Archive for October 28th, 2008

Free Labor

I haven’t started my kids on an allowance yet, or making them do chores around the house for money.

Why? You ask?

Because they love chores for the sake of having chores.


As kids, my sister and I were worked to death (not really, but we did alot of chores)

We had to weed the garden and pick vegetables, wash windows, the car, clean baseboards, dust, do dishes and laundry. There was one task we didn’t mind and that was to water the garden (what kid doesn’t like complete control over a hose?) and pull the snails off the garden wall and throw them into the street.

We were the kids on the street who had flattened snails in a big silvery patch, right in front of our house. It was really funny and gross. But true. 

Once we understood the concept of money, we started getting paid for some of these tasks. One big money maker was polishing the silver and brass and copper in our house. Since my mom was an antique collector, there was tons of it. And since she has always kind of been obsessive compulsive about things like keeping things shiny, this job came up about once a month.

I think I bought my plane ticket to summer camp every summer, merely on what I made polishing the housewares.

My mother passed along some of my favorite copper that has been in our family for many years and I keep it hanging on the wall in my kitchen. And I inherited my grandmother’s silver flatware, which I use daily (why hide it in a cupboard for one holiday a year?) I noticed how dark it was all becoming. I think I’d polished it about a year and a half ago, so it was nigh time to do something about it. (plus, every time my mom came over, she’d tsk tsk over the disappointment in my letting it all go for so long).

So I got out the stuff.

And then suddenly the kids gravitated to the counter.

And then they took over.


And lo and behold, they love cleaning copper and silver.

They didn’t ask for money, so I am holding off on that for now. When they ask, or when they stop wanting to do it, I will pay them. Hopefully I’ll be able to afford their going rate. For now, I get free labor.


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