So, I am not one for New Year’s resolutions. I actually hate them. To me, it’s like saying, “lets make goals we will for sure and for certain fail at.” While I know this isn’t necessarily true, I am the personality that doesn't like to try things unless I’ll be good at them….flaw. Fatal flaw. So, I tend to just have some things I’d like to change or modify, but I don’t really set any lofty goals on December 31…I tend to wait until some random date.
This year, as I was reflecting on the Christmas season and the year in general, I was trying to evaluate ways I could either make my life easier (ya right!), or ways to simplify. While I solved neither of these problems, I did realize, that while we had a wonderful Christmas, I was wiped afterward. Granted, my husband works in retail, so I carry much of the “December load.” But still. Wiped. The pinterest Megan also takes over for much of the Christmas season. I want to make all the Hallmark memories and the “reality” Megan’s screams for a nap tend to be squashed, but still. Wiped.
So, as I sat and prayed and pondered I realized a huge part of the exhaustion was because I was functioning as the household servant. While it could be argued this is another adjective for mom, nope. Not in this house. I realized that I have 4 fully capable children (and one destructive one year old) that are not carrying their load. I also realized this was my fault. In the craziness of life, other than requiring my kids to occasionally make their bed and put the dishwasher away, I was doing it all. Mostly because it is usually waaaaay easier than chasing down a child to do a task, having said child complain, correcting the complaining child, having the child do the chore half heartedly, then me going behind and redoing the chore because of said child’s laziness. Parenting is super fun. So, I fell into the pattern of just doing it myself (or always asking my go to kid (the adopted one, I’m starting to think that is the key. Just adopt)).
This was my 2017 epiphany, I am raising adults. My children aren’t going to wake up at 18, after having their indentured servant (me!) do everything for them and suddenly say, “wow! I can totally do this adulating thing. Give me all the laundry and dishes and messes, I got this!” Um. No. While it is a royal pain in my Butt to train them when I could certainly do the task quicker, I am doing my kids a disservice. They have to be TRAINED and then HELD ACCOUNTABLE. I don’t knowabout your kids, but mine are rotten. They hedge their bets, hoping that when I ask them to do something I will forget, they can run off, and then eventually I’ll just do it. Nope. not this year kids!
So, My plan. I made a list of all the chores. Daily chores, Weekly chores and all the schoolwork that is required. Another important factor in all of this is that my children learn to be self directed. Just as they won’t wake up at 18 knowing how to adult, they also won’t wake up being experts at managing their time. So, I made a list for all the kids. The rule is that, when they complete all the tasks on their chart AND (here is the kicker) I check them and approve, they can have their device (commence my love/hate relationship with electronics). They can get it all done quickly, or dilly dally and they can choose to waste screen time and outside play time if they choose to not be diligent (any guesses which kid likes this tactic best…insert eye roll).
While the initial stages of this is exhausting because I have to be on my game at all times and I have to teach and train each child in each task to make sure they understand my expectation for how I want the task completed. My hope is that within a few weeks of being consistent much of my load will decrease because all the capable humans in my house will be carrying a fair load. Now, I will say, I have to take lots of deep breaths, because they are 9, 7, and 5 so it takes all my self control to not jump in and DO the task for them. Some of their techniques are, shall we say, creative, and watching said techniques makes me want to internally combust because they are not doing it the way I would do it, but that is not how they will learn.
A little side note. A long while back I wrote a blog about positive parenting and using incentive charts to train and encourage my little people to obedience. (You can find that blog here) While I whole heartedly still agree with all of this, and Rose is quickly coming up in the ranks of needing this, my children are now at an age where they can obey and carry responsibility without positive feedback at every step. While I do encourage them during the whole task, they don’t get a sticker or a reward after each said task.
Here are the super simple charts I made. While I would have loved to make some beautiful, pinteresty chart I don’t know how to do that and “aint nobody got time for that.” (feel free to submit your pinteresty charts directly to me) So computer paper and sharpies it is! Also enjoy the delightful reality of Rose drawing on the window while we were creating our charts to keep a clean and organized house (insert face palm).