Jo Palmer | Share family love & load

Southern Cross newsreader Jo Palmer takes a look at life in a world full of change and challenges.
Southern Cross newsreader Jo Palmer takes a look at life in a world full of change and challenges.

Doing chores was always just part of life growing up.

My brother and I were responsible for doing the washing and drying of the dinner dishes every night. 

We would argue over whose turn it was to wash and who had to dry. 

If the arguing got too much for Mum, she would make an executive decision as to whose fault it was, usually mine, and then you had to do it all by yourself. 

Every weekend I had to clean the bathroom and dust and vacuum my bedroom.  It was normal life.  

Despite all my efforts to also enforce chores in my own home, it seems I have failed.

I’m not sure what my mum did to make my childhood chores non-negotiable but it’s not working for me.  

Now, my pet hate is emptying the dishwasher.

So I have decided to cut myself some slack in the household jobs and ask my boys to do it. 

To my delight, they didn’t bat an eyelid. Straight into the kitchen, dishwasher emptied and all dishes packed away.

I patted myself on the back for having such great kids who didn’t miss a beat being asked to help out. Until they asked me how much I would be paying them. 

Should have known this was too good to be true.   

The shock on their faces was horrifying. 

At no point had they considered there was no financial reward for their work.

Of course what followed was a long and boring talk about family and giving and sharing the load. 

Their eyes glazed over about half-way through. 

We do seem to be living in a world where volunteering your time and effort is a dying art.  

Volunteering groups are crying out for younger hands to be put up.

My parents and grandparents viewed volunteering and giving to your community as a normal part of life. 

They just did what needed to be done.  

As a parent there are so many things I need to teach my kids. 

How to walk and talk, table manners and how to share and play nicely. 

But we also need to ensure they know how to work without financial reward; how to give without expecting anything in return.  

Just when I think I’m kicking goals as a parent, I realise that by being a mum who does everything, is actually not doing my kids any favours. 

The reward for doing chores is a sense of belonging to our family. It’s that feeling of pride when you help out. 

And I may have also threatened that if they don’t unstack the dishwasher, I would stop cooking.