Why I’m Grateful my Parents Made me do Chores

(I never thought I would write this.) A few years ago while I was helping my sister-in-law prepare a Thanksgiving feast for a crowd of family and friends, we stood at the kitchen sink peeling potatoes. She pointed out that I was able to peel about five potatoes in the time that she was able to peel one. Because of my chore filled upbringing, I’m also really fast at snapping beans, shelling peas, and shucking corn, and here’s why: I didn’t like snapping beans, shelling peas or shucking corn. I also didn’t like mopping floors, scrubbing toilets, or washing windows. But I did all of that and more. And because the sooner I finished the sooner I could play, I learned to do them fast, efficiently and well, because shoddy work just prolonged the ordeal.

Because my garden in Orange County is about the size of postage stamp, today I rarely snap beans, shell peas or shuck corn, but when I do, I’m still pretty fast.

I accredit what I learned while doing chores to a few things:

Muscle memory. Muscle memory is good for more than just drudgery, it’s also useful for playing an instrument, shooting free throws and hitting home runs. When I taught piano lessons, I explained to my students that the reason we practice over and over is so that our fingers can learn what to do without any interference from our pesky, thinks-it-knows-it-all brain.

Efficiency. “By the yard it’s hard, but by the inch it’s a cinch.” Efficiency helps you take a large hairy, ugly task and break it down into bite size pieces. Just like a marathon is one step at a time, a novel is one word upon another, and a wall is built brick by brick. Doing chores taught me how to line up the ducks and shoot them down one at a time.

Doggedness. This is the ability to keep on going when you really, really, really want to quit. When you’re tired, when you’re not feeling up to snuff, and when everyone tells you that you’re wasting your time. And sometimes doggedness is silly, but all in all, it’s a useful to trait to be able to pull out of your hat when the time is write, I mean right.

You might wonder why I’m grateful for the chores my parents made me do umpteen years ago when today I can hire people to do the drudgery for me. Here’s just a few examples from recent experiences.

Last Saturday I hosted a party at my house. 70 people came. Saturday morning my house looked like this living roombecause the painters who were supposed to be done painting my house on Friday were not. Also, the house guests that were supposed to arrive on Saturday night changed their plans and arrived on Friday afternoon. (They had to sleep in sleeping bags on the floor.) At one point, I knew that there was a possibility that all my planned entertaining might have to shift from my living room to the back yard, but there was also a part of me that knew I could pull my house together. And I did. Although after the guests arrived I noticed that I had forgotten to dust the piano. No one mentioned it, and I don’t know, or care, if anyone noticed.

A month ago I enrolled my book Witch Ways in the kindle scout program. You can read about that here: The Kindle Scout Program

I pretty much hate promoting my books and I knew that to be successful in the program, promoting would need to happen. This is what I did:

I sent out a newsletter telling people that if they nominated my book they could potentially get it for free.

I posted the same thing on about 40 Facebook “promote your book here” pages.

I made up business cards and handed them out to people.

For about two weeks my book rode the hot and trending list. When it fell off, I:

Contacted the 300 plus people who had signed up for my book in a recent online contest.

Sent an email to friends and family.

Posted a link and a plea on Facebook.

Contacted more than 100 Goodreads people.

My book returned to the Kindle Scout hot and trending list and it stayed there for the duration. (My campaign is over now. I should hear yea or nay from Amazon in a few days.)

I don’t think riding the hot and trending list will secure me an Amazon contract, but it can’t hurt. Besides, now that it’s over, I can honestly say I did my part. I played hard.

I have often thought that growing up doesn’t necessarily happen when you graduate, marry or turn a certain age. Being a grown up means that you’re able to do the things you don’t want to do because they must be done. Being a grown up means putting your hand down a stuck garbage disposal when it’s full of debris, cleaning up a loved-one’s vomit, unclogging a poopy toilet, and getting rid of the dead bird in your back yard. It’s being able to put on your big girl panties and get a nasty job done even when you really, really don’t want to.

Thanks for the chores, Mom.

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About Kristy Tate

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7 Responses to Why I’m Grateful my Parents Made me do Chores

  1. susanrhughes says:

    I have my fingers crossed for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. E. Ayers says:

    I never learned how to do any of those things until I got married. My grandmother taught me how to iron hankies and to make my bed. She probably allowed me to dust because I had some vague idea how to do that. Anything I learned about the kitchen was strictly by osmosis from watching my mom. My husband taught me to vacuum. I tried to wash a floor without asking anyone first. (I’d never even seen anyone wash a floor.) Oh, what a mess I made. I did learn how to do all that stuff, but I still don’t like doing it. Cooking is the only thing I don’t mind doing. But I do like everything shiny and clean – so I do it.

    I would have preferred death to facing your mess and 70 people!

    Best of luck with your book. I’ve got my fingers crossed for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. leighmorgan1 says:

    What an excellent post, Kristy! My Sensei is always very zen about chores in that everyone does them at the dojo and everyone is supposed to channel pride at a job well done into the drudgery and also see it as a vital part of training. You not only are very zen about what needs to be done, but you seem to excel at it. Kudos to your parents—Yet it’s you who is making the magic happen. No matter when you hit the mark you’ve set, there’s little doubt you’ll hit it. That’s all you. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Carol says:

    Kristy, I certainly identify with you. My mom made sure I learned how to do the necessary things, whether I liked it or not. Other things I learned on my own. Congratulations on winning Kindle Scout. So proud for you! You pushed and it paid off!

    Like

  5. Nicci says:

    I voted for your book!

    Like

  6. Joan Reeves says:

    I’m catching up on my blog reading. Great post, Kristy. I learned those same lessons growing up. They have certainly helped me in life too.

    Like

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