Blog, Topical Tuesday

Chores: The Professional Adult Stance

Tuesday Topic: CHORES

There is a meme going around Facebook. It is probably nothing. I feel like even giving my voice to the issue is making a mountain from a molehill. And, yet, I can’t help but feel like this one issue which actually contributes to the continued decline of humanity here in the United States.

I’m talking about kids doing chores.

If you’re anything like me, you are probably confused by why this is even a topic of discussion. Children do chores. It is what kids do. How is this a controversial new thing?

Well, like all things which seem to be common sense to me, it comes down to the proliferation of idiots on Facebook.

So a woman named Nikkole Paulun (famous for being 16 and pregnant) posted some pictures of her six-year-old son doing chores. Her reasons are good ones. She wants him to be self-sufficient and doesn’t want him to ever think of housework as “women’s work.”

If you’re me, you respond to this with, “Well, duh.”

But, I’m apparently not one of the hundreds of thousands of people who threw a shit-fit about the pictures.

For some reason, people got upset about this woman actually being a responsible parent. The common theme was one along the lines of “You don’t have kids to be your slave.”

My first instinct is to say, “Well, how do you expect the fans of a show like 16 and Pregnant to have anything but a romanticized and unhealthy view of parenthood.” But, I think that would be too easy. It’s a cop out. And the way I know that is the other Facebook meme that always chaps my fanny.

The “Why didn’t they teach me X in high school” meme.

When combining the two, I realize the problem is too many people, especially Americans, grew up without doing chores. That’s why we have things like #adulting. People don’t know how to take care of themselves.

Hashtag: Adulting – Proof we really are all useless

I’m a proud millennial. Sure, I’m at the “old” edge of millennial, but I’m a millennial none-the-less. And, as such, I get pretty tired of being told how lazy, self-involved, narcissistic, and useless we are. I think anyone who has spent time with me in a professional environment can tell you, I’m not useless.

Narcissistic and lazy? That’s probably more debatable.

From my experience, Millennials are awesome in the office. The quickly embrace new tools and ideas, which usually leads to them multiplying a team’s productivity. Since this is something I’ve tracked in my day job, I have a little authority here.

But, I also know from my own personal experience and the personal experiences of my friends, we suck at home.

I still get a sense of pride from doing dishes. That’s right, I emotionally equate doing a load of dishes with something along the lines of winning a Nobel prize. Why? Because I spent so many years just… not… doing… them.

And, I have the benefit of knowing how to do these things. Not everyone does. That’s right. Not everyone knows how to do these simple, easy things.

If you spend an unhealthy amount of time comparing the “children aren’t slaves” commenters with the “why didn’t they teach me how to shop for groceries in high school” shoppers, you start to see a massive overlap.

And, that gives me another reason to be extremely thankful for my parents. They made me do chores and now I basically know how to do things for myself.

Doing chores gives children life skills

Here are a few things I know how to do because my parents made me do chores and included me in projects around the house:
Wash, dry, fold, and iron my own laundry
Wash dishes by hand
Vacuum, sweep and mop floors
Feed myself by buying and cooking my own food
File and pay my taxes
Balance a checkbook
Perform most small home repairs including hanging drywall and replacing light fixtures
Sew well enough to repair my own clothes

Of course, these are just the direct skills. They don’t even highlight the indirect life skills, like resourcefulness, problem-solving, and keeping a cool head when things appear to go wrong.

And, I’m still learning. I’m 33 and will still go over and do chores for or work on projects with my parents. In the last year alone, I’ve learned how to replace a hot water heater by working alongside my father. These are life skills I will keep with me for a long time.

And I learned them at home. Doing chores and working with my parents.

Now, I know I’m fortunate. I’m extremely blessed to have the parents I have. I’ve done my best to show appreciation for this since I first realized it in my early 20s. Not everyone out there had parents who were able to spend time with them and I’m afraid for some of the younger people reading this, your parents might not have had the life skills to pass on.

If this is your situation, you’re fortunate to live in the information age. Because, if there is one thing I know how to do, it’s learning a new skill from the internet.

How to learn to adult if your parents didn’t make you do chores

Part of being an adult is realizing your parents couldn’t prepare you for everything. There are a ton of situations I find myself in that my parents just didn’t face, or maybe it’s more accurate to say, lessons I didn’t learn from them because I was young and arrogant.

Again, I am lucky enough to live in the future, and all of human knowledge is available at my fingertips. Sometimes it isn’t easy to dig through, but it all exists.

Most of the time, if I need to know how to do something, I can google it. I will almost always find an eHow article or a decent YouTube video with step-by-step instructions.

For the most part, I’ve used this to teach myself the basics of car maintenance. My parents taught me how to change the oil as a kid, but most of the time, they took their vehicles to a mechanic for just about anything.

YouTube taught me how to change brake pads, headlights, and even windshield wiper blades.

I never lament a skill I don’t possess. There is always a way to learn. My parents gave me a good foundation for most of my life skills. It’s up to me to grow them from there.

YouTube and Google are my go-to resources for most new skills I need to pick up, but I’ve found a few other great tools, too. For example, despite my parent’s efforts to get me to not be a lazy slob, I still find myself using online guides to frantically clean my apartment instead of just picking up after myself on a regular basis.

For bigger skills, I generally turn to Udemy. Sure, my focus there is mostly on increasing my professional skills, but there are classes on everything.

Bottom Line

Learn to do your chores, then teach the next generation to do their chores so they can be ready to spend their adulthood learning new skills. Skills we may all need in the future. Like how to fight slug monsters.

Published by M.A. Brotherton

M.A. Brotherton is a writer, blogger, artist, and fat-kid from the suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri. He’s tasted a little bit of everything the Midwest has to offer, ranging from meth-tweaking rednecks in massive underground cave complexes to those legendary amber waves of grain. When he’s not writing, he spends most of his time screwing around on the internet.