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Child in playroom

Expectations: Who Knew?

By the time January rolls around, I am ready for organized toys, zero celebrations and healthy meals. My house is a wreck, I’m out of energy and my pants are tight!

November and December are expensive, busy months for my family. All three of my kids have birthdays during those two months and then there’s Christmas. We move from one activity to the next, and even though they are fun, it’s still a lot of work.

And I’ve noticed that all the extra clutter of new toys, clothes and games around the house increases my stress level. At the end of each year, we could open our own toy store.

You think I’m kidding. But I’m not.

The birthday and holiday toy explosion provided the perfect opportunity to sit with Abby and go through her toys. We discarded broken parts and donated toys she had outgrown. We cleared out under her bed and found space for all her toys in her own room.

Guess what? Once we organized her toys, she actually plays with her things again. Who knew?

A few months ago, Jackson and I set up an expectations chart. Things like … put your bike away, feed and walk the dog, read 20 minutes a day and have a gracious attitude. At the end of every day, he’d have a check-in and at the end of every week, a calculation. If he did well, he got to go do an activity he’s been looking forward to. If he didn’t, well, he’d have a challenge for the next week.

Guess what? Clear expectations meant Jackson did what was required of him. (Most of the time.) Who knew?

With young children, I’ve always done it all on my own. Laundry, clean up, cooking … you name it. But as they’re getting older, I’m learning that if I ask more of them, they can do more, and they are learning independence. Who knew?

So here’s to a year of help around the house. It’s about time someone else pulls his or her weight around here besides the Roomba.

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About Jessica Woolwine

About Jessica   Woolwine Jessica Woolwine is a native of Hampton Roads and lives in Hampton with her three “miracles” Jackson (9), Abby (5) and Henry (1). As a mother to a childhood cancer survivor and a micro-preemie, she began the blog Mothering Miracles in 2014 to support other families dealing with health issues. Jessica also works as Creative Director for Rubin Communications Group and enjoys mixing her talents for graphic design and creative writing with community relations. She is a past member of both the CHKD Family Advisory Council and the CHKD NICU Family Advisory Council.