Child labour

1st March 2017

At what age did you put your minis to work?

I know that Etta is only two, three in June but I have this thing about trying to install a work ethic into our kids from an early age. Now this is going  to sound big headed but as a kid I was pretty clever and never really had to work at anything to do well at it. I think this is what’s made me pretty lazy as an adult, I was always told I could have been anything if I had applied myself more at school as opposed to insisting on leaving after my GCSE and going into the world of work, as things turn out I am in my third career and have always done well in what I have done but I always seem to get bored and change after a stint of 7 or 8 years. Part of that boredom comes down to a nomadic nature that is in both Alice and I but it worries me for how we as self-employed parents, who most of our friends and family see as lazing around all day (but working every night) will reflect on our children and their attitudes to work.

It’s that worry that has me thinking about ways to instil a relaxed attitude to work, relaxed in the sense that its no big thing (quoting flop) and something that shouldn’t be avoided and should be embraced rather than dodged.

But how do you do that when the life we have chosen leaves us with not much routine for work? I have recently been insistent on Etta tidying up her own toys and mess, this sounds like a no brainer but previously we always tidied up after her at the end of the day rather than getting her to tidy. I think that if most people look at theirs lives with their kids they would actually realise that they spend a lot of time running around mopping up after them. We have not gone down the militant route of you must tidy the puzzle away before we get out the legos etc but a pretty rigid tidy before lunch and then one before dinner and then a more relaxed run into bedtime that involves enough screen time that would leave most of  the middle class parents agog with judgement. But my views of parenthood and the judgement crew are that they have their reasons and behind closed doors are probably worse than the rest of us…. it’s faux judgement in my eyes or should I say in my squares eyes to hide the fact that most days like us they don’t get out of their pyjamas and at least once a week dinner for all the family can be an assortment on spreads on just about defrosted bread.

Now moving on, thats 100% my soapbox bit done for the week maybe the day who knows what might start me off when I hit Waitrose tomorrow for my free coffee. We figure that the work ethic thing works but only with the reward of some form of pocket money and the traditional sense of what’s right and is she too young says yes but last night I got her to “help me” with the washing up in exchange for 10p, 10p that she used to purchase a mini pack of Haribo from our newly formed tuck shop tucked away in the pantry, she chose not to spend it straight away and preferred to wait until the next morning after breakfast. Thinking so far its a good lesson to be learnt and adjusting our ideas as we go.

Really interested to see what everyones points of view are. I am sure that its going to be as divisive as so many other parenting issues but maybe us parents could or should give a little bit of extra thought too and I know, before you say it, I have probably thought bout it enough for all of us.

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