Tuesday, August 9, 2011

jobby jobs

Sawyer has a habit for making a "cute" nickname for almost everything. When asked if he did his morning jobs, his reply is always, Yes, my jobby jobs are done.
Flip flops are flippity floppities, when he wants a snack he asks for goldfishy fishies and juicy juice, dessert is icy creamy, his sister is Savannie Banannie... you get the idea.

So Jobby Jobs it is.

It's not, technically, Works For Me Wednesday, but the topic of Chores and family responsibilities have coincidentally come up in a few of my conversations lately and I wanted to record what has (and hasn't) worked for us this year. It occurs to me this is something I should have jotted down at the beginning of the summer, but I didn't, so oh well. Now I know how well it works, so even better to share now, right?! :)

You guys- I feel like after almost 10 years of being a wife --and more than 8 years of being a stay-at-home-mom-- that I'm finally, finally, really getting the hang of and doing a decent job with the housekeeping thing. Finally. (I'm a slow learner I guess.)

So mid-school year last year, we started more specifically doling out and teaching more household responsibilities. I wrote about that plan here; basically boiling down to the kids having simple morning responsibilities and after dinner responsibilities as well as a few "extra chores" asked of them each week.
Theoretically that works really, really well for us. I am so not a clean-up-right-after-dinner type of person... I'm much more of a hang-out-together-and-relax,-I'll-get-around-to-the-dishes-in-the-morning type of person. But by breaking up after dinner clean-up into different steps and by all four of us doing it, dinner and dishes are cleaned up and put away in a clean kitchen in about 5 minutes. Seriously. (I say that works "theoretically" because we've let that slide big time this summer -with so many guests here and there and the radomness of summertime- but I'm excited to get back into it this week getting into more of a regular routine) The kids actually love it!

For the summer we basically ignored our "extra" jobs list that we had for school year weekends. Instead, since the kids had more free time to help with this stuff, I broke down the main housekeeping jobs into categories and assigned each job a day of the week:
  • Vacuuming and dusting is done to start off our week on Monday,
  • Tuesday, we get the all the sheets and towels washed real quick,
  • Wednesdays are our regular laundry days,
  • bathrooms get cleaned on Thursday,
  • and we do another round of vacuuming and dusting on Friday, getting ready for the weekend.
I even wrote it on the weekly calendar in our laundry room on the back of the garage door

This way of doing "chores" is more of a group effort for us... the kids switch off vacuuming or dusting the upstairs and downstairs each week, they fold towels and help make beds, sort laundry, put away their own clothes, and while I still mostly do the big bathroom cleaning (ie., toilets and tubs), they've gotten good about wiping down the counters and mirrors and taking out the garbage.
And the great thing is, when it's a group effort like that, it goes so fast! Which is a win-win for me... the kids are learning learning these life skills, contributing to our family and household, and eventually lightening my work load! For someone like me, who has never been a great housekeeper and dreads the thought of actual cleaning, it is really fun to watch that suddenly change for all of us... that doing these things regularly and together? Actually does make it so. much. easier. We never (except for laundry obv.**) spend more than about 15 minutes of our morning on our "chore of the day" total. And then it's done for the week! :)

So those "chore of the day" chores, combined with the fact that the kitchen is supposedly being kept up with by at least every evening with the afterdinner jobs, and then adding in the practice of starting the day with a standing rule for the summer (complete with a reminder sign that was flipped over the tv to greet them in the morning) that we didn't watch tv/play video games/play outside or do our "fun" for the day unless

a) beds are made and bedrooms are tidy,
b) kids' bathroom is neat with towels hanging and counter/sink wiped down if needed,
c) the living room is free of toys and mess (they use this room as an extension of their playroom)
d) the family room is straightened up

...and basically our house stays clean.
I know, novel idea, huh?
Let me tell you, for me it is!

If this summer has taught me nothing else, it's that my kids want to help. And they're actually (gasp!) good at it! They -dare I say- thrive in the responsibility and they want the pride in a job well done. As soon as I take the time to show them how to do it correctly and efficiently, they (for the most part) are perfectly willing to do these things. Because they're seeing that, in fact, if we do work together as a family, as a team, these annoying jobs that have to get done aren't really so bad and it gets done fast. And if that realization sticks with them? They'll have a much easier time in this life.
And they won't be as much of a slob as their mother. :)

I'm not sure how we're going to transition back into the school year for certain as far as household responsibilities go... we'll have to see what works best. We'll most likely just go back to our last year's school year plan with just the Saturday extra jobs for the kids. I think I'll still stick with my weekly assignment plan myself though... just breaking it down and knowing a job is getting done each day and then I don't have to think about it again for a week, works for me!

**I've seen/heard the "laundry day" vs. a little every day debate several times and mentioned it here when I very first discovered for myself the "freedom" that is having one day a week set aside for laundry. I've said it before and I'll say it again... I LOVE having just a specific laundry day. I love not having to think about laundry all week long. (doing sheets/towels on another day doesn't really really feel like laundry as it's just a few loads and so easy to put away) On laundry day, I just throw in the first load in the morning, switch them over and throw the clean clothes on my bed. I usually have between 3-5 loads to do and it's not like I have to be home all day to do it... I can pop them in and out of the machines when I'm around -and it's quick and painless because I don't fold the loads as they come out. They just get tossed in the pile. Ideally, if we have been mostly home all day, the washing and drying is all done by lunch and that afternoon I fold all the laundry on my bed while spending time in my weekly indulgence... my hour-long Wednesday date with Days of our Lives. If not, I try to fold it all before bed. So other than putting in and out of machine time, I just fold it all at once and spend probably about 30 minutes on laundry while I watch tv.
I must admit, this routine has probably taken the worst turn of all the household stuff this summer... between houseguests and trips, laundry has been thrown way off and often only gets done when it needs to. But I so hate that and I'm actually looking forward to Wednesday this week and getting back into the habit!


Anonymous said...

this post is great! i'm bookmarking it for later! i also feel like i am JUST getting a routine down (mostly for myself). so once i feel more comfortable with that, i think i'm going to work on one for max (and a very small one for viv), too. i'm so glad to hear it's working!

Mom said...

I am going to try and have an attitude like Sawyers...then my jobby jobs won't seem so boring and routine!!! XOXOXOXOXO

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