Before we have children we are convinced that we will be super cool parents, our children will be gifted and charming and do their chores with good humour and enthusiasm.
Oh how I smile when folk with babies tell me how little Mario will make his bed in the mornings, and put away his toys in the evenings. The truth will arrive soon enough; when their sobbing son is trying to find the number for Childline, because Mum had the effrontery to ask that he put his shoes away.
And the online lists! Completely fictitious, according to one, a four year old should sort laundry into piles for family members, really, a four year old? Perhaps they want to film the tantrums for a youtube child diva special.
The truth is that your kids will do very few chores, and those that they will do, will be done with a reluctance that will make you grit your teeth.
So the trick is to figure out what is important to you, for me it was having the table cleared of all dishes, and stacked in the kitchen, at the end of meals. This was a great trick because it meant that the kids stayed till the end of meal, not dashing off to do some suspiciously important homework, that they had just remembered. On high-days and holidays they would also actually enjoy setting the table. That, and the occasional cup of tea, was the limit of my success in chore setting.
But what is important to the kids? Money! As soon as I clocked that my darling children were not going to hoover the stairs every Saturday, I laid down the law. No Money, ever!
Yes, I will pay for buses and swimming, yes for school trips and books, but money for burgers, cinema, chocolate, oh no my sweet darlings, you want candy you gotta get that hoover out, and then wash the car.
Due to my tightening the purse strings all my kids got jobs as soon as they hit 14 years old, and would joyfully sneer at me as they left to do their paper round or clean the local deli.
To be honest I saved enough money by not indulging their every whim to pay for a cleaner, so a win-win all round.