Saturday, September 4, 2010

saturday, cleaning day.

For now, we still do cleaning on Saturday mornings...especially when John's scheduled to work, and we have no other plans. That may all be changing soon with his new day-shift schedule starting next week....but for now, it works.

Some of you have written in, asking how I manage cleaning and household chores with kids...there's definitely a strong part of me that would rather just save all work until they're in bed, and get it done quickly and correctly (without arguing or fussing), but that's not really helping anyone in the grand scheme of things. I've tried it, and I find myself feeling resentful (and exhausted). Our team isn't getting any smaller...and kids need (and want) to play an active roll in making it a success. I mean, who really wants to "sit the bench" their whole lives??!
I found a website of daily chores by Motivated Moms that I'm considering downloading a daily chore lists, and dividing them up (it appears to be a VERY thorough list to include things that get lost in the shuffle until it's too overwhelming a task to want to accomplish.) If any of you have ever heard of or tried it, let us know with a comment!!

For now...the kids are on a rotating (by memory not list) schedule for daily tasks like emptying the dishwasher, emptying trash cans, and helping before/after meals. Sam takes out the trash each week.

On Saturday mornings "cleaning day":
~The kids are responsible for the basement...picking up toys, vaccuming, dusting, and vaccuming the stairs as well. It's never done perfectly...but close enough that I'm happy to leave it to them. Sometimes its done in minutes...sometimes an hour. But they work at it (or yell about it) till it's done, and I keep about my cleaning upstairs. Great things can come from letting them "work it out" themselves. When I hear things being thrown, or kids belittling each other, I intervene. Dance music goes hand-in-hand with clean-up.
~Alice and Emma take care of the upstairs "girls" the sink and vanity, toilet, wiping mirrors, and cleaning the floor. It's never done the way I'd like it...and I usually go back over it slightly to "touch up." But they're getting better over time, and are starting to take pride in a job well done, so I don't dare take it away from them. They're also beginning to teach Grace and Mary the job, and they've all come to know how important it is to clean up toothpaste spills in the sink when it happens...not waiting till it's dry.
~The kids vaccum and dust they're own bedrooms. I wish I could say this got done weekly...more like monthly...but it gets picked up and beds made daily, so I'm cool with that.
~Sam loves to run the vaccum in the tv room, and he's strong enough to nudge the couch back a bit, and move the coffee table out of the way, so he does a pretty good job.
~All young kids LOVE washing windows. There's not enough glass in this house to keep them all happy, so I let them "go over" each others work, just to keep them busy. All windows and storm doors within reach, as well as television screens are fair game.
So where's mom? Sitting around slurping coffee and reading the paper? sometimes...for a minute...but there's still plenty to do. The kitchen, main bathroom, all-over dusting, and our bedroom is my "territory."
~I also still do all the laundry. This is just one area that I've not been able to work into a schedule, or find a way for the kids to help. Our washer and dryer run daily. As for the folding and putting away, I've just found it easiest to do after I have several baskets ready, and after the kids are in bed. It goes so much faster when the little ones aren't climbing across the folded piles of clean clothes on my bed. A long time ago, I found a way to sort socks before they go into the washer...and this system still works. The basket of whites is my least at least the sock matching problem is out of the equasion. Sometimes I ask one of the kids to sort laundry by colors out of the laundry chute and into the hampers in the basement...but not as often as I used to. The oldest 3 (ages 9 and 10) have been schooled on using the washer and dryer, and I even taped instructions to the front of the machines for those times when they "need" something cleaned "right now." No reason they can't throw a load in, now and then...and someone has to know what to do all those times mom's in the hospital having babies, right?! oh, and on the subject of laundry, I've recently started making/using homemade laundry soap. So far, I'm quite pleased with the results...I'll share the recipe in a later post.
~oh and cooking...yep, that's all mine.

Anyhow. I'd love to hear how you all divi up tasks...or don't you? Maybe I'm a slave-driver and don't even know it?! I don't think so. The kids roll through six days of the week with little responsibilities, so Saturday morning "team-cleaning" seems fair. My goal for this school year is to have them share in more of the daily tasks, especially with new baby on the way. Afterall, they were a member of this team first...I want them to grow up knowing the blessing/importance/gift/value of family, and have a sense of priority towards their own family one day.

For now, I better get....we're in slow motion this saturday...lingering in our jammies and watching a few more cartoons than usual (kids don't appreciate saturday morning cartoons like we did when we were kids...when Saturday was the ONLY day of the week you could see them. Remember?!)
It's time to get business taken care of before Dad gets home from work for lunch. Have a wonderful holiday weekend everyone!


Barb said...

The Motivated Moms planner looks wonderful! I may order this myself...
Sounds like you're doing a great job with the chores. I always have had other moms tell me to have the kids do their own laundry but it always seems like a waste of water and electric to me so I always do it myself; however, my kids all know how to do the laundry if I need them to do a load.

Anonymous said...

I am number 10 of 12 kids. We also did our chores on Saturday when I was younger. We had a paper route and so as soon as the papers were delivered that morning we had to start cleaning and have our work done before Dad got home from work at noon.

There is a larger age spread with my siblings compared to your kids, so three of them were already away at college before I had to start doing chores.

The two in high school did not have to help as much as they were either at their ball games or working at their own jobs to earn a little spending money.

The two boys (twins) in middle school were in charge of the yard work, emptying all of the trash in the house and burning it, taking out any recycling, and crushing cans. The two girls in middle school had to pick up, vaccuum carpets, clean the bathroom sinks/counters, and make lunch for the rest of us.

My younger sister and I, in elementary, were in charge of dusting and windexing. The youngest was still a baby.

Everyone helped with dishes. My mom would have all of the loads of laundry washed before she left for work, so us 4 girls all helped with hanging it up on the line.

Mom would finish the rest when she got home from work (cleaning the toilets/shower, kitchen sink, mopping the floors, taking laundry off the line & folding it, etc.) The floors and folding laundry weren't done til we were all in bed. Pizza was our weekly supper on Saturdays. With all the working and cleaning, Mom never had any desire to cook.

After writing all of this, I'm feeling more and more blessed with the discipline and structure my parents raised us with. At the time I remember whining and crying about having to do this and that every week, but now as a young adult I really appreciate the lessons my parents were teaching us. It is certainly something I will teach my children some day.

God bless and please continue sharing your stories. I love reading your blog every day!

Shelli said...

The coolest thing that I've found on the internet is that dry erase markers work on glass so typing up a chore chart and then framing it. Kids can X off their chores in dry erase markers when they are done. The other thing is a picture of each kid and then a mug hook under neath with their chores. When they get done, they get to flip it over onto the done side. I have seen someone write up a paper that says what exactly "Clean the Living room" means. It means dust, vacuum, pick up, etc. I love looking at home decor blogs and some of these ladies are pretty crafty and organized. If I come across some ideas we'll shoot them your way.

Ann G said...

I love the Motivated Moms planner. I assign numbers to the chores listed(without the kids knowing what is what) and they draw numbers out of a jar to be assigned. Saves on fighting. said...

I only had one child, but he is more than willing to have me write down what I would like done for the day. It is always done and may I add with a smile. However, sometimes like yourself, not done to my satisfaction, but I have never corrected it in front of him or complained it was not good enough. The next time it needed to be done, I show him how I want it done.

I have a sister that used to complain about the kids' doing the chores but not good enough and she would in turn redo it in front of them with the complaining. Eventually, they didn't do it at all, because "It's never good enough, so why do I want to do it?"

You are doing a wonderful job with having them work together as they are.