It's come to the point now when my kids, aged 12 and 14, should bogging well help me around the house.
Thing is, I'm not sure how to get the wheels turning. Most of the time, they are lazy shite-bags, who can only be arsed to do anything at all after I've had an emotional hissy-fit and taken to my bed. This might result in some sheepish loading of the dishwasher, the occasional bed-make or, if I'm lucky, some extremely half-hearted hoovering.
I know, I know - this sad state of affairs is all my fault. If only I'd trained them correctly from the off, refusing to do things for them, enabling them to be proactive. But I didn't do it. Perhaps because I thought it was my role to be skivvy. Or perhaps because I felt that I didn't have the time to show them what to do. I know; I've scored a shabby two out of ten on the parenting scale.
Anyway, the other day, I had a bright idea. They don't currently get any allowance (when I split from their father, I told them all bets were off - and pocket money was off, too) but now I'm more settled, I could afford to give them a small amount, every month. In return for (some tiny) chores.
But when I broached the subject (how about helping me around the house in return for COLD HARD CASH?), their response was muted, at best. "Well, what would we have to do?" mumbled one. "I'm not sure I've got the time", stuttered the other, lying prostrate on the sofa, xbox controller in his hand. And then, almost in sync, both of them, "We don't really need any money."
WHAT? They DON'T NEED ANY MONEY? This was something I was unfamiliar with. I could cope with their laziness (been there), their ability to wheedle out of work (been there), their lying (been there so many times I practically lived there for a while), but this? THIS? Not needing money? This was beyond me. When I was young, money (LITERALLY*) made the world go round. I washed cars, did paper rounds, babysat, stole from my brother (yes, I knew where the key was to his NatWest globe piggy bank and I raided it for 50p once. I'm sorry. But now I've confessed, I feel an awful lot better).
The truth is, they don't need any money because I pay for their Xbox subscription, I pay for the odd PC game that they want, and I pay for Netflix. I buy footballs and shoes and hockey kit. They usually get books from the library but when they want something special, I get it for them, too.
No more. The rota is drawn up (including such helpful gems as "check lawn for cat poo" and "clean toilet - and I mean properly, not just poking it with a loo brush and giving it a flush") and a monthly amount has been agreed. I must try really hard to make them do it properly, and not be soft and paying them anyway, even if they do a bad job. Tricky. But if I can make it work, it will be fabulous for me, as I'll do less around the house - and great for them, as they'll get the double whammy of learning what it means to look after your home, as well as managing their own budget.
Wish us all luck. I've got a feeling we'll need it.
*not literally of course. the sun's gravitational pull makes the world go round, as we all know.