South suburban spotlight
Jennifer Hoeksema says the hardest part of parenting is finding enough time to get it all done. This mom of three, ages 11, 9 and 4, says it only got worse when she started working full time—that is until she made a list and checked it twice.
"With my husband gone three days a week and me working full time ... with music lessons, football, soccer and baseball to get to ... there just wasn’t enough time for me to do it all."
Hoeksema turned to her kids for help. "Each of my kids has three daily lists—one for the morning, one for afterschool and one for after dinner." Hoeksema says the kids have to do the list in order and by doing so, they work their way to privileges such as TV or computer time.
The Hoeksema children get dressed on their own, make their own breakfasts and lunches, feed and take out the family dog and do a variety of chores such as switching laundry over to the dryer.
The key to making this work is organization and routine, she says. "I started to get the kids in the routine weeks before I returned to work and we stay in the routine when I’m off."
What started out as necessity turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to the household. "It is great. Things are getting done and my children are learning to be independent rather than dependent."