Originally Published by Sarah Cottrell on Housewife Plus
The best way to discover what a controlling psycho a parent can be is for mom or dad to agree to let the children help. Any task conceivable can go from being a simple chore that requires nearly zero effort or time to becoming a torturous job of repeating instructions, internal mantras to not lose your wits, and the most intense desire to scream every profanity you ever heard.
The next time the kids start asking if they can help you, refer to this handy guide to help you decide if you’re being brave or stupid.
QUESTION: Do you have wine on hand?
NO – You should not let your kids help.
YES – You could let your kids help. But then again, you have wine, so…
QUESTION: Did you get at least 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep last night?
NO – It is advisable that you ship the kids off to the grandparents’ house while you take a long nap, followed by another nap.
YES – I hate you.
QUESTION: Are you a megalomaniacal jerk when it comes to folding, cooking, sorting, cleaning, or any other basic household chore?
NO – You can let your kids help.
YES – Your house must be cleaner than mine.
QUESTION: Will your inner Linda Blair come out to play if your kids dump water on the floor, catapult sticky food onto walls, “accidentally” draw on the walls “only a little bit” with indelible ink, or break anything?
NO – Please call me, I have many questions.
YES – Here. Eat some chocolate. I am betting that just the realization that those are all plausible examples of what will happen was enough to raise your blood pressure.
QUESTION: Let’s do some math: a task that normally takes you 5 minutes must be multiplied by 7 when you include children as a variable, which means that you will need an excess of 35 minutes to complete your job. Do you really want to spend 35 minutes trying to explain how to sweep a floor?
NO – Say it with me, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
YES – You must be drunk.
QUESTION: Do you feel apprehensive about eating food that has been created by the wild imagination of a preschooler?
NO – Spaghetti with chocolate chips and cheese puffs sounds delicious.
YES – Spaghetti with chocolate chips and cheese puffs sounds revolting.
QUESTION: Do you have the ability to forget things easily?
NO – If you’re still fuming about the giant wad of paper that junior tried to flush down the toilet last week and that resulted in an $80 bill from the plumber then you shouldn’t let your kid help.
YES – You may let your kids help. Should you start to remember anything, just block it out.
QUESTION – Are you considering saying ‘yes’ because you have a hard time saying ‘no’?
NO – Well….we ruled that out. See the next question.
YES – You, ma’am, need some practice saying ‘no’ and HERE is your golden opportunity! Trust me. Please. The Internet never lies.
QUESTION: Did you know that there is probably a marathon of Curious George on some channel right now this freeing you up to get shit done your way aka the right way?
NO – Don’t ask me what channel, just ask the Google. Or the Netflix.
YES – Then what the hell are you waiting for? Are you aware of the crazy shit that kids do when they try to help?!
QUESTION: Do your kids listen to you? (No lying…)
NO – Then prepare to repeat yourself 5,000 times while your children destroy your house with a fork and a fistful of chocolate chips should you be brave enough to let them help you.
YES – Seriously, call me. So. Many. Questions.
Should you decide that you have the pluck and tenacity to agree to the wild undertaking of letting your kids help then I offer you these parting words of advice from the marvelous Erma Bombeck:
“My theory on housework is, if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch on fire or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one cares. Why should you?”
— Erma Bombeck
About Sarah Cottrell
Sarah lives in Maine with her boat-builder husband and two loud boys. In 2012 she earned her MFA and since then she has been featured on several popular parenting sites including BlogHer, In The Powder Room, Mamalode Magazine website, and is a regular contributor to Scary Mommy. Her work will appear in two new parenting anthologies in 2015. You can follow the fun @housewife_plus or on Facebook.