Posts Tagged ‘chores

It’s quarter past five. I have got the kitchen into a state where I can actually mop the floor. I have also…mopped the floor. And tidied the hall (the smallest, and therefore most manageable room on the ground floor).

That’s it. Well, from the official list, anyway.

Other things I have done:

  • Checked my emails. About five times.
  • Looked on Facebook. More than five times.
  • Played a silly computer game. Well, dipped in and out a few times.
  • Played a different silly computer game.
  • Picked up oldest one from school.
  • Cuddled smallest one when she bumped her head, though I saw her do it and I still can’t quite work out how.
  • Watched young musician of the year on the iPlayer.
  • Which all goes to show that I would rather be doing anything but housework.

    I like the idea of the timer, and I am saddened that I couldn’t sort something out on that front. It does help you to focus, which is why I have been more successful with this before.

    Now, what I want to do now is cook dinner, get the kids to bed and worry about the rest of the housework tomorrow. However, another favourite saying of good old Flylady is ‘You are not behind! Just jump in where you are.’

    She has a point. If I do the rest of this tomorrow, I won’t be able to do tomorrow’s things tomorrow. It’s all about not trying to be perfect. Just doing what you can do. It’s still a heck of a lot better than not doing it at all, which is how I was prior to using Flylady’s methods.

    So, here are a couple of realistic ‘after’ photos. Those of you who know me well will already know that this is quite good for me. Those of you who don’t can feel relief that there is someone out there whose battles with the housework can put any such battles of your own into perspective.

    Note the dying flowers on the table that I keep forgetting to throw away.

    See the counters are just as messy (second dishwasher run is due), but the floor is clear!

    I managed to declutter everything off the hall floor. But it still desperately needs a hoover…

    And smallest one will have to suffer through another night of mess. Oh well.

    And upon that note, I declare the challenge a partial success. Sort of.


    Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.netWhen I last talked about the kids, I was saying how helpful they were when we were camping.

    Amazingly, oldest one is now being even more helpful than that.  Let me explain why.

    A while back, I got fed up with nobody helping at all, so did pocket money on a new system.  They have a book. Each time they do a chore, they earn 10p, and I write it in their book.

    We went a while with nobody earning anything much.  I hadn’t been to the toy shop, which meant they hadn’t been lured by the vivid shades of plastic to want to save up for anything.

    Then, late last week, oldest one got fed up with never being allowed to use mine or loved one’s computer when he wanted to, so he decided that it was time to earn lots of pocket money to get himself one. After taking a moment to digest this rather dramatic U-turn, I talked it over with him, pointing out that he would have to do about ten chores a day for the best part of a year before it could be his (not to mention rules about appropriate times to use the computer, even if it was his). He was still determined.

    We haven’t managed ten chores on most days, but he is being extremely helpful nevertheless. I rather like it.  I hope it lasts and he doesn’t get fed up with it.  All this help will be worth the price of a new netbook, as well as sneaking some real-life lessons in while I’m at it.  I’m going out of my way not to do stuff so he can do it when he gets home from school.  Utterly fabulous.

    Long live bribery.

    vegadsl /

    It’s taken me years to really get this.

    When I say, ‘Darling, would you mind doing the dishwasher?’, my lovely man happily obliges.  He empties the dishwasher.

    If I’m really lucky, he’ll fill it again.  Might even press the start button.

    What he does not do, because I did not say it out loud, is, clear the counters, wipe the surfaces, rinse out the sink and sweep the floor.  Though he does occasionally empty the bin without my asking.

    Why do we say one thing and mean a whole lot more?  Is it because asking him to do all those things – even though I do them myself five days out of seven – is too much of an imposition?

    There’s the whole division of labour thing going on here for starters.  I’m the stay-at-home mum; he’s the breadwinner.  On the face of it, it should be me doing the chores every evening.  He’s working frighteningly hard, and though my ‘job’ starts at seven in the morning and doesn’t stop till bedtime, I do at least get to slow down a little in the daytime.

    So should I even be asking him to help at all?  Where does my role as housewife end?  And where does the studying fit in?

    When I started this post, I was thinking that the problem was in the communication.  I don’t say what I mean. I should articulate more.  I should clarify that when I say ‘please would you do the dishwasher’, what I mean is ‘please can you clean the kitchen’…

    But then if you look at it from his perspective, he’s knackered and just wants to go to bed.  So do I, of course, but when is my day more tiring than his?

    When we argue about it, which can happen often when we’re tired (it’s almost like we pull the same old argument out of the drawer and go through the motions, then go to bed with it still unresolved), it’s very much a point-scoring exercise.  After all, who is more tired?  Who is more deserving of going straight to bed and leaving the clearing up to the other one?

    Seriously.  I don’t have an answer.  This is why we keep arguing about it.

    I read somewhere that arguments between married/long-term couples are usually about one of three things:

    1. Money. There’s only so much in the pot.  How to spend it is always going to be a tricky issue. I remember my own parents arguing about this constantly.
    2. Sex and/or intimacy.  It’s so personal, it can be hard not to take offence if something isn’t working, or you’re not on the same wavelength.
    3. Division of labour. We’re all working so hard ourselves, we don’t see the other person working hard too, and what we don’t see we are more likely not to acknowledge.  (I’ve actually done an activity for this in my antenatal classes, it’s that common an issue in parenting)

    Number three is the biggest problem for us.  Not that it’s terrible, you understand.  I know of so many people who don’t lift a finger with the housework but play with the children all the time, and vice versa.   My lovely man is most definitely a participant on all fronts.

    It’s just a question of who peels themselves off the sofa when we’re both dog tired.  And just how much can we be expected to do.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.   With any luck, and with any clever tips from you, the next time we get this argument out of the drawer, we’ll actually resolve it.

    And with any luck I’ll get better about articulating what I want and not expecting him to mind read.

    Well, maybe.