7 Quick Takes: The Chores, Snake Stew, & More Edition

— 1 —

So I witnessed something strange the other day. I was unloading groceries from our minivan when a pickup truck came roaring down the street. Three large flags – including a rebel flag – were proudly pitched int the truck bed and were flailing in the wind. The tricked-out truck screeched to a stop in front of our neighbor’s house. I watched a young man in a t-shirt with its sleeves torn off step out of his vehicle and amble over to our neighbor’s yard. He crouched down and when he straightened back up, he had a huge, black snake in his hand. I figured he was going to toss it somewhere away from the road since it was likely a king snake or some other harmless species. But, no, he walked over to his truck, held it up, examined it, and then climbed into the cabin along with his new friend.

I’ve been wondering ever since if this hapless reptile was about to be his new pet or his dinner’s main dish.

— 2 —

I need some advice. I really don’t know how to do the whole chore thing with my children. I’ve been struggling in this department for some time now and have been wondering if I need charts or something to get all of us more organized and in more of a routine when it comes to keeping home.

My kids (other than my hippie 3-year-old and the baby, of course) are fairly good at cleaning up their toys, but they constantly forget to make their beds and I haven’t been terribly good at establishing other habits like sweeping after meals, etc. I honestly don’t know where to start, and sometimes it’s just easier to do it myself. However, each child is a part of this family and needs to have an age-appropriate way to contribute to the household. I don’t stand by this belief simply because “many hands make light work,” but because giving children responsibilities as well as imparting the confidence in them to uphold these responsibilities helps build character.

Long story not-so-short, I want mandatory chores to be a routine element in our days, but I don’t know if we need charts or what a realistic expectation for a 7-year-old might be. My husband thinks my oldest should be responsible for vacuuming the entire main level of the house every day. That seems a little much to me, but sweeping the kitchen after each meal, making her bed, and helping to set and clear the table seems reasonable. Your thoughts? How do you make daily chores become more habitual? Do you use chore charts with your younger children – or even your older children just to keep them on track and organized?

— 3 —

A Wicker version of QTs would not be replete without me sharing something funny one of my kids said. We were discussing the seven corporal works of mercy – that is, seven ways to minister to the bodily needs of our fellow human beings like clothe the naked and feed the hungry. My 7-year-old and 4-year-old both wanted to recite them by memory. After they did so, Mary Elizabeth, 3, said she wanted to do it, too.

“Okay, baby, go ahead,” I said.

“Um,” she said, her green eyes glinting with confidence. “Marry the dead.”

All of us cracked up.

“You mean BURY the dead,” her sisters corrected.

My sweet, girly-girl Mary Elizabeth, always the romantic.


— 4 —

I’ve said before I sometimes feel like a movie star. My oldest is the paparazzi, taking random photos of me when I’m engaged in ordinary tasks. And everyone wants to sleep with me – including our dog. Oh, and I’ve got my little entourage that follows me everywhere I go. Sometimes I just want to be alone. But other times, like the other day when I was primping and had two fawning admirers, I feel glamorous, adored, and grateful for my very loyal fan club.


— 5 —

I want to thank everyone for their support of my posts – especially this one – following the outrageous Time cover. I had no idea that what I wrote would go viral. Although I was very grateful something I wrote resonated with so many people and was equally grateful for some of the charitable discussions the post encouraged, it did become difficult for me to not be distracted by the hubbub – to remain unattached to it all and attached to my family.  That said, I love my readers – new and old alike – and I cherish every word you write to me even when I’m unable to respond. So thank you for being here. Thank you for encouraging me. And thank you for sharing and letting me know when something I’ve written has touched you. And thank you for understanding when I don’t personally respond to a note or comment you’ve gifted me with.

— 6 —

So long as I’m thanking folks for things,  I want to tell you how much I appreciate you looking past the innumerable typos and blunders I seem to make in every single post these days. Sheesh. Sometimes I wonder if I this tired mush of a brain of mine has any business at all participating in weekly word slinging. If I can’t put perfect, typo-free posts out there, then maybe I shouldn’t write at all. I really have had these thoughts. And not just about blogging. But if my aim is perfection, then I might as well just stay in bed.

Which reminded me of what a friend of mine recently told me. She said God isn’t waiting around to watch our fall. No, He doesn’t scrutinize the falling at all. What He pays attention to is the rising.

Isn’t that beautiful?

What are you going to do with your messy self? What do you do after you do what you promised you wouldn’t do ever again or when you commit the same sin you’ve confessed repeatedly? Do you stay down? Do you stop trying? Or do you rise and try again and believe in God’s goodness as well as your own?

— 7 —

Please join me in congratulating Bonnie of Learning to Be a Newlywed on the birth of her daughter, Teresa Marie. And while you’re at it give this mama some major kudos. Her baby girl weighed in at 11 pounds 9.5 ounces and was delivered completely naturally. As Dwija Borobia proclaimed over on Twitter, Bonnie is the natural birth MASTAH!

Have a wonderful holiday weekend! Be safe.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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16 Responses to “7 Quick Takes: The Chores, Snake Stew, & More Edition”
  1. Jaimie says:

    Number 2:
    My siblings and I were homeschooled, so we were all home most of the time. We were all expected to help out around the house. I realize now that this is why my mother was always getting compliments on how nice the house always looked–she had three helpers! We were required to make our beds every day, preferably before breakfast, and DEFINITELY before Dad got home every day. Starting around age seven or eight we were taught to do the dishes and clean up the kitchen. When we were old enough to handle that on our own, we were assigned a “day” or days to clean up the kitchen after each meal. By the time my sister was nine or ten each of us had two days, on which we were required to clear the table, put away food, clear and wipe the counters, wipe and dry the table, wash and put away the dishes (we’ve never had a dishwasher), and sweep the floor. My dad’s a stickler about getting the kitchen clean so he taught us how to do it very well.

    Each week we also helped clean up around the house. When we were older Mom made a list and we’d all pitch in till it was done. When we were younger we had assigned jobs: I did all the dusting and vacuumed the floor, my brother cleaned windows and mirrors, and my mom cleaned the bathrooms. We all were responsible for our rooms.

    I firmly believe that parents can have high expectations of their children when it comes to chores, because my parents had high expectations for me. We never had chore charts or anything; my parents just instructed and expected us to do certain things and we did them or their were consequences. If I ever left dishes in the sink till bedtime, my dad would come get me out of bed and make me finish them. I hated it at the time, of course, but it worked! I’m not a parent yet, but I plan on doing many of the same things my parents did when it comes to that.

    Number Four: I LOVE the picture of you and the littles in the bathroom. The adoring look on the baby’s face…so sweet! 😀

    Five and Six: I forget how I found your blog, now I think of it–on a blog-hop, I’m sure–but I’m glad I did. I love how you write. You’re honest and sincere and your faith just shines. And don’t worry about typos. I’m not one of those people who edits every post a dozen times before it’s published; I write and hit “publish” right away. (I mean, I do go back and re-read what I wrote before I publish it, but I don’t let it sit for days.) My husband approved of that; he said it’s more real, more raw, more fresh that way (not quite his exact words, lol). So don’t worry about the typos. We want you, which certainly doesn’t have to be perfect.

    Also Seven: I just keep trying not to be so hard on myself. After all–God’s forgiven every sin I’ve ever committed or will ever commit. Who am I to refuse to forgive myself?

  2. I LOVE the pic of your baby in the Ergo — I have one for this baby to be, and cannot wait to use it. I got it for a song at a consignment sale — $25! Woot!

    Oh, my — I bow to Bonnie. 11 lbs? Holy Moly. I’m calling this Baby 5.0 at 9 lbs, and that’s plenty big enough for this 5 foot momma.

    Have a marvelous weekend!

  3. Deanna says:

    Back in the day, we had a chore chart for the children. Each week we changed jobs around so they learned to do a variety of tasks and didn’t get bored. Charts are good because then you don’t need to nag or remind (okay, my kids are adults now, therefore my memories are rose colored!)Stickers, smiley faces on the chart and then maybe a small reward after x chores are done y times. Pinterest has lots of chart ideas. AS a parent of grown children , chores teach them to be responsible and you can send them to college knowing they can do laundry. The effort it takes to teach them now is well worth it; but I bet you know that:)

  4. Jennifer G. says:

    I want to use chore charts because I feel like I’m always barking out orders/reminders and I wanted my kids to be able to hold themselves accountable. However, they never seem to work for us. I’m not sure why, but it might be because non-daily things end up on there like “unload the dishwasher” and I think it’s confusing for them to not check everything off, every day. I think the incomplete charts made it hard for them to keep track and feel accomplished. I’ve tried keeping separate charts for daily, non-daily but they just end up not getting used. They found the charts to be hassle and told me they would just rather me ask them to complete a chore when it needed to be done. So, I still feel like a drill Sargent some days, but it’s kind of an agreed upon over here. I’m looking forward to seeing what other people suggest!

    Also, beautiful quote with falling and rising. I needed to hear that today! Sometimes is really tempting to not rise when you’ve fallen for the 1,000,000 time. But that’s just the devil standing on your chest.

  5. Dorian Speed says:

    I’ve tried chore charts but they are fundamentally incompatible with my personality, as I cannot stick to a system to save my life (and, in the case of chore-doing, it might indeed save my life to get a system in place). What’s working for us right now are marble jars and cards with different chores written on them which my kids can choose from. They like having somewhat of a say in what they are expected to do. Not to be the person who self-promotes in your comment box, but I did write a post about how it works for us and I have some printables of our chore cards, etc.

    • Kate Wicker says:

      We have a marble system (the jars were on the counter by my apron collection ;-)) that I use for positive discipline, but I’m clicking on over to your page now to see how I might be able how to figure out how to use to encourage regular chores. Thanks for this.

  6. Claire says:

    Once again, I am bypassing the main point of your post to comment on design: I love the blue walls and white plantation shutters in your bathroom! We have a similar theme in our master bedroom.

  7. Kate Wicker says:

    Thanks for all the chore insight!

  8. Kris says:

    All my kids have chores that are age appropriate. Daily and weekly. For the daily ones, it’s just something they do now. Weekly, I used to have a jar with slips of paper in it and they would draw to see what their chores were for the week. It has now devolved into chore assignments, because certain kids prefer certain jobs. I don’t care, as long as it gets done. I found this great link for you about age appropriate chores. With some of all ages around here, I think it’s a good list (in Dave’s defense, notice that vaccuming is included under the 6 – 8 year old job list!).


    I’m also emailing you a chart that a friend uses that I think is great.

    • Kate Wicker says:

      Got the chart. Thank you, Kris. Also, that link is great. I know Madeline is capable of vacuuming (and sometimes even thinks it is fun), but I wasn’t sure about the every day part. Maybe twice a week, but having her do it every day in addition to daily chores seems like a lot to me. But maybe I am being lax??? Thoughts?

  9. I found chores when my kids were little very demanding – of me – at a time when I had no additional energy to expend. It does take work to establish a habit, and make sure it is done correctly. Summer is a good time to start, since the daily and weekly demands are usually lessened. I agree daily vacuuming is excessive in a young child. But weekly isn’t too much. Hardier than the slips of paper in the jar: I use popsicle sticks for weekly chores. I keep them in a coffee mug and pull out the ones that need doing. Often I let the kids pick them. As for daily chores, start with post-dinner and try to come up with one job for everybody in the general after dinner cleanup: put the condiments away in the fridge, wipe the table, sweep the floor (maybe just spot sweeping with a dustpan and small brush)…plus everybody clears their dishes, scrapes their plate if they can, puts the dishes in the dishwasher if they can. Focus on making this a habit for a few weeks and also pick one day a week for weekly cleaning (Saturday morning?) and have everybody do 1 or 2 bigger jobs. Give that some time and then work to add more. For the record, I don’t make my kids make their beds every day, and I only make them keep the floor clear enough for a safe exit in the event of a fire. Room cleaning is a weekly chore, not a daily chore for us.

    • Kate Wicker says:

      I love the Popsicle stick idea and in fact have a whole bunch of craft sticks that never got turned in to anything creative that would work perfectly for this.

      I’m also reassured knowing that someone else remembers that it was overwhelming and frankly MORE work to get into a chore routine when her children were young. We’re going to take baby steps this summer.

      God bless.

  10. MJDMOM says:

    I have to admit, that while I make my children work daily, I have no chart of any kind. I remember being influenced by this link from Danielle Bean many years ago: http://daniellebean.com/2007/08/09/about-chores/

    Also, in the past when I have had very specific “chores” for my children they were resistant to do anything “extra” once they had accomplished the minimum. Not exactly helpful in getting them to understand a life of service. They are expected to keep their rooms picked up, they clean up after toddler messes, and generally help as needed. They can do dishes (IT TAKES FOREVER…but I have to make them do it), vacumn (as needed, not daily), some know how to clean a toilet. I have found they are really bad at sweeping…why I don’t know.

  11. Dorian Speed says:

    I know what you mean about doing chores for rewards vs. preparing kids for a life of service. For me, having some kind of flexible system helps because I really hate housecleaning and often don’t even notice things that need to be done, or don’t want to fool with it. So it keeps ME a little more accountable. Plus, with our version of the marble jar, the reward itself is pretty long-term and it’s more that I am recognizing them in the moment for helping.

  12. cynthia says:

    Oh I love the 7 takes. what a great idea. Might have to play a-long:) Love that pic, priceless joy with your sweet family and on the blog typo’s! Don’t be so hard on yourself:) Typos and all you are a fabulous storyteller!!!!! Kick that inner critic to the curb:)

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