Cinderella Lives At My House

As I told you last week, we recently moved into our very own home. Both of my children are very happy here. I’m a single mom so I truly count on the help of my children in order to keep up with the house. This is a discussion we even had before I started hunting for a home. I told them both they would have more chores and they willingly agreed to pitch in.

 My son has taken on the extra responsibilities that come with a house with open arms. He rakes leaves, takes out the trash, sweeps the deck and helps in any way I ask. Shoot, I usually don’t even have to ask. Unfortunately my 12-year-old daughter hasn’t kept up her end of the deal. In fact, I can’t even motivate her to completely unpack or keep her room clean. She’s supposed to load and unload the dishwasher each day but even that is a fight. Based on her reaction, you would think that I just asked her to jump in a pit with venomous snakes when really I only asked her to sweep the kitchen or dust her room. Don’t get me wrong, A will help sometimes without complaining  – if it’s something she enjoys doing like making homemade ravioli with the family or watching her baby cousin. And J does complain from time to time, especially if it’s something he doesn’t like, but is usually willing to pitch in without much of a fight.

I do not give an allowance but I do pay for both of their cell phones monthly, in addition to providing a warm place to live, clothes and food.

 How do you get your children to pitch in around the house without a fight? Do you pay an allowance or offer some other type of incentive? What do you expect of your kids and at what age? I appreciate your advice.

Finding Our Way Home

So far I have really only talked about my kids. Today I’m going to give you a little insight into our family journey over the last nine years. I just bought our first home since my divorce nearly nine years ago. We have lived in three different two-families since selling the marital home. All three were in the same city and school district but we moved for a variety of reasons. Being someone who lived in two houses her entire childhood, moving my children around was difficult for me.

After the divorce, we moved to a rental in a great city but a not so great part of town. I didn’t realize this area even had a ghetto until I lived there. The police patrolled the street a lot and with reason. My children were very young so I felt I could protect them and honestly wasn’t in the position to move right away again. Plus, it was important to me to provide stability, which I thought included staying in one place. Then one day A, my then 7-year-old, asked me “Why does Kurtis always go up to that car with money and then they just pull away?” It was right then that I knew we had to move. We found a beautiful place in the middle of town with a large yard and in walking distance to everything. We lived there three years putting up with nonsense from the landlord and the neighbor. The landlord wouldn’t fix anything properly. Some of lights and heat were ran through the other apartment so if no one lived there, I didn’t have lights in my living room or heat in my foyer. One of the duplex neighbors, who lived there about a year, partied constantly. I pulled up to our house, on a main street in the city, one day to find him and about six of his friends in my front yard with no shirts on drinking beer out of brown paper bags. I was utterly embarrassed. It eventually became so ridiculous that we moved to our third two-family. This place was only a block away. It wasn’t nearly as pretty but it was cheap and I knew a house was more likely to become reality this way. I saved for a year and half and purchased us a home last month.

This was one of the proudest moments in my life. I feel like my hard work finally paid off for my children. The house needs some cosmetic work… thank goodness I’m a little OCD. In one month, with the help of my friends, new neighbors and parents, I have managed to scrape wallpaper off of two large rooms, paint three large rooms, find and setup furniture, make repairs to my deck, get a new roof and gutters and much more (see photos). We still have a lot of work to do but it’s getting there and already feels like home.

My children love their new home. We finally have something that is ours. We don’t have to worry about a duplex neighbor being too loud, trashing our yard or having inappropriate dealings in the street.  They can play in the cul-de-sac with the neighbor children, hang out on our back deck or side patio, talk to the older neighbors who they admire and ride their bikes around the neighborhood.

I am so grateful that the three of us are finally home.

Even though we love it, there is still an adjustment period. They do miss seeing the friends on our old street on a regular basis. My daughter misses her short walk to school. They are adjusting to their new rooms. Do you have suggestions on how to help kids adjust to a move and a new neighborhood? I’d love to hear them!