On Second Thought…

Quote of the week:

“Your parents should make three weddings this year!”

~ My Grandmother

“Do you want to bankrupt them?”

~ Me

But now I’m also wondering what the parents will do without any kids around to help out with the chores. What do parents do when their kids are all upped and moved out? I know there are fewer dishes to wash and fewer clothes to wash (assuming the kids don’t bring theirs over) and fewer plates to set out and so on, but the table still needs setting and the laundry still needs washing. There’s still the same amount of floor to vacuum and windows to wash.

In the old days, farmers would have truckloads of children specifically to help out with the chores. And by the time the youngest was married off, they were retired – one way or another. But how does it work nowadays? Do they stop vacuuming? Move to a teeny little apartment near the grandkids? Anyone here know? How will they manage without us?

14 thoughts on “On Second Thought…

  1. absence of dependents ought to generate more disposable income, albeit at a higher tax rate, and may allow empty-nesters to afford household help. provided no one’s doing anything short-sighted and unsustainable, such as financially supporting adult children for the long term.

  2. Ha! Unless your parents are slobs, they will deal with the genteel mess that just the two of them make just FINE. If not, they would have had more kids, and if that was impractical, they would have adopted more and would still be adopting more today.

    Or are you just looking for an excuse to stay around the house?

  3. I would assume the extra work is worth the freedom of knowing all your children are married off; besides, we all know parents can do the chores, but would rather have us do them…

  4. As I said in your previous post, I don’t do much chores. My mother does it all. Her philosophy is that you don’t ask someone to do what you yourself are not willing to do. Plus, she prioritizes what must desperately be done and what can slide (she’s not very thorough). I help out a lot, though, and I mean to a ridiculous extent with the nieces and nephews.

    I think I would prefer to do the laundry.

  5. I agree with GP and tesyaa – between having a significant decrease in chores vis-a-vis laundry, cleaning dishes (cooking for just two after all), picking up after people – and the increase in funds due to not paying for the extra food, clothing, whatever – hiring a maid service once or twice a month to clean the house sounds most likely.

    Not that I’ve personally experienced this just yet, but I have seen this sort of thing in the past with grandparents.

  6. Bad4 wrote: “What do parents do when their kids are all upped and moved out?”

    Answer 1: The same thing that they did before the kids were born.

    Answer 2: If you have living grandparents you could get an anecdotal answer: Ask them what THEY did in that situation.

    Answer 3: I assume that it’s just like the old folk story: A farmer complained that his house was to small. He was advised to bring all his farm animals into his house for a week. After a week, when he’d finally removed the animals, he was amazed at how roomy his house seemed. Same here, all the extra work that you describe (“…the table still needs setting and the laundry still needs washing. There’s still the same amount of floor to vacuum and windows to wash.”) will seem trivial in comparison to running a house full of kids (even when the kids help a lot).

  7. Just last night my little girl said, “I don’t want Big Sister to get married yet.” Big Sister seemed so touched at the thought that she would be missed, until my little girl clarified. “I’m gonna have to do all her jobs.”

  8. 1–the married kids have no washer & dryer, so laundry gets done here.

    2–when laundry is getting done, kids & grandkids get invited to stay for dinner.

    3–grandkids haul out every toy hidden in my house, and a big mess happens.

    4–kids & grandkids come for Shabbosim & Yomim Tovim.

    Therefore, more cooking & more cleaning than befpre kids got married & left.

    We are very blessed parents…….

  9. anonymom – I’m the last kid at home, and boy does that sound familiar (except they have their own washer/dryer. But they still come, stay, destroy).

  10. MCP: Hey! Clean your own chickens next yom tov.

    And who is “us”? Exactly which chores have you done around your house recently?

  11. my married brother and i do our laundry at our parents’, but we do it ourselves. and, while i may sleep over the night i do it, i also help out plenty- both when i’m home, and when i know i’m coming (e.g., picking up groceries or pizza or whatever). we’re all coming home for yom tov, and have all been asked to bring cooked dishes. we don’t take for granted that coming home means reverting to the roles we had before we left. i also usually ASK before i come home if it’s all right that i come then.

  12. Seems that children really believe that the empty nest syndrome is going to cause more work and headaches for the parents–NOT! The extra work comes, as mentioned above, when those chicks still keep coming back to the nest after they’ve flown the coop, and bring a whole slew of chicklets with them.

    Reminds me of when one of my kids asked, when her father and I took our first vacation alone without any children with us, what we could possibly have to talk about for a week without the kids in the conversation. Oh boy, where to begin!

  13. listen, (grand)parents. YOU set the limits (or opt not to), YOU live with them. YOU make the rules in YOUR house. your offspring, like anyone else with whom you deal, will do exactly as much as you allow them to. if your kids don’t want you parenting/disciplining their kids, then they need to step up to the plate and do their job. this includes not leaving messes or causing total upheaval at saba and savta’s (or whatever you call yourself). don’t passively throw up your hands and enable others to walk all over you and then complain (classic jewish-mother syndrome)- set limits! you want to sacrifice a little bit of order for a more comfortable relationship, by all means- just evaluate that from a cause-and-effect standpoint. you put in long, hard years to earn your empty nest and all the nachas that comes with it, and you should enjoy it when everyone piles back in for a chag. the beauty of grandchildren is that you get to hand them back to their parents when you’re done playing. your self-centered kids didn’t become that way in a vacuum!

    and a PSA to young parents going to their parents’ for yom tov- why make your parents resent your visit? do you really need to revert to your premarital state of maturity just because you’re on your premarital turf? if you’ve been out of it for >5 years, do you need to keep calling it “home?!”

    (quietly steps off soapbox and slinks off into the darkness)

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