15 Reasons Why I Loathe Maria Montessori

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I don’t know about you, but when I saw this image detailing what *the* educational guru Maria Montessori suggests one’s child’s should be doing according to age….well, I just about fell off my child-sized chair laughing. My son Mateo has been in a Montessori for 2 years. At least, I think he has – although I’m starting to suspect that he’s been buggering off to sniff glue with the local squirrels instead.

Of course, I don’t truly loathe Maria Montessori – but I do loathe her suggested “Age-Appropriate Chores for Children”.  This what really happens when a five year old boy is allowed to tackle the entire list.

Expectation: Help sweep.
Reality: Mateo loves to arrive at the last minute, when the pile of remnants is ready to go into the pan with one final, satisfying sweep. How much damage can be done with a short-handled broom? That’s a rhetorical question. The shorter the handle, the more control, right? Wrong. It merely means it is easier to flick crap off floor onto ceiling, behind fridge, into parent’s eyes and screaming mouth.


crazy toddler gif


Expectation: Help vacuum.
Reality: This entails wrestling the vacuum from parent’s hands and proceeding to wipe out anything and everyone within a 2 foot reach. A midget version of Gladiator’s Duel, if you will. Imagine a mouse with a Q-tip and temper. Prepare to waste an inordinate amount of time unblocking vacuum of items such as scarves, toys and a paralysed dog face. (I’m assuming you didn’t have vacuums in your day, Maria?)
Expectation: Help prepare meals and snacks. Mateo’s Montessori teachers claim, “Mateo LOVES to help. He just needs to be asked once!”
Reality: Apparently, Mateo is a different child when at school. At home: repeat request for help at least 7 times. Proven winning strategy: Threaten death. Do not show displeasure when an entire box of cereal is upended into an egg cup, or when “get an apple” results in a bite mark taken out of all 6 apples, followed with a sad “Oh. I don’t like apples.” At the end of the day, I’m just be grateful that a snack hasn’t been made that I’m obliged to eat under the intense gaze of would-be chef child.


crazy toddler gif funny


Expectation: Set table.
Reality: Mateo loves this. It’s the only time he’s allowed to touch a knife or anything remotely important. Try to remain calm and act appreciative when you end up with 14 knives, one Tupperware container and three very expensive wine glasses in a precarious layout on edge of the dining room table. Oh, and a cat as the centrepiece “to provide conversation”.
Expectation: Clear table.
Reality: Let your child carry their plate to the kitchen. It’s okay if the sauce/remaining food falls onto his face while he screams “I CAN’T SEE ANYTHING, THE PLATE IS IN MY FACE, WOAH SOMETHING IS IN MY EYES”. Of course, the food then falls onto his clothes, then floor. That’s why we teach him how to sweep, remember? See first chore. (F you, Maria)


crazy toddler boy gif


Expectation: Help wash dishes.
Reality: Lock away all pets first (including goldfish and turtle). Do not ever let the sink be plugged. Ever. Start using plastic crockery if you ever want to use it a second time. Rubber gloves are a bad idea as they can carry a lot more water than one might think… up the stairs and to the bedroom.
Expectation: Feed pets.
Reality: This is also called ‘make your pets love then hate you’. Keep the plunger and vet’s phone number close to hand while yelling, “Do not give them jalapeños or frijoles, Mateo! They are not Mexican.”


crazy toddler boy


Expectation: Clean mirrors and windows.
Reality: Did this once. Never again. I mean, it’s fine if you clean your mirrors and windows with plain water (who does that?). Lesson learned: Never look away – not even for one second. Let’s just say that it’s very difficult to get toothpaste off mirrors and windows. (What the f were you smoking, Maria, when you compiled this list??)
Expectation: Make their bed.
Reality: Not to be attempted if you like hospital corners or suffer from even the tiniest amount of OCD.

Expectation: Help fold clothes.
Reality: Shut up, Maria.

funny toddler boy gif
Expectation: Tend to the garden.
Reality: What, that 15 year old hydrangea he just dug up? That’s absolutely not bothering me at all. Remove secateurs, for the plants and child’s sake.
Expectation: Tidy their room.
Reality: Known as shoving crap into every corner possible. Or putting every single toy, stray clothing and piece of tiny lego (100s at last count) inside duvet cover. On a good day, there’s at least one pet in there too.

giphy (2)
Expectation: Polishing silver.
Reality: There’s a reason it says to keep that silver polishing shit away from your eyes (and furniture *sobs*).
Expectation: Wipe table before and after meals.
Reality: Smear that shit everywhere. Preferably with a linen napkin that is hand wash only.
Last, but not least, Maria suggests that the last chore “Pick out clothes to wear” should be done with no supervision. You’re supposed to let your child do this unaided, unguided and ALONE. We all know how naturally blessed a toddler is in the art of sartorialistic choices. If you know me or my husband – this was the ultimate “letting go” of any kind of control. It brought about MANY painful tears. Sobs, actually, and none were from the child. I’m not talking a superhero costume, by the way. Compared to what Mateo chooses for himself, his Batman costume is the equivalent of a top notch bespoke suit.
You are dead to me, Maria. 
The conclusion I have reached is that Maria Montessori must have been talking about girls.


An ex spy from the UK, Elaine currently lives in Washington DC with her husband and toddler. Having to verbally hold in her British snark, she finds an outlet through writing. You can find her on Twitter @damesparkula and Instagram @delcerroyau and @twosisterstwocountries.

Featured Image: flickr/familymwr

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An ex spy from the UK, Elaine currently lives in Washington DC with her husband and toddler. Having to verbally hold in her British snark, she finds an outlet through writing. You can find her on Twitter @damesparkula and Instagram @delcerroyau and @twosisterstwocountries.

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