Monday, April 1, 2013

Getting Organized - The Chore Chart

Last year was a whirlwind of change and planning and more change and by the time the New Year rolled around, I was grateful to not have anything planned for a good long time. Our total life makeover was complete. We had changed just about everything there was to change about our lives in a few short years and I, for one, was ready to settle into this new world of ours and get comfy. Then Murphy had other plans and decided to throw gallbladder surgery at me.

It was an uncomplicated surgery and recovery and my sweet, sweet man took excellent care of me while I slept the better part of a week away. Upon my re-entry into the world, I saw certain things with a new clarity. One of those things was the need to involve the entire family in taking care of our home. This had long been a challenge for me. 

It isn’t that I didn’t know it needed to be done. I was well aware each and every time I got up hours earlier than my family (weekends included) to forge ahead at the never ending piles of laundry, bills, shopping, cleaning, cooking. And it isn’t that nobody ever offered to help. There were moments when my frustration was evident and kids and adults alike knew from looking at me that they had better take out the freaking garbage or I might lose my shit. But it was unorganized assistance that was poorly timed and unskilled, usually resulting in a break of my flow and another, bigger, pile of work.

Something had to give.

First of all, I had to stop letting some of the kids’ reticence about us even being a family get in the way of organizing us like one. Like it or not, we had become the new normal, a blended “Brady-bunched” family and it was time to start acting like one, and time for me to start running it like one. What do children in families have? They have chores. Enter the chore chart.

With a family as large as ours with movements as complex, it was important to make something flexible. Mr. T’s kids are with us every weekend while mine spend time with their dad every other weekend. Sometimes, Lil’ Mama will spent time at her friend’s house, sometimes a different kid will be absent. This needed to be a nimble system that allows us to make quick changes to accommodate in some other way than me doing the work.

It has become the centerpiece of our kitchen and has virtually eliminated my feeling stressed or anxious about keeping the house in order. Mealtimes used to be tense and exhausting. Nothing ever was kept up with and it always seemed like we were bordering on the place turning into a flop house. Now, everyone knows their job and can see what other people are tasked with. 

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