Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.
Intro: It keeps going, and going, and going…
So let's go step by step through the birth process...
- Write down the different areas in your home that need daily attention. For instance, in our house we have the Kitchen, Living Room, Bathroom and Outside, plus the kids' bedrooms.
- Make a list of the chores in each room that need to be done. Don't worry about who will do what yet. Just make a list. In the Kitchen, we need to clean and wipe the counter, wipe down the outside of the fridge, pick up the floor, clear the table, wash the dishes, take out the trash and cook the meals.
- Now, let's divide the chores we have so they're a little more evenly distributed and so we have the same number of groups of chores as we have kids. Do you notice something? It's actually easier if you have more kids. All those times those well-meaning folks have said, "Oh, MY! All those kids!!! How do you get it all done???" Answer: I don't. We do.
- What if you only have 2 children? Well, the same chores still need to be done, right? Just divide it all up! Everyone will do a little more than if you had 6 kids, but still not as much as if you were trying to do it all yourself!
Let's look at my example for a sec...
- I have 4 areas in the house (not including bedrooms -- those are separate and everyone is responsible for their own space) and 6 kids, so I take some of those extra kitchen jobs and make a new "area": Dishes. Face it: dishes is a big job. If you're washing dishes for 8 people 3 meals a day, you don't want to do another job, too. Then I take another Kitchen job and put it with the outside jobs to balance out the load a bit. One of our "Outside" jobs is laundry. How would you like to be stuck doing laundry for 8 people all day, every day, all week, every week, forever and ever...? "Not I!" said the mom! So we recently created the "Laundry Floater", and it moves from person to person every day. Laundry is a pain here, anyway, because we have such water issues and electricity issues. If you have a washer that works and a dryer, too, then having one person to do laundry for the week isn't such a big deal. Remember that everyone should be able to fold and put away their own clothes, right???
- I originally had one chore for each child in each room so that we could work together and help each other (read that: so the little boys would work instead of play). I put each chore on a small circle of colored paper with velcro on the back and it velcroed underneath their names. Once the kids learned what to do and how to do it -- and were old enough to follow through without constant supervision (OK, I still have to supervise, but not moment-by-moment!) -- I could turn them loose on an area and then check it over when they were done.
You could imagine that if you've never done anything like this before, you'll still spend the better part of the day on housework...and you will have some pretty stressful times. There have been days when I've had to call the same child back to the same chore 3 or 4 times because it wasn't done to my satisfaction. Wouldn't it be easier to just do it myself??? Oh, yeah...for the short-term. But the long-term rewards are worth the perserverance.
Here I am, 10 years down the road, and I can now leave in the morning to go to a women's prayer time and come home at 9 a.m. to a house that's spiffy, breakfast finished and kids working on lessons (usually -- sometimes the house is a disaster, half the kids are still in bed and the other half are at each other's throats. Life is still life.).
Now, don't think that we have it all together! My house is not a showcase!!! Martha Stewart not only doesn't live here, she would probably run screaming if she came to visit! My goal is not a "Better Homes and Gardens" interview...I want peace in my house, time to work on projects and do fun things with my husband, my kids and other people, and (maybe most importantly) I want my kids to achieve the same in their homes when they are adults.
My verses for the week:
Psalm 128:1-2 Blessed is every one that fears the Lord, that walks in his ways. For you shall eat the labor of your hands; happy shall you be, and it will be well with you.
**This passage is sweet to me for this reason: the years we spent laboring to teach the kids discipline, perserverance and responsibility in daily chores are now beginning to bear fruit. The fruit is sweet indeed!!!**
My Work Crew
Oh, BTW, this is my Tackle it Tuesday post, too, since it's housework-related, it's a project I've been working on and it just so happens to be Tuesday!