Far be it from me to offer any advice on parenting because then you'd probably start watching my kids for all their weaknesses and flaws and then you might be tempted to come around and criticize me and I don't want that. (Did I sound defensive? I'm sorry; I meant to sound threatening....)
There's a funny thing that happens when you make your kids do jobs. A few months ago I had a rant about how insane I was going, how tired I was of wiping and washing and picking up after everyone, how annoying I found it to see people so relaxed in my presence. I insisted that I no longer do any supper clean-up and that I would not even involve myself in delegating duties. This was to be a war fought by the army of dad and the legions of offspring. The first few days or weeks, I had to physically remove myself from the room or the house because of the significant resistance that was met with this non-negotiable proposal.
Its still ugly a lot of the time. But there's a new dynamic emerging. There's a weird bonding that happens when these wild ones have to band together to complete a task. (and their dad is a task master. He won't accept a sloppy job. He won't do a "mommy" and do it for them.) Amidst the screaming, sometimes crying, sometimes racing around the table, there is the presence of an almost hysterical giggle. Annoying, but invaluable. Often, the craziness that envelopes dish-washing time (and I make them use the sink and not the dishwasher. I think its a good life skill.) spills over into after-dish-washing time. I'll hear them rumble down into the basement for a life-in-the-eighties costume game. Or we'll get a fashion shoot of bubble beards. Or Micah will give himself vacuum hickeys after getting the floors clean.
Its like after hating each other through the process of figuring out how to work together, they lose some of their selfishness and actually begin to like one another.
Besides, I usually forget to bath them. At least this way I know that their kinda clean. -ish.