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Work Ethic Starts With Mom

Stay-at-home-moms (SAHMs) teach their kids a work ethic from a tender age. The moms don’t have to be engaged in paid work on a daily basis – in fact, staying at home with the kids is more conducive to this goal.

Cooking meals, cleaning the bathrooms, washing and folding laundry, making beds, sweeping the front porch, and raking leaves are chores that kids of all ages can help with. Children as young as toddlers can observe those around them working consistently at household tasks and start to develop a work ethic, even before they can competently walk and talk.

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When both Mom and Dad work outside the home, their kids don’t get to witness an adult modeling a work ethic on a daily basis. But when one parent – usually Mom –  stays home and works around the house, the kids get a front-row seat to see the effort and payoff brought by hard work.

If young kids only see both parents leave the house each morning and return each evening while the laundry piles up because the adults are too tired to throw a load into the washing machine and fold the contents of the dryer, they learn that housework isn’t important.

If they watch a professional housekeeper clean the house once a week and make their beds with hotel precision, they learn that they don’t have to responsible for their actions.

But if kids watch their mom cook a meal, wipe down the counters, and wash dishes, they learn that people must clean up after themselves. They can watch their mom plant flowers, then water and weed the flower beds and learn that they must plan, shovel, and sweat if they want to see a vision of beauty come to life.

As the kids grow older, they are usually eager to grab a dishrag or a garden trowel and do what Mom does.

Because kids naturally follow their mother around like a mama duck with her ducklings. I often call my kids by that word both as a term of endearment and a reminder to myself that their desire to be close to me all throughout the day is natural and beneficial to their development. Sometimes their constant closeness feels stifling, but I try to see the results of their mimicry and feel encouraged when they put their dirty plate in the sink or fill up the dog’s water dish without being asked.

Even though I don’t collect a paycheck for my daily work around the house and our property, it’s rewarding to know I am instilling a work ethic in our kids that will last the rest of their lives. Raising kids is a season of investment, a time period where parents set aside some of their personal ambitions in order to walk slower so little legs can keep up while pushing a wheelbarrow full of firewood toward the house.

The payoff will come years down the road when our kids can maintain their own households, hold a steady job, and volunteer with local community organizations because they learned to work alongside their mother during their growing up years.

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About Ann Henry

Ann Henry lives in rural America with her husband and three small kids. She manages their household and is the children's primary caretaker. She freelance writes for various publications as a part-time vocation.

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