Ward House

A sense of balance.

Balance; Quite the buzz word in some circles. For us it is the balance between work/school and home/family. Families today are different than families when I was growing up and are definitely different then when my parents and grandparents were young. I am the child of divorced parents and have been divorced twice myself (Oops, there’s a skeleton!). My girls are from my first marriage. Families become more complicated as you add members, including boyfriends with kids and ex spouses of their own. Dealing with each other’s children can be challenging.

I’ve said all that to bring us to Sharon‘s interesting post titled Blessing or Burden where she discusses kids and when they begin to contribute to the household.

I observed that in Nigeria, I’d read that the average child begins to contribute more to the household than she eats by the age of 6. I wondered at what age most American children contribute more to the households they live in than they consume? For many blue collar households, I’d imagine it is 16-18. For the most affluent families, who subsidize graduate education, it might well be nearly 30 – or later.

I know my grandparents definitely contributed to their households at a very young age, my parents some and perhaps not quite as much (mom grew up with servants). My sister and I contributed by means of household chores, however, I do not remember that either of us paying rent to either parent. Christine moved away to college and I moved from my mother’s house to my father’s, to a roommate’s, and then I married.

My lack of ‘contribution’ has me wondering if I have shortchanged my girls (and me) by not forcing more help around the house & property; by trying to be a better parent and allow the girls time to participate in sports, I may have fallen into a different set of troubles. They both spend much time reading and studying, which is great for school, not so great for chores at the house.

Education is important and I am not advocating lower educational goals in favor of weeding the garden; I am saying that there needs to be more of a balance. Both girls are in advanced English and play sports or participate in the strength and conditioning class sponsored by the school and wellness center – yes, we actually have a wellness center! No stop lights, just weights!

Katelyn is ‘recovering’ from stress induced severe stomach cramping -playing two sports, trying to keep up with school work and then my grumbling about the lack of help around the house (probably no so much this one as the other two). Both sports have since gone. I did not have the opportunity to play sports in school and have tried to give both girls opportunities that I did not have. They are talented athletes. Back to the question, where is the balance?


April 25, 2009 - Posted by | family, Gardening


  1. Personally I would sit down and have this discussion with your girls, and not worry what happens in another country. And I wouldn’t fret over how others find their balance. Families are different, and they find what fits for them. Our job as parents is to make sure our kids grow up healthy, some what happy (we will do many things to make them hate us) and responsible. The balance in my home will be different then your home. My boys are currently grounded from the computer, all of them, until they can all get along, and stop arguing of little things. If one boy is not arguing, but the other two our, it is up to that one child to help his brother’s settle the argument. I am trying to find a balance for them and their different personalities. And it seems to be working. My boys are more artistic than athletic, so we have to find a balance between work time and down time. And it isn’t easy. We try to find the art in chores, helping our boys understand that with chore comes art. How will this flower bloom if it is smothered in weeds? We have to erase those bad lines to create the beautiful ones. Or in the case of Medium, who wants to be a writer like I am, we create stories out of the chores. Choose your own adventure ones seem to work the best with him. But we still have issues with them wanting to do other things rather than help the family, so we try to talk. And help them understand that our way of life is different than their friends, we have to work together to be able to eat, rather than just allowing daddy to leave home and bring the food in. (of course Large will stay the night at a friends house and will come home complaining that the food tasted funny, and for a moment understands that our way of life, tastes a lot better than his friends)Sorry to place an entire post in your comment area. I hope that you don’t get worked up about the balance or perceived lack there of in your home. We all have very different ways of doing things, and can never compare our families to one another sanely.

    Comment by Phelan | April 25, 2009 | Reply

  2. Phelan, I am glad to see that life is ‘normal’. =) It is nice to hear that you have similar issues with your boys and this is not just me. *whew* Thankfully the girls seem to be more responsible away from home than they are here, and for that I am thankful!*sighs* The good, the bad and the stinky. =)

    Comment by Annette | April 27, 2009 | Reply

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