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#ParentHack: A Vacation from Being The Nagging Mother

By Susan Borison

Recently, we planned a family vacation. The occasion happened to be to celebrate my birthday.

I knew even before we left home that I was going to be irritated the entire week. I was going to be doing dishes the whole time, asking my kids to set the table, asking again when they didn’t do it, and spending my days being generally annoyed. That is no kind of vacation!

Parenting Hacks: How To Stop Nagging

Even I hate how I sound when I get irritated and start nagging. Who wants to spend a week mad at the very people you are trying to enjoy?

I thought back to a vacation we took with my extended family. While some of us did all the work of cooking, getting meals on the table, and cleaning up dishes, other family members didn’t lift a finger. We workers felt that our requests for help were simply ignored, and we were getting angry.

So we came up with a solution. We made a chore chart with every person’s name on it. We posted it on the door to the kitchen. Before every meal, each person was responsible for making sure their assigned task was completed.

And—surprise!—it worked like a charm. Everyone could go check their task and make sure it was done before mealtime. And to my wonder, everyone just did it. Without anyone having to listen to a nagging mother.

So before we left for this vacation, I told my family we were doing a chore chart again. “I’m going to print out a chart with everyone’s job assignments on it.”

Their response? “Great! We like when you make a chart so we don’t have to hear you nagging.”

Turns out no one likes to hear me nag.

Susan Borison

Susan Borison is editor of Your Teen.