I had to get milk, luckily the snowfall had stopped. That is why we didn't manage to visit Mom today. It took me almost 45 minutes to cover a distance that usually takes 15 minutes. So I scrounged up some money (pay day seems to get further and further away) and told the kids I would be right back. It is nice having another adult in the house so I can run these errands at night without having to bundle up the whole lot of us.
I bought the milk and back home I went. I was only gone long enough for one song to play from my iPhone. When I came home P came up to me and told me that he did dishes. I never thought I would hear those words come out of his mouth. I did what any mother would do in that situation, I went to look.
He tried to block me, telling me that he was about to but I came home to soon. Better yet he really did them. He also did an okay job. He emptied the dishwasher, put the dishes away in the right places. So, indeed I am one happy and proud mommy tonight.
My ex has always fought me on having the kids do chores. He would actually be upset when I encouraged to do the dishes when I was still living with him. He would only force them to clean when a mess they make becomes inconvenient to him. He expected me to do all the cleaning and made sure I knew it.
Even now that I am back in my parents house he gets upset that I have the kids do chores and help out around the house. They complained to him that I have them get Grandpa food and drink. D actually called me and told me that he didn't like the kids being a butler to their Grandfather. I should be the only one doing that. Then of course he told me that I am not capable of helping my Dad and I would kill him because I had no business giving him his meds, including his insulin. He told me that only a trained medical professional should be giving him all his meds.
Now that we have separated, I don't even respond to these accusations most of the time. I tried that when I lived with him but he would sometimes get so mad that he would lie on top of me, pinning me down and screaming in my ear because he wanted me to answer him and he wanted an answer to satisfy him.
Since we separated he has called me a few times to complain that the kids would make a mess at his house. Where was he while this happened? He was sleeping upstairs. Then he would ask them to clean it up, which they really don't know how to do because they never have to do chores. Of course they didn't clean up the mess. Why? Because he went back upstairs to sleep. He has a job so he needs to sleep. He makes more money than I do so his sleep is more important than mine.
Here they have chores, here they are expected to help keep the floors clean so Grandpa won't trip. Here they are expected to put food away when they take it out to make a sandwich or a snack. If I ask them to do something more often than not they do it. Why? Because I supervise them, I show them what to do, I make sure they understand what to do and can do it, I help them when they need help.
Sometimes they offer to do chores on their own. Like tonight and when that happens I am one proud mommy!