By Bianca Bermejo
I’ve never particularly liked doing chores, they’re not fun, they mess with my time, and frankly sometimes I wish they didn’t exist. They especially become a burden when you live in a house with more people than rooms, where the small messes become gigantic in an instant, and because of this my siblings and I will fight for hours telling each other “it’s your turn to do the dishes.” However, over the years, I’ve grown to appreciate the extremely valuable lessons and skills I’ve learned just by doing chores.
I think I was 7 years old when my mom stopped doing my laundry. It wasn’t a formal thing or anything, it kind of just happened. Soon after I became an expert at cleaning my room, the dishes, the kitchen, etc. It has taken me awhile to reflect and even wonder if there was some deeper meaning to scrubbing on dishes or if my mom was just making me do them to be mean. The conclusion that I have come to, time and time again is that there is no deep philosophical meaning to doing chores, there is only the fact that it is something that needs to be done, and as a member of my household it is a responsibility of mine to contribute to the family effort to keep our living space clean and habitable. Again, I admit they suck. I’d much rather spend my Saturday mornings on an adventure with my friends, than cleaning my house from top to bottom. But by having the responsibility of doing chores, I do admit that I like my chances of being a fully capable and independent adult when the time comes. Think about it, school gives you necessary knowledge to land you a job, living requires the ability to maintain yourself. To maintain yourself you have to have the basic skills of being able to cook for yourself, clean for yourself, and all that stuff our parents usually take care of. It makes us more independent when we can be self-sufficient, and self-reliant, and because of chores, I am that.
My mother was raised in a household that was patriarchal in nature and valued her ability to do housework more than it did her outstanding grades in high school. The expectation for her was that her chores be done before she could work on her homework. Her priority was school, but she had to do chores first. I’m lucky enough to have understanding parents that get that I want to finish a math assignment before I get started with chores, but the expectation still remains that I do them. I think it has taught me some valuable lessons in prioritizing. Do I want to have a good time on Sunday, or should I do laundry and have clean clothes for the next week? You learn to put some things before others, and if it’s not you consciously doing it on your own, it is your parents keeping you in line. For example, my mom always tells me that if I want to go out or be involved in sports, I have to be on top of my chores at all times. You have to earn your privileges, just like you earn a raise in a job, or a better grade in a class, if you are on top of your work, and putting in all your effort, you will be rewarded.
There aren’t many negatives I’ve personally seen to having to do chores as a teen, other than having less time. As a student with college level classes, clubs, and sports, there is never enough time in the day to get everything I need to do done. I know that stress can overwhelm us sometimes, but the fact of the matter is that we are all on the verge of adulthood. The time to rely on our parents for everything is almost over, and it’s important that when going out into the world we know how to take care of ourselves. On random occasions, I’ve even thanked my parents for having set the expectation early on in life because now, it has become a routine of mine to get my homework done, and then get my chores done. Plus, there is some pride you feel after cleaning your house, like, “Wow look at me, adulting and stuff.” If there isn’t satisfaction in that, there is something about being able to binge watch Netflix in a fresh and clean living room.