Because that’s what mommies do?

I went and bought some shiny new poster board last week in preparation to make a “responsibility chart.” It’s time these kids started earning their keep. For a while there Rachel would get her stool and beg me to let her “wash the dishes,” which was really code for “drench all the things with the fun squirty thing!” I tried to appease her as much as I could, but I should mention that I’m also one of those people who just wants to get things done with little to no help from the 4 year old set. Something about 1 step forward, 2 steps back. So basically my kids aren’t faring well on the responsibility front.

Here and there, when its convenient, we have them set and clear the table, empty the silverware basket from the dishwasher, and put away their toys. Convenience means we’re all in good moods, no one is whining or crying, and I have an unusual stash of patience up my sleeve. But it’s high time we set them up with some regular daily and weekly responsibilities. Seeing as I’m not much of a “daily and weekly responsibility” person myself, this will either be a huge win for all of us, or a complete fail and we’ll all go back to our regularly scheduled happy chaos, where one only does dishes and laundry when there are no more plates or clean underthings.

Even Richard Scarry’s Cat Family has the right idea. I mean, look at ’em. I bet Huckle Cat empties that wastebasket like a boss without even complaining. Kids like to be given things to do. It makes them feel important. See that strut? He’s feeling it — the inflated sense of self that comes from feeling like what you’re doing really matters. Because if you don’t empty the wastebasket, my dear Huckle, no one will, and your whole family will die a slow, painful death by the sheer weight of all that colored confetti.

Huckle Cat Richard Scarry
I bet good old Huckle doesn’t even need a responsibility chart. Show off.

Unfortunately that poster board is still sitting against the wall, untouched. I know we’re at a golden era right now where the kids want to do things to help us (see Huckle’s inflated sense of self above), so I really need to jump on that. Check in with me next week and see how I’m doing, kay?

The great thing about being so eager to help is that they don’t really ask WHY we’re treating them like little slaves. They want to work! Which is odd, because everything else in the entire universe comes accompanied with it’s own “Why???”

Why Daddy go to work?  To work hard and make money so we can stay home and have fun.

Why Rachel’s sad?  Because she’s sick. Why she sick?  Because she just doesn’t feel well. Why she doesn’t feel well?  Because she has a tummy ache. Why she has a tummy ache? Because….she just does.

That’s right. She just does. Somewhere along the line I also uttered the phrase, “Because that’s just what they do.” I have no idea what the context was, or what they were asking about, but I needed to end that conversation quick to save my sanity. It could have been about cars driving down the street. Leaves falling off the trees. Dogs taking a dump. Whatever. It’s just what they do.

I admit, I’m not the best at coming up with creative answers off the top of my head. I have a hard enough time coming up with the right answers, much less ones that get the point across on a preschooler’s level. Let’s end this line of questioning and move on with the rest of our day, okay? Daddy works so I don’t have to. The dog took a dump because dogs poop too. Your sister is puking her guts out because her tummy hurts, now don’t touch her, and lets commence with the Clorox bombing of the house before one of us catches it.

And then again with Richard Scarry:

Huckle Cat Richard Scarry

Mother Cat is sewing. Why she sewing?

I could have said a lot of things: She’s making a dress for Sally. She’s sewing some pillows. She’s part of a rogue sewing circle that wears matching Michelle Duggar jumpers. In reality, it looks like she’s just practicing her chain stitch on a piece of ribbon while everyone else cleans the house, so who the hell knows? She’s either really dense, or a complete genius.


Why is she sewing? Well, because she just is. I guess she likes it.

Because that’s what mommies do?    

Well…some mommies I guess. Uh, not this mommy.

So thanks for that, Richard Scarry and Mother Cat. Now I need to bust out my sewing machine in order to fit the mold of what my daughter thinks “mommies do.” Next I’m sure will follow other absurd tasks like “cooking,” “cleaning.” But I ain’t wearing no Michelle Duggar jumper.


Join the Conversation


  1. i knew the day would come where the boys would have to answer for “what mommy does” and tried to plan ahead for their answer. “Mommy WORKS from home and takes care of things for the house and for the kids and daddy.” Then the day came. He was chosen as the Featured Student of his class. His response to what mommy does? “Mommy cleans. And mommy eats lunch.” Good times.

    1. I know, I haven’t even touched the subject of working from home. I do say I’m working sometimes, but I don’t think they get it like they do Daddy going to work.

  2. Ha! Kids are so inquisitive and helpful at this age. Cheyenne asks why to just about everything I say to her then asks why about that answer, and so on and so on. So I have given the “that’s just what they do” line also. 🙂
    One thing Cheyenne does regularly is set the table. She loves to set the table, but if she’s not feeling it, I don’t force it because I want her to enjoy it and not feel like it’s a chore (even though when she gets a little older it will be). She loves to clear the table as well, with Grandpa’s help. She also loves to help take the trash out. She will help Grandpa take out the trash or carry a few things from the recycle bin herself so she can have the accomplishment of taking out the trash.

  3. When I was 4 or so, I was asked what my father did at work, and after thinking a bit, all I could come up with was, “He eats lunch.”

    (I was 12 before I could manage the mouthful, “He studies infra-red radiation in the upper atmosphere.”)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *