Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Top 10 List: Things This Mom Does that Nobody Notices

Above all the other jobs I have, I am a wife and mother and run our household. My husband has grown to see the advantages of the way I run the house (phone alarms, baby! and lots of them!). My kids are getting older - growing in independence and wisdom like they should - but seem stunted in ways that they can help care for our home even though I have a chore chart. Last summer, I came up with a chart of what was expected of them every day and every week before they were allowed to do what they wanted/request an activity or before we left the house for whatever activity we planned (pool, library, Here is the list:
Empty Dishwasher, Sweep Kitchen, Tidy TV Room, Bring Down & Start a Load of Laundry, Tidy Upstairs Bathroom, Tidy Hallway, Turn off Bedroom Lights, Plan Dinner, Eat Breakfast (yes, I did have to remind them to eat breakfast - this is not a problem during the school year as it's part of the routine but over the summer, there's a looser routine)
Clean Toilet & Sink (2), Sweep Entire Downstairs, Vacuum Bedrooms, Mop Kitchen, Mow Lawn (it's really small and since we have a man-powered push mower, even the little one can do it), Bi-Weekly: bring recycling to curb (trash is backyard service)

As you will read on, a lot of these chores are on my list of things that nobody notices. I thought having the kids do them would help them see them and the value of them but, alas, it did not help.

1 - Sweep the kitchen. Yes, it is a chore that I have technically delegated to my children but they never do it without a significant amount of nagging or picking fights while doing it (dishes person is in the way of the sweeper, they fight and BOTH LEAVE THE ROOM!). Also, we picked up a couple of evening activities - soccer, Tae Kwon Do, cub scouts, girl scouts, PTA, volunteers - and it leaves less time in the evening. I'd also rather not start off my morning with nagging so I've taken to sweeping after they leave for the bus. I could totally make this an after school chore but that would mean spending the day stepping on crumbs and dirt (shoe-free house). I have the kids sweep on Sundays when we're doing the rest of the deep house decluttering. One actually said to me, "Mom, there are way less crumbs on the floor than there was last summer." SMH
2 - Pick Up the Trash That Doesn't Make it into the bin. Really, do I have to explain this further? Sometimes, unnamed people leave trash on the counter next to the bin. Sometimes they are adult unnamed people. There's no top on the trash can and I'm usually pretty good at taking the trash out before it gets too high so there's no explanation for this. I understand the paper/plastic trash that sometimes falls on the ground next to the bin - static, funny air currents and such - but on the counter next to the bin is just as much, if not more work. This doesn't count the trash that's left willy-nilly around the house.
3 - Recycling. This kind of goes with trash but I find it an entirely different category and my husband is pretty guilty of this. I try to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible. We actually don't often have a lot of trash (this month is an exception b/c of all the tissue use with allergies) as I buy in bulk to reduce packaging, bring my own reusable doggy bag, use fabric sandwich bags, compost and recycle as much as can be recycled. I used to have to do it all but I moved paper recycling indoors to the laundry room and after considerable effort and nagging, everyone helps with that. But plastic and glass recycling have not been
4 - Clearing the Breakfast Table. Along with sweeping, I end up clearing the breakfast table after everyone gets on their buses. I'm the only one home during the day so the one one it will bother for 7 hours (x5 days per week - that's a lot of time to build resentment). My 8 year old cereal eater is the biggest offender since he is decidedly not a morning person and struggles to get out of bed, chose clothes (we've tried picking out clothes the night before and a week at a time and there are tears of "but I don't want to wear that now" - please, Chesterfield County, decide that uniforms are a good thing!) and get downstairs in time although the girls and hubby often leave their plates out too.
5 - Find the Dirty Dishes that Missed the Sink. I have a "No Food or Drinks Outside of the Kitchen" rule that's so rarely followed that I put up signs and caution tape last spring. I was tired of finding plates, cups bowls and silverware, not to mention packaging trash, in the living room without anyone noticing. The kids do the dishes and will sometimes even miss dishes that are on the table or next to the sink so I walk around the downstairs and bring all dishes to the sink while the dishes are being done. I should walk around hubby's office b/c I've noticed that we are missing quite a few drinking cups since he started this online class...
6 - Gardening. Did you know that you actually have to do some work regularly in the garden to keep it looking like it does? The big projects they notice, like the brick that I laid recently, but not one noticed the 30 bags of mulch I put down or the fact that I weeded and mowed the lawn and planted that huge flat of annuals that will probably die before the summer heat really hits. I need to buy a wheelbarrow...
7 - Sweeping outside. As I've mentioned before, we live in a heavily treed neighborhood. We get tree litter (sticks, leaves, seeds, "helicopters", acorns, gumballs, flower petals, etc) constantly and the dense squirrel population likes to dig in planters year 'round so I sweep the porch, side steps and deck often - at least one of those a day. It helps keep inside cleaner b/c they're less likely to track stuff in. The other day, I asked my kids to sweep the side steps before it started raining and they said, "but we just did that a couple days ago!" SMH
8 - Maintaining the Calendar. Other than the fact that it's necessary to maintain a calendar if you have to consider another person's schedule, it's thankless anyway. The kids don't notice that I maintain it, and make sure that they get to their activities, that I get to things that I need to get to for them, that hubby and I get to places for us (think doctors and dates).
9 - School Supplies. I maintain the bucket-o-supplies. It's actually grown from one bin to one bin and a box. I make sure they have paper, pencils, and erasers. No one ever tells me when we are running low so I have to consistently look at supplies that I do not use!

10 - Planning, Shopping for and Making Dinner. No one notices those parts, they only remember when I don't do those things...

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