Thursday, May 13, 2010

Operation Organization, Take 4. Stupid chores...

Ever since we got married, mr and I have been pretty bad at keeping up with our chores.  And when I say “pretty bad” what I mean is horrible to the point of ridiculousness.  I often use the excuse that I am busy playing with the 2’s or cuddling the baby - I mean, there are only so many years of that in a child’s life and I wouldn’t want to miss out on the action.  Plus, a very wise parenting magazine once gave me the advice: “Do not do chores during nap time.  It will suck out your soul.”  Since I would like my soul to remain in tact right where it is, thank you very much, I have tried hard to follow this advice.  It’s not easy, but somehow I manage to ignore the growing list of things I should do to get my house in order on a regular basis.  But there comes a time when the “I’m trying to enjoy their childhood” excuse must be put aside, AKA when there are no clean dishes anywhere and you’ve run out of underwear.
mr and I have tried many things to get ourselves in gear when it comes to cleaning.  Neither of us means to be a slob.  Neither of us was raised to be a slob.  If I were still living with my parents I would be grounded for life with the amount of times I’ve allowed the dishes to pile up until you can’t see the sink or the counter.  When we first moved into our house 3 years ago and we only had bug I was on top of everything.  I look back and am actually kind of amazed with myself.  Everyday I kept the house in order during nap time, and I actually enjoyed it.  I think it was “new house syndrome.”  Nothing piled up, the house was practically immaculate.  (except for the vacuuming.  That’s the one thing I don’t do.  I made it clear when we were engaged that that’s how I roll, and mr was ok with taking on that responsibility on an ongoing basis.  He claims that I “tricked” him into the cat box upkeep, though, but I swear I told him that once the kiddos came around I wasn’t allowed near it...) So, we tried me taking care of everything.  And that worked for a while.  Until I completely burnt out.  Snuffed it.  Totally.  And then, around that same time, I got pregnant, and that was the end of taking care of everything myself.  So then we tried divvying things up.  This never worked, not from the start.  There are certain unspoken’s - he does the vacuuming, I do the bathrooms.  But we still aren’t regular about things and lately I’ve really been feeling the sloppiness of our house.  Everyone knows that cleanliness is next to Godliness, so I seriously shudder to think of what WE are next to...
Truthfully, I can make all the cute, upcycled bins, caddies, and boxes in the world, but if the chores aren’t done, I won’t feel any more organized - and yes, this sure does start to affect me mentally and emotionally.
Aside from the fact that bug is getting to that age where we should be teaching him to not be a slob.  We don’t want him learning our bad habits.
We recently discussed the idea of divvying out chores and giving ourselves an allowance based on what we get done weekly.  We already give ourselves a monthly allowance out of our budget, so why not make it dependent on how well we keep the house up?  It works when you’re 12, right?
I came across this post on Somewhat Simple a while ago and realized that I may just have stumbled upon the answer.  
Stephanie at Somewhat Simple posted about one of her sponsors,  I read her post and was intrigued, but put off checking it out.  I decided that this week’s organizational goal would be to take charge of the household chaos by setting up an account.
Here’s a link to the site.  It’s a totally free management tool to help you track chores and household duties.  You just set up an account using your email address, make one (or both) of the parents the administrator, and add children to the account.  Then you can assign chores to the children.  It’s all completely customizable.  They have many chores already programmed into the site that you can just click on to add to the kids - like "mow the lawn", "load the dishwasher", "or pick up your toys". They also have routine duties listed - like "comb hair", "brush teeth", even "go to church".  BUT you can also add your own.  For instance, I added "dust ceiling fans" because, quite frankly, they are gross.  Then you customize by how often (daily, weekly, every other week, monthly) and (if weekly) which day(s).  You can then view the jobs either by child or by chore.  It’s a great way to track who’s doing what when.  So, how is this different than a magnetic chore chart, you ask?
Well, first of all, you don’t have to find a place to hang it, and that’s nice for me because I’m slowly but surely running out of wall space!  BUT ALSO, and here’s the really cool thing, you assign each chore a point value.  When the child goes online and checks off that he or she has completed a specific chore, the point value is added to his or her account.  The kids can check up on themselves and watch their points add up, which encourages them to do MORE to get even MORE points.  What you do with these points is up to you, as the parent.  Maybe each point equals one penny.  Or maybe once they get to a certain level - say 200 - you take them on a special trip where they choose what to do.  OR you could have a hierarchy of rewards depending on point values - 100 gets you a little reward, 200 gets you a special outing, 500 gets you a coveted toy, 3000 gets you to Disneyland!  (that’s what I want.)  As the parent, you determine how many points each job is worth and what the rewards will be.  You can also determine if you want your kids to check jobs off themselves or if you will check them off when they are completed.  Total parental control.  You can also print off the chores as a weekly calendar so you can put it on the fridge to remind yourselves what you need to do to.
So I set our account up today.  Ok, ok, I am perfectly aware that it says SPECIFICALLY that this is to teach KIDS to work.  I know it's a tool to help parents engage their children.  But obviously, mr and I need some nudging too.  I hope we aren't the only parents like this!   I had to list mr and I as kids, because you can’t give parents chores for some reason.  I guess when you get enough kids, you don’t have to do any cleaning anymore.  That will be my goal.  (just kidding)  mr and I are big kids anyway, so it's ok.  bug has some little chores too, so that mr and I can help him with them and teach him the importance of work.  We haven’t discussed our rewards yet.  I’m just hoping this will be a cool way to track things so they are easily accessible and give ourselves some encouragement in the process.  I'll keep you posted.
Maybe when we reach a certain number of points we’ll allow ourselves a babysitter and go out for a night on the town!

Pretty soon I am sure to look like this 1950's vacuum ad:
(I mean, who DOESN'T want to vacuum on high heels and pearls?)

Or at least like this:

Cuz I've already said vacuuming isn't my thing.  But I could really rock those yellow rubber gloves.  

1 comment:

Jen @ said...

Hi kimberly!

I need to check out that chore site. I need some help getting my kids motivated!

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