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Not a step issue

Wicked stepmo.'s picture

Now that I am not constantly distracted by daily dysfunctional chaos, I can get back to my regularly scheduled parenting.

Dear Neice is 20. Her mother was very abusive so she only had a normal childhood on her visitation days with me. When with BM she wasn't allowed to hang out with friends, get a job or anything. She was the live in babysitter for her younger sisters.

She works 35 hours a week and goes to school full time. She does clean up around the house and does her own laundry. 

My question is I know she intentionally makes up excuses to avoid yard work. I know she finally has a social life and I support that because she is a young adult. I do get annoyed that she beats feet as soon as thier is work outside to be done. Should I count my blessings for what she does do and let it go or should I insist it is part of her responsibility for living here since she only is responsible for paying her own bills. Like car payment, insurance and phone. 


ndc's picture

Personally, I think a 20 year old who is working 35 hours a week on top of full time school, cleaning up after herself, doing her laundry and paying her personal bills is doing enough.  But you're in a better position to see how much time she has. I'd assume full time college is a 40 hour a week job. Throw in another 35 hours for her job and she's quite busy. But if she's only spending 15 hours a week on school, or you're working 60+ hours a week, or you really need her help for a particular task, then it's different.  

hereiam's picture

I hate yard work, also, so I get it (I do okay, once I get started).

I would probably let it go. Does she do enough cleaning up inside to make up for it? Maybe there's something else that she could take off your hands, since she doesn't want to help with the yard. Or maybe just talk to her about it and come up with the one outdoor chore that she WILL do (the least of the evils).

I have an 18 year old neice that DH and I practically raised (my sister is an alcoholic and emotionally/verbally abusive). She doesn't live with us, right now (her choice), but if she did, I wouldn't make this a hill to die on. Not worth it.

tog redux's picture

Same. Hate yard work (except mowing with a ride-on mower). I can stomach it if it's cool outside but once it gets hot, nope. 

Can you trade off for some other inside chore?

The_Upgrade's picture

Not a hill to die on. I hate cleaning the toilet. Once I get the gloves on I'll do a good job of it, it'll friggen sparkle. But given how often I procrastinate, I eventually got a cleaner to come in once a fortnight. Rather than nag, is it possible to pitch to her the idea of paying for yard service? Like that's her contribution to her board, doesn't matter how it gets done as long as it gets done. 

Wicked stepmo.'s picture

Thanks, it's hard sometimes to find that balance between parenting and letting her be her own person. 

I would love the help, but she also needs to have a life of her own and time to just relax.

TheAccidentalSM's picture

Have you explained things from your point of view?  That you'd really appreciate some help with the yard work, maybe 1 hour per week.and see what the response is.  

Having said all that, this would not be my hill to die on.  Plus I do feel sympathy for your neice.  I HATE gardening so I'd be making up excuses not help too.

CrownJewels's picture

Your niece is already busting her backside. Pay some kid in your neighborhood to do it. I used to mow, deal with weeds and even vacuum and wash cars for my neighbors as a teenager.

tog redux's picture

Those kids don't seem to exist anymore, sadly. Other than babysitting, I don't see kids wanting side jobs like this - mommy and daddy pay for everything, and they are always so busy with activities. Plus, parents are afraid to let their little darlings out of their sight.

CrownJewels's picture

Geez! I will let my kids do odd jobs for elderly/busy neighbors (that I know well) when they are teenagers. It's a great way for teens to make a little money and maybe get a few skills.

Cover1W's picture

We are lucky! My neighbors high school aged son mows our lawn now and then for cash and he's gone soon....contacted another neighbor with two sons to see if they are interested as I think they did lawn mowing last year in our neighborhood.

I rarely see kids looking though outside the neighborhood and I'll likely have to hire a service.

caninelover's picture

Your niece sounds like a really good kid.  I hate yard work too and don't think its a big deal for her to bail on that - she seems to have a full plate already.  

I'd let it go and count your blessings that she is at least cleaning up after herself - which is more than many do at that age, sadly.

Thumper's picture

Hire someone to come.

Or have your step kids do it. dh has two teens, right?

Was this the arrangement for your niece to move in with you? Yard work?

Serious question.