The Dirty Word – Chores.

I grew up labouring away at my bit when it came to household chores. Having three sisters though made the work load that much lighter. I was never paid so to speak for doing chores, however , if ever we needed or wanted something within reason – we didn’t go without. Movies, ice-skating, drive-in, tuck money and so it goes.

My wonderful young teenager recently dug his heels in when it came to a short list of chores I felt were standard for any teenager all of 14 years old. I contacted a few friends and family who too have a child of the same age to compare what is considered a reasonable list, as well as the reward be it financial or other.

I came up with ten chores a week. TEN. I really didn’t feel that was child labour although my son differs. My list was something along these lines.

  • Clean your own room. Inspection is once a week.
  • Unpack the dishwasher after dinner.
  • Mow the lawn once a week – all of a 15 min job. 
  • Take out the trash when need be.
  • Feed the dogs daily and ensure fresh water mornings.
  • Pick up your own dog poop.
  • During school holidays, to help hang the laundry.
  • Make your own bed weekends.
  • Help dad bath the dogs on sundays.

 

Oh wait – that is all of 9 chores. One would think this to be child labour for that is what my child seems to think. Banging heads about this list has left me with migraines. I believe all children should be raised having to do chores. Heck I did. Chores teach children far more than responsibility and the value of a dime.

Then we had the debated issue of what was considered a satisfactory financial reward. Boy, the kid should join the debate team as he sure threw some at me. Yet again I turn to family and friends and what would you know – we seem to pay our teen a little above the considered ‘average’. My sister suggested I start a monthly spreadsheet for him. On which I write down every cent spent on his luxuries –

  • A new clutch cable for his off road motorbike,
  • weekly petrol to run both his bikes – this is recreational,
  • bike parts when he crashes, lately that’s often
  • constant new clothes and shoes as he seems to think they are best used while working on his bikes.
  • The maintenance of his tarantulas,
  • mobile contract
  • Blah blah etc –  

This list can go on and on but it hit me – My sister hit the nail on the head with her advice. Sometimes when kids see things on paper, the reality hits them a little more and they can digest it properly. I’m not talking a childs living luxuries or expenses. I’m referring to his hobbies. 

There you have it. I sat down with my son and asked him what he felt was acceptable and reasonable to be on his chores list. We negotiated the list so not all was selective. What teen is readily going to volunteer a pick up his dog poop before mowing the lawn? Having his participation gave him a sense of having a voice and choices. He is now responsible for his chores list. As for his rewards, they come in many forms and he is slowly realising this. Thank goodness as being the eldest, he sets the example for his two much younger brothers. 

Keep Calm and Parent on.

So what would you feel is an acceptable list or pocket money amount for a 14 year old teen?

 

 

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Siblings – A Bond Like No Other.

It’s the season about many celebrations, joy, giving, sharing and so it goes.
I was browsing through photos as I often do when such seasons come and go. So often, without fail – every photos tells a story, holds a memory and shares a joy. Here, in this photo are my siblings and our hubbies. There are a few children that have since joined our family – growing together as we journey through life. I miss them all so so very much especially on such occasions as Christmas. Love them all to the moon and back. . . And some.

Compliments of the season to all my readers and followers. May the season fill your hearts with warmth, love, laughter and so much happiness that you feel warm and fuzzy inside always.

SunshineMac

It’s Your Birthday, Little Brother.

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Today is my little brothers birthday. Funny how we still call him our little brother when he is in his 30’s. Of all my siblings – I have a super special bond with my brother. I love most how we share the same wicked sense of humour and when we do a conference skype call with my mom, the house is on fire. No distance or continent or hemisphere can keep us apart. South Africa & The UK, no contest 😉

How awesome is my little brother ? Beyond awesome,so awesome in-fact that he called me up in 2008 and said, ‘how’s your passport looking?’ Why, I ask. ‘cos I’m online booking your ticket to the UK to tour England with mom and I – all expenses paid !!’ THAT’s HOW AWESOME MY BROTHER IS *massive smile*

I miss him most on days like this, not that any other day do I miss him any less. It’s the late nights up sipping coffee, while olden goldies hit the music box & we chat and chat and chat away. Laughter fills the air and conversation flows. I know mom baked his favourite chocolate cake today, where I joke he is lucky he doesn’t have to share it. A good ol’ braai, music, family, friends and Johnny Walker would have been the order of the day. Think I would have hit the Amarula somewhat. 

Here’s to you my little brother, whom I love more than I can ever put in words. We share incredible history, a lifes’ journey and an indescribable bond. Thank you for always being my rock, my counsellor, my bail out, my brother. You’ve taught me never to sweat the small stuff cos it’s all small stuff indeed, self love and just how worth it I am. BIG, HUGE, GIGANTIC HUGS *mwah* from your bestest sister ever 🙂

 

 

Mine Didn’t Come With A Manual.

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Big Boy Mac

It’s fun being the eldest I constantly tell my big boy, Austin. And I start with the list of all things first – first to get your license, first to celebrate the big milestones like your 13th, 16th, 18th and 21st. You enjoyed a whole eight years and some of being the only child, never having to share mom, dad or your toys. Most of all though, I say being a big brother is the most awesome of titles. Being my first-born enduring a bumpy ride since conception – our bond is a tight one. Yes, like any mom to a new teen, not all is smooth sailing. We clash at times when the boundary between parent and friend are blurred. Although we have a very relaxed style of parenting and allow for much freedom of expression, there isn’t a thing I wouldn’t do to protect or defend my sons regardless of the situation. That is after all a mothers natural instinct.

My teen really lashed out at me last year angry at my pregnancy and how he felt a new baby would impact upon his life. His biggest concern was the time alone with his parents. Austin thrives on his one on one time with us, “like the old days mom when it was just you and me” Needless to say I had a difficult pregnancy over and above this. When my hubby brought Austin to the hospital to meet his baby brother, right there in that beautiful moment – their bond was sealed. Austin is so protective and so in love with Ethan. He is a fantastic big brother often saying “mom, i love him so much can’t i have him” LOL. However the buck stops at those poo nappies and I’m okay with that. As for our relationship, things are back on track but we still bump heads on some teen issues. Children just don’t come with a manual, it’s a journey through life we share as we walk through the years. Love you Austie, gazillions over xxx
via PicsArt Photo Studio

You Are My Sunshine.

ImageI was conceived one romantic valentines day back in the 70’s to a much older soon to be father of 5 and my very beautiful and rather young mother. Born their second daughter but not the second child between them. Either way I am the middle child. With nine siblings altogether or three daughters between them, the result remains the same.

I recall my father being away a lot as he was a soldier during the Rhodesian war. A civil war is no place for a single mother with five children. My mother eventually got us over the border and into a safer South Africa days after the sun set on Rhodesia and rose as Zimbabwe. I recall celebrating my sixth birthday in South Africa – which was to be one of many RSA birthdays.

My father was in the mining industry. Often he would take us down the mine shaft and into tunnels to show us what it was like underground. It was musky, dark somewhat moist. The air seemed thick and dusty. We enjoyed these adventures with my dad though. Always wearing a hard hat that didn’t quiet fit. Back home on school days come sunset we would wait for my dad to return home where we would run and greet him at the gardens gate, then fight over whose turn it was to pull off his smelly boots. It was an event with much laughter getting dads boots off.  Gardening some weekends, my Dad would hide money in the purple flowers of the creeper that grew up the side of the house and onto the roof.  My eldest sister Charmaine and I would trick Kerry – our baby sister, into swapping her ‘paper’ money for our real coin money  – crafty I guess. Either way when we went to the candy store, it didn’t matter what the bill was – we all gave my Dad our coins and he paid the balance without us knowing.

These small memories I hang onto of my younger childhood with my Dad. I would go on only to see him on one occasion  after our arrival in RSA while at my brothers funeral.  I was due to go back to Zimbabwe after my Senior School year but he sadly died during my final year due to a heart attack caused by a blood clot triggered from a car accident he survived a few days prior. The 11th April 2012 marked the nineteenth year of his passing. My childhood nickname was Sunshine – hence SunshineMac. RIP Dad, seen in this photo with my elder brother as a baby.

All we have is precious time – use it well, Hugs.

SunshineMac