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MOM-ents: Housekeeping Math

Meghan wonders why having 2 extra pairs of hands makes housework take five times as long.

Basic housekeeping math goes like this:  if you skip two chores on Monday, and two chores on Tuesday, how many chores will you have on Wednesday?  The answer:  fifty.  I don’t know how slacking on one day multiplies your work over ten fold for the next day, but that is the way it works.

Keeping the house livable is like treading water.  You never actually get anywhere and you never get to rest, or else you are a dead man. 

Add to this my kids (God bless them) want to be helpful, so a chore that takes me five minutes will take fifteen with their help (just another way housekeeping math is different than regular math).  Add this to the fact that I hate all things housework to begin with, doubling and tripling the time spent on it is a nightmare. 

Being the awesome mother that I am, I want to encourage their interest in helping out around the house, so I feel bad when they come to help and I don’t include them.  This is why I try to sneak off while they are busy so I can empty the garbage or dishwasher without four extra little hands. 

Have you ever tried to empty a dishwasher while being completely silent?  It is not easy.  As soon as the first coffee cup hits the cupboard shelf I hear 2-4 little feet padding rapidly into the kitchen. 

Ironically, Ryann can hear me take the lid off of the garbage can from upstairs in her bedroom, but can’t hear me ask her to put her pajamas on until the 1500th time I ask.

For most tasks around the house, I try to include things that they can do.  If I am cleaning the counter, Ryann can wipe up her play kitchen and the kitchen table.  If I am cooking, she can pour things into the bowl, mix, etc.  If I need to clean the bathroom, she can scrub the bowl with a toothbrush while I do the mirror (I wish).  Matthew loves to push the dirt around with the broom and is in charge of all tupperware organizing in the kitchen. 

I know that I didn’t invent these ideas, and I don’t know how old they will be before I will never have to clean the kitchen floor again (one of my most despised tasks).  When it comes to chores I hate, I would rather ask/bribe/threaten them as many times as it takes to avoid doing it myself no matter how long it might take.  Until then, I will be in the kitchen with the lights off cleaning out the fridge in silence.

Peggy jernigan November 14, 2011 at 12:50 PM
keep encouraging them to help--if you wait until they're old enough to make a significant contribution to include them in the work they'll be wiser and wont be able to--their legs will be weak or they'll be feeling sick....
Lindsey Hale November 14, 2011 at 02:06 PM
Delaney loves to spray and wipe windex and sweep. The other day she asked if she could clean the toilet. If she could fold and put away the laundry I'd be all set!
Tracy Loger November 14, 2011 at 02:43 PM
I give my kids the job of cleaning off their toys, (play kitchen, play table, etc) and it seems to make them happy and keep them occupied, and keeps the toys clean:) I give them a clorox or lysol wipe to use then they wont spray things in their eyes. Plus, they enjoy making their beds (and sometimes mine) I let them pitch in on other things too, but some days you just have to get it done quickly LOL! Plus, in 24 hours it is going to look like you did nothing anyway!
Meghan Everly November 15, 2011 at 10:30 AM
Tracy, I wish it would stay nice for 24 hours :) Your kids must sleep a lot ;)

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