June 16, 2018


Hey Brandon!

I used to help out a lot around the house but I’ve gotten worn out and instead of helping my mom, I talk to friends on my cell phone and play video games. Mom says since I’m the oldest girl, she expects more from me. I understand that. But now she’s taking EXTREME measures. She’s going to attach clothespins to my shirt with different chores written on them!! I can only take them off when I’m done with each chore. How embarrassing!!! I’m a teenager!!! I told my Mom how I feel but she still insists and I feel so mad at her for not understanding. 🙁

What can I do? Should I just wear the clothes pins? Should I tell her I won’t do it? My mom is getting weird!!

Chore Bore

Hey Chore Bore,

Okay, first of all, I have to hand it to your mom for creativity! Like, I know this is a problem for YOU, but she was super smart. She came up with a solution she knew would motivate you. And it did. 🙂

First, let’s talk about the chores. Then we’ll talk about the clothespins. (Because if you could make yourself do the chores, the clothespins wouldn’t be an issue.)

I TOTALLY get feeling too worn out to do chores. Sleep is SUPER important during the teenage years. We need sleep to be able to think, learn, grow and function properly. I looked it up, and the National Sleep Foundation says that teens need 8 – 10 hours of sleep each night to function well. But they also said that because of teenage biological rhythms (whatever that means) most teenagers can’t fall asleep before 11:00pm. But most middle and high schools start around 8:00am. Some start even earlier. If you consider the time you need to get ready and travel to school, eight hours of sleep is IMPOSSIBLE.

So, that’s a long explanation for why teenagers are tired. It’s science!

Here’s the thing, though: moms are also tired. I looked this up too, and the average mom works 98 HOURS A WEEK. A normal full-time job is 40 hours a week. So…being a mom is BONKERS. Moms are also not getting enough sleep, and the more kids they have, the less sleep they get. And a single mom is going to have even MORE pressure and less sleep!

Moms definitely deserve help from their tween and teen kids. I’m sure you agree with that, but how to help out even though you don’t feel like it? That’s the question. Because if you set the tone as the oldest kid, your younger siblings will be more likely to do their part too and everything will be easier for everyone.

I’m assuming your mom is only making YOU wear the clothespins around the house, right? She’s not sending you to school or out with friends while wearing the clothespins? (Because I mean…you could just take them off. Not that I’m telling you to do that, but…)

If you’re only being forced to wear the clothespins around the house…I mean, you’re only being embarrassed in front of your family, right? That’s not the worst thing. The easiest solution is to do the chores and get them off. And doing the chores probably takes a lot less energy than whining and making excuses and procrastinating about doing the chores. I’m guessing that after you’ve done your chores reliably for a couple days, you can negotiate your way out of the clothespins (as long as you keep doing the chores).

But if the clothespins are REALLY an issue for you, maybe you could suggest a trade. No clothespins, but you have to give up something else important to you until you’ve done your chores each day.

I have an aunt and uncle who change the Wi-Fi password every day and the kids don’t get it until they’ve done their homework. Or maybe you have to hand over your phone until your chores are done. (Ouch! I mean, with some of these suggestions, the clothespins might start sounding good.)

I know you want your mom to understand that this is embarrassing. But your mom wants you to understand that she needs help. You said she’s getting weird. But that’s probably because she’s been trying to get you to help for so long and she doesn’t know what else to do.

So this might not be exactly what you want to hear, but I think the answer is to step up and do what she’s asking. Put on some great music and the chores will be over before you know it. And then, when you chat on the phone with your friends or play video games, the room will be sparkly clean!

Are you tired all the time? How do you motivate yourself to help around the house? What are your chores? Tell us in the comments!