I practiced bribery when I was raising my kids. I am not ashamed to say so. It was one of the tools in our arsenal.

Our priorities were school and therapy. The house came last, I’m afraid. Periodically, I made a long list of neglected jobs that needed doing. I completed a few of the tasks, but then a homework disaster would take place or someone would get the flu or my need for sleep would get in the way. The list would just lay on the counter, accusing me.

As my kids got older, I resorted to paying my kids to work on my list.  I paid them a motivating amount of money for their work. (Some call that bribing – but I think it reinforces the association of work with wages). I didn’t pay my kids for everything – everyone has to do certain chores in the house because they live there. I paid them for jobs I did not want to do, such as sorting all of the socks in the house; organizing my cupboards (sometimes you lose things this way – other times, they know what I have in the cupboard, and tell me not to buy any more); cleaning the bathroom; scraping the snow and ice off my car (we live in Michigan, USA) – we paid per the intensity of the job – some winters he made a lot of money. The rate of pay for two inches snow was $1. An ice storm or blizzard could approach $10 or more.  Organizing my cupboards used to be worth $20 – by the time I was willing to pay for it, it was a major job.

Now I work full time as a legal assistant. And I still pay my adult children who live at home for doing jobs that save my sanity. My daughter does all the laundry and my son does all of the dishes.

I still don’t pay them for everything they do. My son organized my pantry/cupboards a few weeks ago, because he couldn’t stand the chaos. (I didn’t pay him for this). His sense of categories is not the same as mine, but I am grateful for the help. If I need something, I just ask him to tell me where it is or get it. He is a good foot taller than I am and he has put some stuff up high.

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