Growing up in India, I was quite a pampered child. My only responsibilities included scoring great grades, eating well and staying active.
And living in Singapore is no different. Most parents, me included, want their children to focus on school, sports and extra curricular activities. In a normal world, most parents clock endless number of hours and money ferrying children to enrichment classes, while household chores are assigned to domestic help.
But with the Circuit Breaker in place, our perfect universe seems to have come crumbling down. I learned the hard way that life isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. Domestic help is only a privilege.
Now we are home all the time, plenty of us without any house help. And tasks like homework, revision, office meetings and entertainment seem finite. But unless I grow six more arms like the idols of Indian goddesses, it is impossible to cook, clean, exercise, rest, stay sane and repeat.
So, hubby and I came up with a plan. Why not run the house like an organization? A place where every member has a job, a portfolio; children included. This downtime has given us a chance to instill some important life skills and lessons in the otherwise boring and unadventurous lives of our children bred in perfectly polished cities.
Our girls now have a set off chores to finish daily – laying and clearing the dining table for every meal, lighting the lamp in front of God, bringing us water and tiny snacks each time we order around, helping in the kitchen for extra untimely snacks that result from illogical cravings, folding laundry and obviously making their bed.
I am disappointed we have no rebels here, leaving little scope for parenting. On the contrary, the chores have been welcomed as fillers and entertainment, not duties. Which makes me think, why do we as parents sign our children up for enrichment courses five times a week? Why don’t we let them make more real friends, explore boredom and assign permanent chores with or without a lock down? Is that our answer to guilt for not spending enough time with our little humans?
There is a silver lining to every dark cloud. While the kids are home, devoid of outside company, these chores are sinking into their subconscious minds. This is the best time for them to learn, their lives and homes are their business. Everything from doing dishes to washing toilets to cooking and making money, are part of life. Just like any company. There is plenty of dirty and routine work to be handled before any product sees daylight or the company makes any profits at all.
Today’s Lesson: Involving children in doing daily, mundane and dirty chores is an important life skill. The sooner they realize that life isn’t just about getting into that coveted top school or making heaps of money or ordering around, the better they will turn out as humble humans, as intrepid leaders.