This past Mother's Day my husband's gift to me was a chore chart for the kids. After I got over the initial - you got me a chore chart? - I realized that his heart was into it. He really thought that creating a chore chart for all 5 of our kids would be the best gift for me of all. No more yelling, "Who is going to empty the dishwasher?" - OR - "Someone fold the clean laundry!" anymore. Now every child had a daily chore that was assigned and needed to be completed before he or she went to bed.
Sounds amazing, right?
Yeah. I thought so too at the beginning.
Let me backtrack for a second as to why this gift was even given to me by my husband. I work from home 80% of the time. It's not easy working from home because I (even though I tell myself not to) allow myself to get distracted during the day and do daily house chores. Vacuuming. Laundry. Bathroom cleaning. Living room dusting. Bed making. Counter cleaning. I mean, you name the daily/weekly chore and I do it during the day. Honestly - it frustrates the crap out of me! I mean - the crap out of me! I had started venting to my husband every other day this past spring wishing and praying and hoping that we could someway hire a housekeeper to come once a week and clean for a few hours. Unfortunately it's just not in our budget, so it comes down (which I felt) to me, myself and I.
My husband's best answer was to come up with the chore chart for the kids.
We have 4 sons - 10, 11, 13, 14 and a 5 year old daughter and they're 100% capable of flushing a toilet, washing a counter, folding a pair of jeans, making a bed, wiping down the fridge. I mean - I was doing chores when I was a kid - why hadn't I been more proactive about getting my kids involved? Why was I putting it ALL on myself?
So my husband's gift of the chore chart? It started to make perfect sense to me.
ALL. HANDS. ON. DECK.
Throughout the month of May the kids were rocking and rolling. They didn't exactly want to do chores, but they had tasks assigned to them and they knew they had to get them done. The amount of begging and pleading and yelling I did definitely cut down because nobody could say NO. Everyone had something. It was pretty cut and dry.
But you know what happened this summer?
The chores were getting done in a fast, rushed way.
Dishwasher was unloaded, but 1/2 the dishes left on the counter because "they didn't know where they went."
My jeans showing up in my son William's drawer. I'm sure the LAST thing William wants it to have my skinny jeans on!
Bathroom towels crammed into the linen closet.
Food in the pantry not put away neatly.
Laundry done without detergent.
Socks NEVER matched, just put together. "Mom - it's easier this way, it doesn't both us!" Yeah... but wearing one white sock and one striped sock DOES bother me!
I started to realize after the holidays that all the chores were getting done, but I was re-doing after the kids. What the heck was going on? They were happy to be done. They just wanted it checked off their list. When I went back to make them re-do something or fix the mess they made... they did, but still - extra steps for me.
Chore charts?? I mean - are they even worth it?
I refused to pay them an allowance for the chores because in my mind it's part of being in a family. I'm not asking them to cook a 5 course meal or deep clean the kitchen. The chores are pretty easy, very basic house chores. Plug in a vacuum and run it. I mean - my 5 year old can do this!
I'm at a loss here moms and dads. How do you get your kids to stick with chores and get them done right???
Do you pay??
Do you reward??
This mama needs a little inspiration here... and please tell me (for the love of GOD) that I'm not alone here.