Monday, January 24, 2011

Mom to Mom: The joys of child labor

Seriously, why do I ever put myself on a blog deadline? It is a surefire jinx. Since I was going to post my mom tips today, 5/6 of my family (so far not me - please Lord, not me) have gotten sick. Flu? Strep? Croup? Not sure but everyone is home today in varying degrees of aches and whines.

So I will just post one of my mom tricks but I have to tell you, this is my fave.

I did not come from a large family, nor did Walker. So I constantly feel like I am reinventing the wheel. I realized sometime last year that we had fallen into a pattern of me doing 90% of the work to make this household run. Which meant I was constantly exhausted and guess what - bitter. Resentful. Aggravated.

Not the best ingredients for creating a joyous home.

Ike's former speech therapist came from a poor family in the Texas Valley with five kids. I asked her how her mom handled it, and she said, "My mom always said: More kids doesn't mean more work, it just means more workers."

That moment should be the main exhibit at the Missy Lightbulb Moment Hall of Fame.

So, after a long discussion with Walker and a long discussion with Dr. Google, I developed chore charts.

I was under the mistaken notion that my kids, ages 4-7, were too little to really help around the house. And, in a lot of ways, they are. They can't tackle any of my big chores like cooking and laundry. But there are about eleventy million little chores I do all day long, and just delegating those little chores has made a huge difference in my life.

The kids are making their lunches now. They are putting away their own laundry and unload the dishwasher - my two least favorite things to do. They brush their teeth and clean their rooms without me having to say it 20 times.

And the toilets get flushed. 

If I added up the time it takes for them to do these little things, I bet it shaves an hour off my day. And that deserves a hallelujah.

Each child's chores are tailored to their developmental ability. Some things have proven to be too difficult (like loading the dishwasher) so they were removed. Maggie's chore chart has pictures since she is barely reading.

I also added things in there for my own reminding. For instance, read a book to mom. Say memory verse. Hug everyone in your family. And best of all, no matter how hectic our mornings may be, each child is individually prayed over by me or Walker.

I made the chore charts in a Word doc, and I print a morning and an afternoon list once a week. This makes it very easy to add or remove chores as needed, like, write a thank you note for birthday presents, or take medicine, like Erin mentioned. (I think I'm gonna add 'take your vitamins' because we always forget that.) I print the charts on the back of the endless papers they bring home from school cause I'm a reduce/reuse/recycle kind of girl.

At the top of the page, I cut and paste a picture by doing a google search for 'black and white line drawing images' of princesses or whatever.

How are the chores enforced? Well, my kids can quote the last half of 2 Thessalonians 3:10:


If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.

Chores must be completed before breakfast and dinner. And what if they aren't? Feel free to ask a certain cute blond girl if she likes going to bed without any supper. 


I managed to turn the word docs into jpegs (pretty proud of myself) so you can see what our's look like.







So there ya go.

Last week y'all left some of the BEST tips - be sure and go read the comments here.

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