Child Labor.

by Vicki Larson



I’m not exactly sure what got into to me, but on a recent Saturday I drove to the local rock and gravel store, ordered about 2 yards of crushed stone and river rocks, put the $200 or so on my credit card, and then spent two days shoveling, spreading and artfully arranging them on my driveway.


Numerous observant neighbors remarked, “That’s a lot of work.”


As my teenagers would say, “Duh.”


But one of them said something rather brilliant: “Shouldn’t your boys be helping?”


Really, shouldn’t they?


Sure, it was their week to be with their dad, but I could have waited a few days for them to come back to me. So clearly there was something else going on, even if I wasn’t fully conscious of it at the time.


It’s something all divorced parents have to deal with at some point or another: how much more do we expect our kids to do around the house now that there aren’t two adults doing it all?


When I was married, there was a clear division of labor — the pink jobs (mine) and the blue jobs (his). Unfortunately, more and more tasks over time became pink jobs because I just didn’t like the way my then-husband did them. I’m sure I wasn’t the only wife who rolled her eyes at her husband’s attempts to handle something he clearly wouldn’t do the “right” way (meaning “my” way) and then said in exacerbation, “Oh, I’ll do it!” — just as I’m sure I’m not the only wife who wondered if this was perhaps done on purpose.


The interesting thing is that once you get divorced you realize that no matter how little your former husband did around the house — or how poorly he did it — at least it was something. Now you’re doing it all on your own, plus working full time.


Enter the kids.


Oh dear — that's as bad as "That's so gay," which I jump on my kids the minute it slips out.

Whenever the kids B&M about "all" the work they have to do, I remind then that it's my job to teach them life skills ... because one day I won't be around to tend to their every need.

I suppose that's when they get a girlfriend ...

Single Mama

Many of us have not expected our kids to do chores as they were on a sports team, piano lesson, tutoring, etc. Sadly, it can leave our children without an appreciation of this skill. A male neighbor had been mowing the lawn of a woman who's husband had left her. When the neighbor was moving away, he offered to teach her 12-year-old son how to mow the lawn. The son's friend looked over at him and said, "That's migrant". If this is new vernacular, I want no part of it. Now make your bed!