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What My Sons Taught Me When I Taught Them Household Skills

I don't want to be the kind of parent that does everything for everybody and then complains about doing everything for everybody.
12/29/2015 10:05am ET | Updated December 6, 2017
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I don't want to be the kind of parent that does everything for everybody and then complains about doing everything for everybody.

My love language is service to others, so I'm in a dangerous position of possibly creating adult children who want to live in my basement. I think as parents, we tend to be so focused on entertaining our kids that we sometimes forget to teach them the basics of everyday living.

The kids have always helped with little things around the house, but we've never adjusted or really enforced their chore list, and we were overdue for a serious update.

I took the time to teach my sons how to help me around the house, and affectionately called it "The School Of Mom."

2015-12-15-1450202506-7141215-Dishes1.jpg© Audra Rogers

I did short, age-appropriate lessons for both of them, ages 8 and 3, on doing the dishes (by hand and machine), laundry, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, sweeping the floor, small-scale budgeting, and shopping at the grocery store.
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© Audra Rogers
It's important, not just so they help me, but so they know how to do these things on their own. I really want to raise them to be self-sufficient and great future spouses.

I planned ahead for a lot of things, but what I didn't plan for was what I would learn, or the conversation I would have with my 8-year-old during one of the first lessons.

"Mom, since you're teaching me something today, can I teach you something, too?" he asked.

I was a little surprised, but I quickly said yes.

After I taught him how to load and unload the dishwasher, he taught me how to build a small race car out of Legos. And it was fabulous. The old dexterity is not what it used to be in my hands, but I'm so glad I did it.

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© Audra Rogers
I love to learn new things and continually expand the mind. I wasn't expecting to do it with Legos, but it was time well spent.

I'm glad he wanted to invite me into his world and what's important to him. I also think it's of great value for our kids to see us as human. That we maybe don't know everything, and that we can learn too.

It isn't easy to always be interested in the things our kids talk nonstop about. I have heard everything I could ever comprehend about Minecraft, but I don't discourage it. I want him to tell me everything forever.

When he's older he may want me more at arm's length, so I'm absorbing as much as I can right now.

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© Audra Rogers
I also wasn't expecting to see so many positive changes in my toddler's behavior. He has grown into a little person with social needs, and it was really important to him to be included and contribute to the household. I gave him a "Toddler Task" in each lesson and he went above and beyond to be helpful.

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© Audra Rogers

He is at that golden age where he really wants to help just for the sake of helping, and it was great to see how it made him feel like more than "just the baby."

He consistently wanted to help with more than what I planned for him, and I was pleasantly surprised. So I will let him help more with everyday things. Our kids are far more capable than we give them credit for.

2015-12-15-1450202899-9227175-Groceries4.jpg© Audra Rogers
I started out just wanting more help and to instill more independence in them. But I ended up with sweet, loving memories and more knowledge myself. It was so much better than just attending the latest kidfest down the street.

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© Audra Rogers

I will forever cherish the time I spent teaching them how to hang pants and shirts on a hanger, laugh at the way we all tried brand new things for the first time, and remember the quality time we spent nurturing and investing in each other.

This post originally appeared on RealHonestMom.

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