Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Dreaded Chore Chart

For those of you who know me, you know housework is not my favorite thing to do. In fact, it's not even on the top 40 list. I truly dislike it, and I'm just not very good at it. I can't think of one single, solitary domestic duty besides cooking - and it only makes the top 15 list on a rare occasion - that I enjoy. And yet God called me to be a stay-at-home wife and homeschooling mom?!? You've GOT to know He has a sense of humor! ;)

As I've mentioned before, we are working on godly attitudes with the kids. We've been memorizing Matthew 5 this school year, and they all 3 successfully quoted the entire chapter this week! I'm really proud of them, and I'm hoping we start moving from memorizing the words to putting them into action in our daily lives. Yes, I say WE. I'm working on being meek, merciful, righteous, and doing all for His glory. Those qualities go along with that other ever-dreaded word, housework, and I'm just not good at them, either! Obviously, I'm a work in progress.

Anyway, back on track. Me and housework, not friends. Me and the Beattitudes, only slightly more amicable. Got it? Good. Moving on.

While I am not a lover of all things domestic, I am trying to do better. A turning point just occurred that's spurred me into action. Kelly and I had a long conversation Valentine's night about how I try to do too much on my own and the kids have learned to expect me to do everything. Romantic conversation, right? But I know it was words I needed to hear, and I put them into action the next day.

I woke up with a conviction that I was NOT supermom. I did NOT have to do it all alone. I had 4 perfectly able servants - er, I mean children - that could start bearing the load a bit. So to the keyboard I went. I typed like a madwoman, I tell ya! I thought about all the chores that they were possibly old enough to handle. Then I started revising. Then I started retracting. Then I started to give it up and just face the fact that I was a bondservant to my family with no chance of reprisal. Then I prayed and started again.

The kids thought I was on Facebook or something frivolous. Little did they know how drastic their little lives were about to change. (Insert evil laugh here.)

When I finally had it all arranged and set up on a chart, I hit print. I also decided to laminate it. I got it finished, and I hung it up on the kitchen wall, right underneath the school schedule. The kids wandered in after me to see what I was doing. Connor was the first to reach it.

"What's this?"
"It's a chore chart, honey."
"For who?"
"The mice, dear. I don't think I can do all the chores by myself anymore, so I decided to enlist help from them."
Blank stare, open mouth.
"It's for you guys. Daddy and I talked last night, and we agreed that you all are perfectly capable of having more responsibility than just taking care of your rooms." I barely bit off the comment that I usually end up taking care of that, as well.
"...sooo...we have to do ALL of this? Now? What are you going to do?"

I admit, I had to take a deep breath here. And three more before I answered him.

"There's a lot on the list, but there's a lot that isn't. I'll show you all how to do these things, and you'll be pros in no time!" (insert forced smile and positive voice here)
Blank stare, open mouth - which quickly turned to scowls and whines. Followed up by fussing, stomping, arguing, growling and all the other reactions a mature, responsible, loving mother would have! ;)

Fast forward. Here we are, nearly a month later. I'm not saying it's been easy as pie. And, no, Good Housekeeping is NEVER going to ask to take photos of my household - unless it's for an article on how NOT to do your cleaning. But there is a sense of accomplishment with the kids. They still grumble a bit, and they don't always get everything done. But we're working on it. They ask me to come and see what they did, and they ask me if they did a good job. Just another time for me to learn not to nitpick and to praise their efforts. They rotate jobs on Sundays, and some weeks are smoother than others. I guess we're all works in progress. But I'm so glad we're now working together.


  1. I love this post! It's so nice to know that someone else is out there in the homeschool world that struggles with housework - could have written the first part of this post - thank you so much for sharing.

    P.S. Over from CMBloggers on FB.

  2. Tell my kids how very proud I am of them for memorizing Matthew 5 and doing their best in their chores. I love you too, cousis!! You are a SUPER mom even if you're not "Supermom!"
    (ok, so it won't let me post it as anything but anonymous. grrr...)

  3. Great job! Mine have all been whining lately, so I need to get back on a chore chart. They do much better when they know exactly what is required of them.