Just as children rely heavily on and function better with a routine, so do I. In truth, I become extremely overwhelmed by the amount of housework that comes with having 3 young children. It is a lot of work being the Main Operating Manager (MOM) that runs a family. With every child we've had, the housework nearly doubles. Then add my daycare business to the mix and I'm suddenly drowning in household responsibilities. So on several different occasions, we have tried hiring help, but even that is costly and, at the end of the day, I was still left with a feeling of dissatisfaction, because it wasn't being done by me, myself, and I...I know, I know...what am I? Crazy, right? This is a real concern that I have about myself. I am a perfectionist. When Ken steps up and pitches in and it's not done the way I like it to be done, I redo it, in turn wasting his time and efforts and making more work for myself. I just prefer doing things myself and I depend so much on order and routine that I knew I needed to come up with a plan of action; a schedule of sorts that would help ease the burden of my endless To Do List, making it easier and allowing me to actually get it done.
The schedule above is the final product after years of trial and error; this is the schedule that works best for me and my family. Some people prefer to put off housework until the weekend and then spend an entire Saturday or Sunday cleaning. I used to be this way...before kids. I used to knock out all of the housework in 2 hours. BOOM. Done!...but then motherhood happened and suddenly that two hour cleaning window on a Saturday became more and more unrealistic. I now long for a clean and tidy house TO ENJOY on the weekend so I try to get it all done throughout the week.
I quickly discovered the downside to living in a bigger home, as well: the amount of time required to clean it <whomp whomp>. I, personally, felt that by breaking the housework up between the days of the week, it would make it less overwhelming for me. I'm the type of person that when I become overloaded by something, I pull away, accomplishing nothing, but if I keep my expectations realistic, on a day-to-day basis, they become more achievable, hence getting done. A win-win for me.
I've also had to learn to start accepting help. My husband has set things he's in charge of during the week as do my older children*. Being a perfectionist means having to let go of the unrealistic expectations I had on a 6 and 3 year old and accepting and appreciating their efforts. Regardless of the outcome, my sweet babies were helping me by taking a little of the weight off of my shoulders. I think it's very important to teach our children about responsibility. In the process, they're learning what it means to contribute to the family, to help keep things running smoothly, and to ease each other's burdens. I also want my children to grow up knowing that there are no set male and female responsibilities either. Each and every one of us is fully capable of helping out where needed. With a team effort, as a family, things get done quicker, leaving us more quality time, to spend together, having fun and...that's right...making more messes. Oh, the irony!
I hope that you all find this chart helpful or that it at least gives you a starting point to gaining back control of your house and figuring out a schedule or routine that works best for you and your family. Our lives are so short as it is; who wants to waste an extra second pairing up socks or cleaning that cobweb away from that dark, forgotten corner if we don't have to? We have lives to live, people! Tackle that housework and get out there and enjoy the world...
*Disclaimer: not seen on the chart above are some of our children's responsibilities. This list includes, but is not limited to, setting the table, clearing the table, helping to load and unload the dishwasher, making their beds, cleaning their rooms, helping with their laundry, feeding our pets, helping to clean sinks and wiping down counters, dusting their rooms, helping to clean windows, helping to put away groceries, and helping to make their lunches and snack bags. Ken and I base this list off of our children's ages and their physical and mental capabilities. Obviously, we, as their parents, know them best. Not all of these chores are expected of them on a daily basis but we do expect them to help and contribute. A few of the above named jobs are done more out of their interest than it being an actual "chore," as we do not discourage their efforts if they have a desire to want to learn something new.