Excuse me

The first time my dad gave me a chore to do I can remember standing with my hands on my hips and saying “No.”  He said “what?”  And, I repeated my defiant response for him.  Many spankings later I still have difficulty with being bossed around.  However, now I’m a mom and there are many things I need to teach my kids before they are expected to take care of themselves, their homes and their families.  And, during these lessons many excuses are offered.  I’ve compiled a list of my favorites:

1.)  I’m tired.
Yes, I’m sure you’re tired.  All that x-box playing, tv watching and zero responsibility has certainly drained your energy reserves.  Most children go to bed before their parents, get up after their parents, and spend their days with multiple breaks figured in so they are not overwhelmed or overworked.

2.) It’s hot. (used in yard work situations though not limited to that scenario)
Best quote heard following this complaint is “My shoes are burning”.
An offer to be excused to play will result immediately in running, jumping, and playing out in the sun for hours on end.  Offers of water are taken with heavy footsteps and long faces because this only delays the work and dragging out the getting water may be like a mini vacation.  There is the hope that a large portion of the chore will be completed before the water is obtained and people realize the kid is still missing.
3.) I have to go to the bathroom.
It doesn’t matter if the child has recently been to the restroom an immediate need to relieve ones self materializes when a chore is suggested or given.  If given the opportunity a child will sit in the restroom until other siblings complete the task.
4.) I got distracted.
This does not require anything specific or even special.  The child (or children) can be distracted by sunshine, dust, sibling, toys, tv, video games (even just the thought of video games tends to distract one of my children).  The desire to avoid the work makes everything interesting.
5.) It’s not fair.
Ah, yes.  Life is fair unless you’re a kid.  Right, right.  The assumption that each child should have the exact same chores at the exact same time is interesting.  Most kids realize (at least after school years begin) that they are not going to have a fair life.  It’s impossible.  However, it’s still offered as a reason to not begin or complete a chore.
6.) I don’t feel good.
This excuse is generally localized to the stomach or headache.  These ailments are hard to confirm and easy to fake.  I have gotten to the point where I tell my kids that these are not things that keep us home from school, work, or anything else.  If we are vomiting or have a fever – it’s a different story.
7.) I should get paid.
At first one might feel guilt about not paying an allowance or giving a child money for each chore completed.  We managed to get over this by tallying up the cost of having said child live in our home, eat our food, and participate in family entertainment as well as activities that each child will do on their own.  As you can imagine – that cost is pretty l
8.) I don’t have time.
The response to this is similar to the “I’m tired” response.  As a kid there are school hours set aside, but other than that there is very few things vying for their time and energy.  They generally don’t plan out meals, pay bills, or much of anything but school and homework.  As they get older sports and music start taking up time, but even still there is little in the way of responsibility.
9.) I don’t want to.
If only this excuse worked.  I’d like to offer it up at work if it did.  Life isn’t about doing what we want all the time.  Sometimes, it’s about learning to do what we need to do and learning to be happy about it.
10.) I forgot
This one comes in as the children get older.   They are left to do their chores without parental supervision.  It’s amazing what they can forget and how quickly.
I’m pretty sure I’ll hear more excellent excuses as I continue to parent.  There are obvious variations on the excuses above – feel free to share any that you have heard.

4 thoughts on “Excuse me

  1. my other favorite is remarking that the other sibling is not doing whatever it is…they may be active in another chore at the time or doing homework…and then the ‘it’s just not fair, how come they aren’t doing……?’ and my answer is always…’Because I love them more!’… irritates the boy child to no end when I say that…

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