This is how cleaning goes at my house:
Me: OH MY GAAAAHHHHHH. I can’t take it anymore. We have got to clean up!
Kids: (makes noise like they had to watch their dog get thrown in a wood chipper while simultaneously having their butts branded with a hot prod).
Me: It’s not hard. We just need to pick up the toys and dress-up, put the pillows back on the couch, blankets in the basket, and throw away any old drawing paper. Don’t forget to put the cups by the sink!
(Go start doing stuff but getting distracted)
Interchangeable child one: MOOOOOOOMMMMMM NOBODDDYYYY IS PICKING UP THE CLOOOTTTHHHHEEESSS
Interchangeable child two: MOM! I AM THE ONLY ONE DOING ANYTHING
Interchangeable child three: NA-UH! I PICKED UP ONE PILLOW!!!
Interchangeable child four: NO! I AM THE ONLY ONE THAT IS DOING ANYTHING!
…and this goes on and on and on and escalates until I end up yelling and decide to throw everything in our whole house away, move to Reno, and change my name to Jennifer Smith. Good luck finding me there!
Today, at Church, my mind kept drifting to the house and how I. cannot. function. in. a. house. that looks like it was recently the site of a kindergarten coup. My kids really are fantastic about helping and they WILL get the house clean eventually, but it isn’t without it’s struggles. In all honestly, there are times when I avoided asking for help because its just so annoying to have to go through all that and, after-all, time and energy are our most valuable commodity. Besides, there are only 1 of me and there are 4 of them and not getting help just made me resentful. I have been known to say “I am glad I sucked at life for 4 years at West Point, so I could clean up other people’s crap day in and day out until I die. Great use of government resources.” In the words of Addison Montgomery: there is a land called PassiveAggressivia and I am their Queen.
While it’s true that I did go to West Point to be a stay at home mom, it’s not really fair to my little cherub faced angel babies that I am not in the mood for their bullshit, so I just don’t make bullshit. It’s my job to teach them personal responsibility no matter how painful it is for me. It doesn’t matter that sometimes it’s the MORE painful option than working 4 hours a day to keep things from descending into pure and utter filth. Brainstorming time!
I had a list of problems that I needed to find a solution for:
- My kids will help, but they will argue over who is doing more than others.
- My kids arguing spikes my blood pressure and makes me want to run away from home.
- Justice is king. They will whine “it’s noooootttttt faaaaaiiiirrrrr” in such a way that I will consider stabbing my ear drums with a punji stick just to never have to hear that again.
I could make a chore chart, but that seemed like a lot of trouble to keep up with because I was going to HAVE to rotate chores. I really only have 9 things that have to be done to keep the house tidy and it working order. I don’t mind running a quick vacuum, dusting, mopping, and keeping the kitchen clean. It’s just a right pain in the ass to have to tidy on top of that.
Right around the time the Priest was drawing a direct correlation between the Crown and the birth of Christ, it came to me. What was born (pun heavily intended) was “Ye Olde Chore Bag.”
I decided to write down the 9 chores that HAD to be done, along with one fun thing, and I will have everyone draw 2. Even me! After they pull 2, I will write their initial on the back so that we know they did it. I don’t want them to get the same ones 2 days in a row so they have no reason to say “I always get the harrrrddddd ones.”
These are the cards I came up with:
And the fun one:
I am putting this new method into practice tonight. My idea is that it is to be executed BEFORE they can turn on the TV for their nightly unwind time. Bedtime stays the same though, so if chores don’t happen, TV don’t happen. If you don’t pull your weight one night, the next night, you get to take one of mommy’s cards too!
I will keep everyone posted on how it goes. I might be being overly optimist here, which is a surefire way to get shit soup, but I think it’s gonna go well.