Buddy starting the "Fun Run" at school on Friday. He did 8 laps in 20 minutes. He claimed he "wasn't even tired" at the end.
When I was a kid my mom would make us "job lists" every day during the summer and any other time we seemed bored. We were expected to complete everything on the lists -- no ifs, ands, or buts about it. The lists were always long and we had to complete the tasks to my mom's standards, which were extremely high. I always got assigned the crappy jobs, like cleaning the bathroom because I did such a good job. To this day I still hate cleaning the bathrooms. And if there was no work to be done (because our house was small and it was always clean), then she invented tasks like picking up lint and debris off the carpet or re-folding the kitchen towels. We picked berries for money when we were very young. We babysat. My brother had a paper route. And then when we were legal, we all got real jobs. We probably complained about all of this at the time, but of all the things my parents did right, this was among the top of the list, in my opinion.
Working hard was a requirement at my house, and I will be forever grateful for that high standard my parents set. I don't remember how my parents did it. I don't remember being threatened, bribed, or even rewarded. It was just expected we pull our weight in our home. As a result, all three of us kids are hard workers and we all married hard workers. In fact, now that I really stop and think about it, I'd dare say that I'm probably the laziest of the bunch. And I'd hardly classify myself as lazy.
My mom is the biggest workhorse I know. She's always, and I mean always, up to something. She accomplishes more in a day than most people in a week. Case in point: a couple weeks ago she watched my kids for about 4 hours so I could get ready for my daddy/daughter barn activity. My week had been busy getting ready for the activity, plus I had been nursing my broken foot. So my house was a disaster. When I got home all my floors were vacuumed and mopped, the house was clean, the kids' rooms were clean, the sheets on the beds were clean and back on the beds, lunch had been made and cleaned up, they had done a food craft (a cute caterpillar out of fruity pebbles) and cleaned it up, she had read to the kids, and played a game with the kids. All that (plus more, I'm sure) in 4 short hours. And the kids were happy. I was even more happy. Thanks again, mom!!!!! That's just one example. I could go on and on about all the work my mom does each day, most of which is for other people.
My dad is a hardworker too. He taught us the value of a dollar, the value of education and that money comes from hard work. He has always worked hard at his job and despite lots of uncertainty in the banking industry over his career, his job has remained intact. He is the type of employee everyone should be. He works hard at his hobbies, has trained for marathons, and works hard around the house. My parents don't hire anybody to do anything. They do it themselves.
My sister has a master's degree and had (has) a very successful career as a therapist until she moved across the country a month ago. She was very well-loved by her clients because she was so dedicated to her work. She had to pack up her entire house by herself when she was 7 months pregnant a few weeks ago and I never heard her complain about how hard that must have been. She's a worker, so I'm sure it was just another day in the life. She exercises through her pregnancies, despite being sick as a dog. And anybody that's spent more than 15 seconds with her oldest son knows how much work and stamina he requires. But interestingly enough, she's got it. I'd dare say most experienced moms with 10 kids couldn't hold up as well as she does with her one son. (If you haven't met her son, you should because he's the craziest and coolest 2-year old I've ever met. (And that's saying something considering my kids are pretty crazy and cool too.))
Her husband is the second-most hard worker I've ever met (right behind my mom). He worked three jobs during his undergrad in nursing and was a dedicated father, and kept up their huge yard/farm and still graduated near the top of his class. He is now in graduate school and I'm sure he will be extremely successful there too. In the 8-9 years I've known him, I've never seen him sit around. Seriously never. That guy's middle name should be work.
When I was a newleywed and my brother was in high school I was really surprised to find out how much he was earning at his part-time job as a server at a countryclub. I ran across his paystub and could hardly wrap my head around how much more money he was earning than me as a college grad. He had plans for after high school (going to Europe, serving a mission, college, buying a nice camera), so he was working as much as possible at the highest paying job he could find to earn what he needed. I was so impressed by that. And now that he's in graduate school, an involved father, a fun friend, and his ward's YM president, I can predict those work skills learned in high school will payoff even more for his future. Oh, and he came over the other day and made me dinner! For real.
If I didn't like his wife so much, she'd irritate me because she's just so perfect. She's the type that runs on the treadmill through her pregnancy and looks amazing 15 minutes after delivering a baby. She takes care of a newborn, exercises every day, supports her husband in everything he does, and works as a personal trainer. And she's also that type that could have 8 kids and not even bat an eye at how much work that would entail.
And then there's G. He has a demanding job yet never complains. He is the rare (I'm learning) husband that does things around the house. And I don't even have to ask him. He just knows what needs to be done, especially how I like things done, and does it. He is an excellent housekeeper: he knows how to do laundry and put it away in the right place, clean bathrooms, do yardwork, clean up the kitchen, put away toys, keep the cars clean, and take care of the kids. A couple weekends ago I left on a last-minute trip to Utah and he managed the house perfectly in my absence. He did the meals, took Buddy to soccer twice, got him to school, took Sambo to swimming lessons, took the kids to church, did a top-to-bottom cleaning of both kids' rooms, did about 7 loads of laundry, and worked from home. When I'd talk to him on the phone he was never "exhausted" or "tired of the kids" like I always am. When I got home the house was immaculate. I was so impressed, but not surprised.
After reading all that, I know you're jealous.
So with that long preface, now you can see why G and I were so overjoyed after back-to-school night, when Buddy's teacher said he is "so cool" and "such a workhorse." In our family, there is no higher compliment than to be a good worker (and of course to be cool).
The thing is, it's true! Buddy is such a big help to me. And I don't mean the kind of "help" where the child is involved in a project so it takes 5 times as long. He is a legitimate help and support to me and I really appreciate and admire that about him.
I've been instructed to "take it easy" and "no walking" for a few weeks so my foot can heal. I've relied on both the kids to help even more than they already do -- and boy have they risen to the challenge. Buddy helps me with everything and amazingly, Sambo is capable of doing quite a bit too. I put dusters in both boys hands yesterday and got the house dusted for the first time in a looooong time. They loved it! I loved it! I have to make a conscious effort not to ask my little boys to do to much because if I ask, they'll do it. They both love to work, especially if they feel like they are really helping and if they feel responsible for the task.
And that's why we've called our blog, "Another Day Another Dollar." I often go to bed and tell G, "Another day, another dollar. Oh wait... I don't get paid for this."
Yet all joking aside, it's not the dollar that matters, but rather the process of working hard to have a (relatively) clean house, happy kids, and full life. I appreciate that work was the foundation of the family I was raised in and the the family I am now raising. And hopefully Buddy's First Grade teacher isn't the last person to call him a "workhorse."