacks, and clear the table. My suspicions are raised when they mention cleaning silverware. Was this written in 1920 with an upstairs-downstairs situation?
Next year she should be able to peel potatoes, make a salad (would be more helpful if she'd eat a salad), and change the toilet roll. Scrambling eggs and baking cookies at 8, mowing the lawn and deep cleaning the kitchen (definitely looking forward to that one) at 10, and washing our cars and cooking an entire meal from 12.
This list was met with digital outcry, with one woman saying that her 38-year old husband couldn't do much of what's on the list. Her statement is exactly the reason why I fear that we as parents are doing a disservice to our children by being of too much service.
Kids are being raised, because of a variety of reasons, not knowing how to cook a meal, how to clean a bathroom, or do the laundry so clothes won't be ruined. There's nothing endearing about a 10-year-old who can't make their own breakfast on the weekend, let alone a 20-year-old who doesn't know how to clean their apartment properly by moving day.
I understand the glamour of reselling limited edition Jordans far outweighs cleaning your parents' workplace after school or working in a service industry learning to converse with others and do a wide range of tasks, but I fear that we are creating a generation of hopeless adults who at best will create an entire home help industry by outsourcing home admin, or at worst will arrive on our doorsteps with a full laundry basket each week.
Even worse still, maybe they won't move out of home for years, until they manage to find someone who has learnt these skills so they can lurch from one easy domestic situation to another.
New Zealanders are resourceful and practical, and while that isn't a reason to punish ourselves by keeping a perfect home on top of every other ball we are juggling, it would be a shame if we lost our can-do attitude that is so revered around the world.