chore charts and earning your promotion

I had to laugh as I opened the blog this morning with trepitation. I had skipped two days. yes I was busy creating a chore chart and having a wonderful date with my husband. What greated me: “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly”. well said.

A wonderful lady I admire talks about earning your promotion in your own home. As a newlywed it’s just you and your husband doing everything…the little children come along and it’s you and your husband doing more than everything. The at some point your husband becomes more and more busy just trying to provide for all these people and suddenly it’s you doing almost everything alone. Well…almost alone. You with your entourage doing everything alone.

To earn your promotion is to change in your role from grunt laborer to manager in your home. I love that idea and I really like the images it creates in my brain….me with clipboards going around to check all of the chores being done to ensure quality or me relaxing with a book while the house gets cleaned around me…it’s just that it doesn’t ever look like that in my home. I also don’t believe leadership is that way. I’m a fan of servant leadership…Jesus washed His disciples feet. He did delegate responsibilities so that He could spend more time teaching and helping people, but he also wasn’t above doing anything. Becoming a manager in my home doesn’t mean I’m above scrubbing floors.

Earning your promotion is work. It takes a lot of work to teach and encourage your children to do a job right. It frequently takes more time than doing the very job yourself. It also can be counter productive to the family work idea of working together. Yes we sometimes need to divide and conquer, but I always try to keep in mind the bonding aspect of working together. We try and clean at the same time. We also have what we call kitchen time. These are the chores surrounding meals that bring everyone in the kitchen at some point to get the meal on the table and cleaned up. Divided responsibilities…but working towards the same goal. We all need to be reminded that it is the same goal-so that they see their small job (sweeping under the table) as part of the whole experience we’re going for (a peaceful dinner….hey it might happen in bits and spurts in between the scattered conversation, spills, needs expressed, and last minute “mom I forgot to tell you I need to be there now” kinds of things).

I did finally make a chore chart. Make being a strong word for what actually happened. I did write on a bunch of 3×5 cards all of the chores I want done. Every family member has a slot. The older children have a room for the week that they keep tidy. The younger children each help one older child with that responsibility. The colorful cards at the bottom are all the chores for each zone. Whenever an additional chore is needed for computer time or due to excessive whining about chores…they can pic a chore from the zone we are in. I like that. It’ll help get those chores done and keep me from assiging them something random. They like the deeper cleaning chores anyway-children love to dust and wash windows. I don’t know why.

Things I have noticed…
I haven’t yet really gotten on the menu planning phase. I’m working towards that again. Everytime before I shop I ask my children what they want to eat, then I censor out all the junkfood, they recognize that I’m not going to buy it this time either and they generally say “food”. Now that we have a cook, they are much more opinionated. HURRAH.

It is easier to have specific responsibilities than to just tell them to help.

Checking up on everything is a pain. There isn’t really a way around it. “You get what you inspect, not what you expect” is true.

Chore charts don’t work when I’m not home until they are a habit. Yesterday we were gone for 7 wonderful hours. Children were all fed and were taken care of and playing well together-in a huge tent that took up a bulk of our large living room…but the kitchen and the laundry.

So why do all this extra work? Why go to the trouble of making a chore chart, following through, nagging ( i mean of course politely inviting the children to help and lovingly reminding them when they have forgotten due to the sweet tenderness of their young brains)…why do all of that? Is it because you want a clean house? well yeah. Is it because you want to teach your children to work and be repsonisble? yeah. is it because they help make this mess? yeah. It is all of that. It is also the bonding power of work done together and for a common goal. The cleaning helps make your house clean, but working together makes it a home.

Now as soon as I can find my camera I will post a picture. a place for everything and everything in the place your children put it. sigh

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