Getting Your Kids To Do Chores: A Radical and Refreshing Approach

Hi Friend,

Welcome to Season 2, Episode 1  of the Moms of Tweens and Teens podcast!

If you struggle to get your tweens and teens to do chores and help out around the house, you want to listen to this podcast!

My special guest is Lori Sugarman. She is a Certified Fair Play Facilitator, Family Coach, and the author of the recently released book Our Home: The Love, Work, and Heart of Family

During our conversation, Lori shared a total mindset shift about how we approach chores in our homes—it blew my mind.

She gives us the language of what to say to promote getting your kids to help out, share the responsibilities of running a home, and see how working together is an opportunity to connect, partner, and empower each other. 

And I can’t wait for you to hear her share about us asking for help and why this can be a setup when it comes to fostering collaboration and mutual support in our homes. 

Let’s dive in!

What You Will Learn: 

  • Reframing household chores as a family opportunity for connection and empowerment.
  • The importance of acknowledging each family member’s need for equal rest, joy, and time for connection.
  • Involving children in household decision-making and chore distribution.
  • Empowering family members to take ownership of household tasks.
  • Setting standards for teenagers’ bedrooms and balancing family needs with individual rest and joy.

Where to find Lori and Mentioned in this episode:

Website: https://ourhomeourpride.com/
Lori’s Book: 
Our Home: The Love, Work, and Heart of Family
Lori’s Handout that I referenced: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cvr4puOABTA/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igsh=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

Please support the show HERE!**

Sign up for our Moms of Tweens and Teens newsletter HERE

And here is the episode typed out!

Welcome to the Moms of Tweens and Teens Podcast. If some days you doubt yourself and don’t know what you’re doing. If you’ve ugly cried alone in your bedroom because you felt like you were failing. Well, I just want to let you know you are not alone, and you have come to the right place.

Raising tweens and teens in today’s world is not easy. And I’m on a mission to equip you to love well and to raise emotionally healthy, happy tweens and teens that thrive.

I believe that moms are heroes, and we have the power to transform our families and impact future generations. If you are looking for answers, encouragement, and becoming more of the mom and the woman that you want to be, welcome. I am Sheryl Gould. And I am so glad that you’re here.

SHERYL:  Welcome, Lori, to the podcast. Thank you so much for being here.

LORI: I’m thrilled. Thank you.

SHERYL:  I am so excited to interview you. I’ve never had someone on the podcast talk about chores and reframe how we view chores and family roles. I find so many moms with tweens and teens struggle with this. I also want you to share a little bit about your book. That is it today that you’re releasing it.

LORI: It was yesterday; it was yesterday. Thank you so much. I’ll give a little to anyone watching. Here’s the cover. 

SHERYL:  “Our Home: The Love, Work, and Heart of Family” is so awesome. Well, congratulations; that is just a huge accomplishment. So, before we launch, I want you to start by sharing a little bit of your story. You have quite a backstory about your experience and what led you to what you’re doing today, working with families and writing this book.

LORI: Yeah, thank you so much. So, it was a personal instance of experiencing the societal devaluing of unpaid work, or domestic labor, as there are many different things to call it: invisible work or the work of care.  

To take a step back, I had a 15-year career in marketing, which I loved and thrived in. When my first son was born, I lived in Canada. We had a lovely year-long maternity leave, which I sank into, thrived in, and enjoyed, but when the time came to go back to work, I was excited to try to figure out that balance and whatnot. 

I approached the company I was with at the time, which was coming up 14 years ago; they were not offering the flexibility that would have worked for me. And so I thought, Okay, let’s go all in on this economy of care, focus out of the economy of commerce for a bit, and pivot my passions and my contributions, and all of that, that I was so passionate about to focus on my family and my community. 

And I loved that. After my second child, we had the opportunity to travel internationally. We moved to London, England, from Toronto, and I just went all in on volunteering for schools and being on boards of charities. I also went in on all these things that I thought were contributing and knew I was growing from and making an impact.  

My family also felt a halo benefit from it, so we moved to Chicago for the second time. Every time we move, we need to renew our foundational documents, wills, insurance, and whatnot. When we got to Chicago, it was just our little family unit, the four of us; we didn’t know anybody, we didn’t have any family here, and we had no safety net. 

And my husband asked me, “If anything would happen to you, I would have to take a leave from work and head up the family.” That’s how much he valued the role. And so he said, let’s get you disability insurance like in the worst case. 

So I went through all the rigmarole of applications for disability insurance, only to be told by this insurance agent in middle America that because I was just a housewife, I didn’t fall on his algorithm that my 1000s of hours of care for my family and my community because they did not generate a salary. 

If anything were to happen to me, there was no tangible loss. And I looked at this man incredulously. What he said to me that day set me on fire, and what it sparked in me was this need to understand on a broader level, how it can be that all of this work that that women are doing, we know globally that women carry 75% of a load of unpaid care, whether you are entirely focused on it in the home, or working outside the home, women are still carrying the load, how he could hear me tell him all the things that I am doing and tell me that there was no value to that?

And beyond this gentleman,  looking at society and economic indicators like GDP, this work of care isn’t counted. So I began to write about it, study, and network with other people, primarily women, working to bring visibility to this societal ill. 

I also examined these other women’s incredible work to impact social, corporate, and government policies. And I looked at my platform at the time, and I thought, Gosh, I’d love to get involved. I’m so fired up. But as a stay-at-home mom, I just didn’t have the platform at that point. 

I didn’t have a small business or anything; I just sort of flew out of the nest, and I thought, what can I do? Where does my credibility lie? I realized I could talk to children. 

With my 12 years at the time experience, looking after my kids, being involved in their schools, being involved in children’s charities, this is where I felt I could have an impact; I may not be able to touch the current generation of partners, employers, but I can touch the next. And so this book was born our home. 

SHERYL:  I love that story. I’m just like, wow. When I read first about how passionate you are, it lit this passion. You use the word unpaid work, and I have never heard that before. Is that the word I just missed?

LORI: As we begin to raise consciousness and awareness, we have been hearing labels and definitions, and so many of them are correct to describe this. It’s unpaid work, the work of care, unpaid labor, invisible labor, the mental load, the second shift, I mean, depending on sort of what specifically you’re referring to, there are so many ways in, which just goes to show you right, the load that we’re carrying.

And then, you talk about the mental loadso much of this work that we do as women are invisible, not only because the execution work is sort of done silently and magically, and behind the scenes and when kids are at school, or when they’re sleeping or whatever. 

But it’s also invisible because so much is cognitive and emotional. And we just carry on with this, all the noticing, all the remembering, all the reminding, everything. 

This ticker tape runs incessantly through our minds because we have taken on and because society has expected us to be the key and core supporters of our family’s well-being. And so we carry that with us at all times. 

And it’s become a wellness issue for women; you see, 80% of autoimmune diseases are diagnosed in women, and women are twice as likely to report stress, anxiety, and depression. And this is in large part why?

SHERYL:  Yeah, I mean, I just think how undervalued he is —and I mean, you just saw it right there. When you meet with him, what is his role? Again, he was an insurance guy, right?

LORI: An insurance agent, yep, trying to tell me all kinds of stuff.

SHERYL:  And it’s crazy because now we can feel undervalued as well. Whether you’re working out outside of the home, whatever that is, whatever our listeners are doing, how undervalued we can feel, or how guilty we can feel that we’re always falling short and not doing enough. 

And when it comes to your book and chores. And then you were talking about wellness; there’s such a mind shift when I was reading the book, and when I was listening to you, that was so refreshing and life-giving.

I told my husband that I was so excited to interview this woman, Lori Sugarman, today because I had never heard anybody talk about it this way. And so yeah, talk to us about why you don’t like the word chores.

LORI: So I think it’s a tricky word. Because if you look at the definition, right, it’s it’s a downer. This is work that isn’t going anywhere. So our opportunity here is to change how we look at it, think about it, and talk about it with our kids, especially teens and tweens, trying to engage them. 

We have to reframe how we look at this. The definition of the word chore is work that is tedious and difficult, repetitive, and annoying, right? And what if I was 13? I wouldn’t want anything to do with that, either. 

And so the opportunity is to say, guys, this is the work of our family wellness. This is the work of gratitude for all that we have. This is the work of all of us. It’s not women’s work, it’s not mom’s work. 

Also, this is the work of connection and an opportunity for us to partner, pair, and empower each other. And I just think we’ll likely not find a new word for it. But if we can change the energy with which we refer to this, and instead of looking at that mound of laundry, which, don’t get me wrong, I saw this great post on your Instagram about laundry being sort of like the never-ending cycle, right? There’s always laundry to wash. 

Yes, because we have lived, played, and had ice cream, and it dripped on our shirts because there was soccer practice. And there are grass stains. I mean, yes, there’s lots of laundry. But it’s because we are thriving. Thankfully, we have a washing machine in our house if we’re lucky and access to get the stains off. And so it’s all how you look at it.

Laundry is also an opportunity for empowerment and teaching. I have an 11-year-old who is the Chief laundry folder in my house, and he has never learned to dread it. His first fascination was with the little lint catch because he’s been my partner and shadow in the laundry room for as long as I can remember. 

And the dryer, he was like, what is that? He went on YouTube and found that you can make paper with dryer lint, so he never learned to see it as something to be dreaded. It’s just like a part of how we roll, a part of how we flow as a family, and a part that needs to get done to keep us healthy and safe, nourished and nurtured. 

And to protect our investments like this home, like our car,  which is so well used. And so, again, our language is so core to making this shift for any child of any age, being willing to come into this work and understand that it is for all of us. 

SHERYL:  Love thinking of it like gratitude for what we have, for the things we have a caring connection. And you’ve told that story about your son. And rather than just saying, I’ve got to go fold laundry,  don’t bother me kind of, I’m gonna go fold laundry, you talked about how he hung out with you. 

So, I see things as an opportunity for a positive connection. And doing chores to gather. And, I think about the moms that I work with, and with the tweens and teens, there’s so much pushback, and it’s like, ah,  they don’t want to do it, you try and, ask them to do it. And it’s easier. 

So many moms will tell me,  and I relate to this, oh, it’s so much easier to do myself. Because you even say asking for we ask for help. So how can we? How can we use different language? You’re good at reframing things to our kids that will help them want to join us and come on board.

LORI: So you just said so many important things. I was writing them down, hoping to touch on them all. But the first core concept is that we have this opportunity now. We’re shifting away from this “because I told you so.” It’s the concept of parenting, right? 

The opportunity is to shift into this because we agreed to approach family flow. What I recommend, and when I’m also a family coach, I help families get unstuck in this way by offering them systems and language to say I’m like the WD 40 for families sometimes when they’re just feeling really like I gotta get out of this like this groove that we’re in.

I want to flow better, and I think it’s a great place to start with a little sit down with your family just to say, guys, we maybe haven’t talked about this before, but what are we? What are our core values as a family? 

We live in it. In this little unit, we share space, move through life together, make agreements and negotiations daily, and support one another. 

But it’s going so fast. Like, we’re just trying to keep up with it, right? To stop and say, wait a sec, what are we trying to achieve? As individuals as a unit, what’s important to us and what’s not important to us that we can release and free up some space, focus on really what is, and then agree as a family on your core values. And the opportunity to invite kids of all ages into this conversation can be really powerful because, very often, kids like receiving directions, but they’re not invited to express themselves. 

So I know you talk about this all the time. And it gives the kids an opportunity to feel trusted. And when you open the door for them to be heard and express what they need to thrive, where they need support, where they’re struggling, what they feel they have to offer others, then what happens is you have this Northstar as a family that you can always come back to, because of course, you’re gonna like get stuck again, or fall off the tracks or whatever. 

But then, wait a second, and when we sit down, feel free to sit down as many times as you need, right? You can reject things as things change. But when we sat down and agreed that this is where we want to be as a family, it can always return to that. And from there, you begin to understand what it takes daily to achieve those goals. 

Then, you can begin to carve out how everyone can participate. And so when children have a stake in setting the objectives for your family, they also have a stake in what will bring you to that success.

SHERYL:  I love that. I also teach much about the importance of involving our tweens and teens in the conversation. Because they want to be more independent, they are pulling away. And if we’re going from that, I love how you say I told you so. 

We were nagging them to do it to get it done,  and then we ended up yelling and losing because they were not doing what they were supposed to be doing. It is so different when you shift to having a conversation and including them in that process of what our values are. I even recommend that caregivers ask, like, what is it that you would like to do that you would enjoy doing to have that revelation? 

LORI: Absolutely. Because at the end of the day, you want kids to feel like they’re succeeding in whatever they’re contributing to the home. What helps is matching them to a skill they feel good about. 

I have one child who has great organizational skills, so I invited him to come unload the groceries and stock the pantry. It’s something that feels easy to him; he’s able to complete it. And he not only feels good about it, but he’s also building that muscle to continue to improve along those lines. 

I have my older son; he loves listening to music. So, he chooses the tasks around the house where he can have his headphones on. And, like valuing where he’s moving, that feels like something that’s not annoying or a struggle to complete. 

So it’s really important to understand that your kids should match these tasks to feel like they’re contributing meaningfully and feel that pride within themselves. Then the other thing that I find helpful in connecting kids to a task is that they understand the why behind it. 

So it’s not about presenting our kids with a chore chart or a to-do list that’s ominously existing in space. But we need to frame it with the context of why all these tasks are important to our health and safety or protect our investments. 

And for teens and tweens, it’s as simple as saying to my son, a shift from saying, Oh, you have to change your sheets today. To which he will groan. Right? But if I say it this way, “Hey, babe. I was reading that having a clean pillowcase is important for having clear skin. I was thinking maybe we could change your sheets once a week. What do you think I can help you? I can show you how to wash them. I can show you how to fold a fitted sheet.” 

This is a life skill that, for some reason, no one has developed a better-fitted sheet yet. I don’t know why. Maybe this is my next project. But just teaching them these life skills and doing it together and providing them with that context of clear skin –

My older son, too, has a collection of concert T-shirts that are important to him. He went to the Travis Scott concert with this cool t-shirt and spilled spaghetti sauce. I could have taken the shirt and washed it. But instead, I brought him into the laundry room with me. 

And I said, Okay, take the stain spray. Here’s why you spray it: we’ll probably leave it for 10 minutes, so let’s return to it. You can probably wash this shirt with the following things: okay, you don’t want to put it in with it. And here’s why. 

And when you pull it out of the washing machine, you have to straighten the seams and hang it on the thing. And he was like, oh, okay, if I had shown him this about my clothes or something, I don’t know, it probably would have gone right over his head; he would have been thinking about something else. 

But because it was important to him. He said I want to understand how to care for this. And now he knows that part of this parenting is that we often want to protect our tweens and teens from distractions. They’re focused on academics, and they’re focused on extracurriculars, and because they’re close to those college applications, they need to be focused on their excellence and achievement. 

But we sometimes forget that we’re also preparing them for college living, being independent, and knowing how to keep a healthy space for themselves and nourish themselves daily. And so preparing them to be independent. And, of course, eventually, solid partners are such a big part of the opportunity with the tasks of the home. 

SHERYL:  Oh, my goodness, you said so many things. One thing that stood out to me is that you’re looking for opportunities to connect. So rather than, like, I’ve got to teach this, even that feels heavy. I’ve got to teach them, and I’m not teaching them, so I’m failing.   

You had him come in and show him how to do it, so that’s an opportunity for you to connect with him, and it was about something he cared about. 

I mean, tweens and teens say they care about their skin, and their skin is starting to break out. And by isolating that to them, it’s like I care about you. And if you do this, this impacts your skin. If you’re sleeping on a dirty pillowcase, I mean, chances are, that’s going to speak to them a lot more loudly than you need to change your sheets.

LORI: Exactly. It’s important that they feel like a personal benefit and that they understand it.  Another example that I sometimes use is with the family car, right? Especially as kids begin to come of age to take it on their own, kids need to understand how cars are valued and how the maintenance of a car impacts its long-term trading or resale value because any extra money that the family will generate from that goes back to benefit them. 

So, if I’m talking to little kids, I might explain to them that, like not leaving all of our snacks on the floor or banana peels between the seats, if we can keep a clean, healthy car in five years when we go to trade it in or sell it, our family will have even if you say $50 More $100. 

They feel that’s something that they could work towards. And then what does that $100 mean for the family of tweens and teens? Right, they can understand it at a more sophisticated level. 

And so just to provide that context for why we do all these important things, and, again, making them visible, not doing all the work silently and magically, but doing it a little bit more loudly so that your kids know how much you’re contributing. Yeah, it sort of flames their curiosity.

SHERYL:  Yes. Well, that’s one of the things I was saying to my husband:

  • Just pride in what we have.
  • Being good stewards of what we have.
  • Sharing care for each other.

Because that man is such a big thing, it’s huge for moms doing 75%. Like, I didn’t know what the statistic was on that 75%, And so we’re walking around resentful. And you even have a different reframe for help. That was so interesting. 

Like, will you come to help me, which I’m always saying to moms, and I’m gonna have to change this, like, we don’t even let our needs be known. We often don’t ask for help because we’re walking around, tossing around the pots and pans in the kitchen because we’re angry. We’re doing it all exhausted.

And so I’m saying, we need to say, Hey, guys, I need some help. But you have a reframe for that. And well, yeah, explain that. Because I thought that was a real aha moment. 

LORI: Oh, that sounds great. So this is another opportunity for a shift, right? If you think about the word help, it sounds lovely to say, Oh, I have a husband who helps me, or my kids are so helpful around the house. But that implies that the work is yours and that folks are waiting in the wings for you to call them in. 

That means that the load still sits on your shoulders, that you are somehow, and we believe in society that women are wired to do this work better and are obligated to show up to provide. This is a labor of their love. But really, the magic is in the division of labor and full ownership of tasks being divided among family members. 

So it’s not about mom owning and carrying and other people helping, but about empowering other family members with a complete understanding of what needs to be done so that they can fully own the task and the delivery of the task. 

Without you needing to say anything, I need help reminding me to nag the repetition of the asking, which is also not fair to moms who are typically doing it. So this is not like a light switch for your family. This is something that you grow into with a lot of conversation and the establishment of some really good systems. 

But what you can get to, and it’s very efficient, and it allows you to release so much of that stress and resentment, are systems where your teenager might own cooking for the family every Wednesday. And they fully understand what that means. 

They decide what’s on the menu, knowing everybody’s preferences, allergies, aversions, who has practice and needs to eat late, whatever it is. They understand how to procure the ingredients, or they know that they need to add what they need to your grocery list by a certain time. 

Then, they create a meal they feel confident about delivering to the family. And so this is something you can grow into. As I mentioned before, my 11-year-old knows his laundry responsibilities. He doesn’t ask me; he just knows to go when the towels, socks, and underwear are on top of the dryer. That means they’re ready for him. 

He grabs them; it takes them without needing to be reminded, without nagging. He also watches Premier League Soccer highlights while he folds the laundry. So, there’s this great opportunity to pair it with something you enjoy and like, making the time go faster. And then, he doesn’t even think about it because he’s engaged in something fun for him, such as multitasking. 

So I think we can shift away from it. Can you help me create a model where the family members are empowered to own? Of course, it should be safe and age-appropriate for them. And, of course, it’s with the support of parents while you’re transitioning into that full ownership. However, this is a great opportunity for partners to take out the trash; recycling is a great way for one family member to own it completely. 

That would involve taking all the little mini garbage from all the bathrooms, understanding how frequently garbage is taken out in your community, understanding where the supply of replacement trash bags is, and where to write it down if more are needed, et cetera. It empowers that person to feel trusted to do the role. 

And then Mom, as we’ve been talking about, can fully release it, and I should say, Yes, this is a very gendered conversation we’re having because most of the research that shines a light on these conflicts comes from male-female partnerships. 

We don’t see as much of a struggle, obviously, in same-sex relationships with the gendering of this work and these roles. And so it’s an opportunity to implement systems and empower with full ownership.

SHERYL:  This is just blowing my mind. Because it’s like, we train our families, right? And I’ve trained my family; it’s almost like training them; this is my job, and they’re doing me such a favor. And they’re helping me. And it’s like, I have to be so appreciative. And,  oh, thank you so much. 

I mean, no, it’s kind of that mindset. Yes, for sure, your generation is shifting our system and thinking more about how to empower, how to own, and how to get them to own completely that this is their job.

I love that getting family members to own and then releasing it is our responsibility. And where do we start? Because I know that our listeners are like, Oh, my gosh, I’m failing, it’s too late. How do they even begin to start?

LORI: So before I get to that, there’s one more thing I want to say, which may be encouraging to start this conversation. Several studies show that children getting involved in chores is beneficial to their executive functioning and, later on, to their academic and professional achievements

And so if you needed any more reason to get your kids involved in this, there’s a 75-year-long Harvard study that shows the impact of getting involved in the tasks of home and care and how that has impacted children later on in life and their personal and professional success. 

But I think the first place to start again is making this work of home and family more visible. So much of it is hidden. And also, if you have a lovely person who comes into your home to help with some of this work sometimes, right? Your kids don’t fully see or connect to it. And so, it is an opportunity to really explain to them all that goes on to make housework and flow and vibe, and then attach that value to it, right the reasoning and the way the benefit is impacted. 

And then again, as we talked about, like the energy making it into a connection between you forming it into a representation of trust and empowerment, explaining to them how it will benefit them later on in life,  connecting, teaching your teenager cooking skills to a time when they’re going to invite a romantic partner over and want to make a meal and like how impactful that might be sort of like extrapolating looking to the future of when they’re going to be doing this on their own and how important and meaningful that’s going to be to their life. 

And then again, you go back to what you think,  given how you’re wired and thrive. What do you think you want to do? Or around the house? Like what looks interesting to you? What do you connect with? Like, here are all the things that we do?  What’s your piece of the puzzle that you think you can fit? 

So, let them know everything you think would be appropriate for them to jump in to explain how you will facilitate their learning. And then, like, report back: How’s it been going? Do you feel comfortable with this task? Do you need a change? Are you bored of it? Should we do a switcheroo? You don’t want it to feel overwhelming. Why don’t you give it to them in small bites and have small wins? 

SHERYL:  I love that and have them set them up for success with it. And then coming back and tweaking it sounds like, if you need to, I think we kind of feel like it’s not working. Versus this is going to be a process.

LORI: And also, I know you talk a lot about language, right? So, I love the word support with my kids. It’s a cousin of help, but it’s not quite the same. So if I say to my son, let me know when you’re done with X, whatever task he has at hand. So instead of saying, do this now, I will say, let me know when you’re done. Just so, until you’ve completed it, I still kind of feel the weight of it. 

So when you return it to me and let me know it’s done, I can fully release it, which is great. And let me know if you need any support. Let me know if you can’t remember how to do it fully. Let me know if you can’t remember where the supplies are, and I’m happy to provide guidance and support. 

Suppose you’re good, amazing. Do it your way up; let me know when you’re done. And if they don’t get it done by the agreed-upon time, come back and say, Hey, what prevented that? What was going on with that? Because we had an agreement? What was going on that prevented that?

When do you think you can deliver on what we agreed to? And can you please let me know? And so it’s just you’re still making clear that there are expectations. But you’re also clarifying that there’s an empathy connection to where they are because teens and tweens have so much going on. 

And, look, there are certain things if the bed isn’t made, you have to decide for your own family. Like, who cares? It’s less about that and more about the communication, the agreement, and being comfortable and safe enough to express a struggle when it arises.

SHERYL:  I like that, too. Because there are so many tweens and teens, see who is doing this; it’s a new habit. It’s certain to develop new habits and build muscle. Yeah, there’s a lot going on. 

They’re not always really strong with executive functioning; their brains aren’t fully developed, and they are overwhelmed, and coming to them and asking those open-ended questions is somewhat and listening and then saying, How can I support you and this is so much more supportive than just the nagging, and the reminding, or the getting frustrated, knowing that this is going to be a process for them.

The messy bedroom was another big thing that came up for me while you were talking. We have one meme where it’s like a pig lying up by a poster. And it’s something like, how are you relating to your teen’s bedroom? And that’s a big struggle. 

Some moms are like, should I just close the door? But you have some good questions about setting values, like, how do we want our home to feel? Yeah, how do we feel good in our space? So, I will talk a bit about that because it was also a real mind shift for me.

LORI: Oh, great. I mean, what we have to recognize is even within our family unit, we are each wired so differently to thrive. And whereas I might be in my type of mess,  I might prefer a really clean and tidy space. My 13, soon-to-be 14-year-old, thrives in a different kind of space. 

He loves to be surrounded by his stuff. He loves the memories. He wants every surface to have something special, a trophy, a Lego he built, a picture frame, something; stuff is everywhere in his room. And so for me to go into his space and say, No, not this needs to be put away.

Although this is messy, this is whatever, he doesn’t see it as messy for him. It’s nostalgia, warmth, and a connection to all of these memories. So, our standards for his space are based on how he thrives. So, I help him to be his best self and his best space. 

So our standards for him are, Okay, we can’t have food under the bed. He understands why we talk about bugs or stains or whatever, and he gets that. But he will say no. I want this stuff around me. I want the basketball jerseys hanging from the corners of the whatever. 

I feel good in this, and I’m like, okay, great. I understand that. And so, what are the tasks involved in keeping this your best space and protecting my home’s investment so that we don’t have stains or bugs or whatever can compromise it? He understands that we have agreed.

When you’re talking about a shared space, you have to go a little bit deeper to sort of compromise. In a kitchen or a living room, the person who loves things neat. Then, the person who loves things, like maybe cozy and a little bit more lived-in, must agree on a minimum standard. 

And that’s important for so many tasks in the family that you agree to, like, at a minimum, at the very least, when we go to bed at night, the TVs are off, the blankets are folded, there are no dishes in the living room or whatever you’ve agreed to, and if it’s not being done, you can come back and say, Guys, we agreed it was going to be x. 

We were all at the table when we made that agreement. Can you please go in – I just need to understand what every family member needs to thrive and where they struggle in need. Support is important. And B, it’s being honest about it. 

SHERYL:  I like it because it’s sitting down, it’s talking about it as a family, it’s coming up with those agreements and those values of what matters, because maybe you’re a family that,  keeping everything perfect, it just that you kind of let that go, it’s not as important, we have to function. Some things need to get done, such as not having time to care for ourselves and not feeling well.

LORI: That’s a huge point. And I’m sorry to interrupt. But that’s such an important point; I don’t want to forget to say that so much of this conversation that we’ve talked about is about the tasks and the labor. 

But what has to come first for your family is an acknowledgment that every family member has the need and the right to equal rest, joy, time for connection with friends, and time for creativity; that balance also has to be there. 

From there, you have the division of labor that allows for that. We talked a couple of minutes ago about women’s wellness, the weight of all this, and the resentment. So much of that comes from women having five fewer hours of leisure time per week than men. 

We don’t have those outlets, and we don’t have the time for creativity, wellness, or rest. And that’s a huge part of what’s missing, so we must shift this paradigm.

SHERYL:  Wow. What a great reframe! We all deserve more so we can share in contributing to the family and have that space to do what we need to do to take care of ourselves. 

So I think you use them in different places the word beautiful, and it is just a beautiful mind shift. So before we go, I have to ask one more question that always comes up. Should we pay our kids to do chores? That’s a biggie.

LORI: It’s a biggie. I think allowance is a productive concept for financial literacy. It’s really important for kids to know how to receive, save, spend, allocate money for charitable giving, etc. 

But I think if you have not first instilled an inherent value in this work in your family’s wellness, the safety of your space, and the connection of care to one another, then you’ve missed a step.

SHERYL:  Yeah. Oh, good. Yeah. That makes so much sense.

LORI: Later in life, they won’t be paid to do it.

SHERYL:  Yeah. So it’s so true. Well, they can say, I don’t care about the money. Right? And then where do you go from there? I think it’s like we feel like if we pay them, we’re just going to be able to make them, and that’s why this is so much more of a relational connecting, nurturing, nourishing, life-giving approach to how we care for one another in our family, caring for what we have, and being grateful.

LORI: These are life skills that they will need. Yeah, as parents, it’s such an opportunity for us. In addition to teaching them math and spelling, it’s so important that they learn whatever their relationship will be with food and cooking.   

How important that is to them, and keeping spaces clean like these are Life skills that they will take. And it relates to their wellness. And the earlier we can begin having these conversations about the inherent value and the connection to gratitude, the better we will be. 

And if you haven’t started this, when they’re five to eight years old, which my book addresses, hopefully, you can take inspiration from the messages and the book and find your language based on what your kids respond to spark the conversations at that stage. 

SHERYL:  Lori, this has been so helpful. We will talk about how we can bring this to our community with moms, as we need a lot of support in this area. And I just love talking to you, and this mindset shifts. It’s been so helpful to me; it’s just helped me become more aware of how I hold things in my home. So tell them where they can purchase your book and where they can reach out to you because you offer coaching. And yeah, tell them all the places.

LORI: Thank you. My book, OUR HOME: The Love, Work, and Heart of Family, is available now anywhere books are sold. My website is https://ourhomeourpride.com/. I should say that when I speak about pride, it’s not any kind of pride and perfection. It is about being safe in your own space based on your own values on your terms without concern for judgment from anyone else. My Instagram followers @ourhomeourpride, and I’m on LinkedIn @LaurieSugarmanL e.

SHERYL:  I love that. G to her Instagram page. We didn’t get to it, but you were wonderful. 

 LORI: We’re making hearts on the Zoom screen for anyone who’s listening. Oh, I love that.

SHERYL:  I love that. Does that automatically do that?

LORI: I think Zoom senses. Yeah, it now has a sensor for basic. You could do a thumbs-up. You can do hearts. Oh, we just did fieldwork. Yeah, that’s cool. What a great energy to finish on. 

SHERYL:  Well, thank you, Laurie, and check out her Instagram, too, because you had a great list. Maybe I can even give the link to it. That was just a real mind shift for me to read it and learn where to go from this mindset to this mindset regarding what we’ve discussed. So, I’ll provide the links. So thank you again so much for what you’re doing and coming to the show.

LORI: I love speaking with you. Thanks so much for having me.

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