House & Home

The Trouble with Chores

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How does your family deal with housework? Do you have a chore wheel? Is it all up to mommy? Do you have a schedule or clean as needed?

A long time ago, I created a cleaning schedule: one major chore per weekday, with the weekends designated for rest and/or projects. (Also, my husband vacuums on either Saturday or Sunday. I had a job that involved a lot of vacuuming and I came to hate it, so we agreed that if I always did the bathrooms, he’d always do the vacuuming. This was pre-kids, pre-dog, pre-house-with-a-yard-and-muddy-puddles.)

On Mondays, I did laundry.

On Tuesdays, I cleaned the bathroom.

On Wednesdays, I dusted (theoretically).

On Thursdays, I–scrubbed the kitchen, I think?

On Fridays, I…


Anyhow, the Monday and Tuesday schedule pretty well stuck (though now I do laundry just about every day–Monday is now the day we change the sheets) but by Wednesday, I always lose steam. I know I had chores assigned to the rest of the week but I so rarely did them. Maybe they felt less important than clean clothes and soap scum.

The other problem: I don’t like schedules. I’m a free spirit, I guess. I try to organize, make lists, create routines–it just doesn’t work for me. But winging it doesn’t necessarily work, either. I say, “I’m going to clean the house!” and I end up making a painting (because there was a blank space on the wall that was driving me crazy and the house would look so much better with a painting there and while it’s not technically cleaning it is sprucing up…right?)

I quite often tell myself I just need to grow up. Get with the program. Go with the flow. Or, resist the flow. I don’t know. And I don’t know what growing up is, either. And I don’t know the best way to get the gunk out of the corners of the shower or when exactly to use OxyClean. I don’t even know how to spell OxyClean. (OxiClean? Oxy Clean?)

I do know I don’t want to live in squalor. I know my husband is happier when the house isn’t trashed, and since he’s a neat freak who has a tendency to stress out about everything, it’s a simple kindness for me to create a more peaceful environment at home. I know my kids will benefit from learning some basic cleaning habits. I just wish they were old enough to effectively do chores.


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