Did that get your attention? I know it sounds pretty gross, but that’s not what this post is about. It’s about delegating.

You know, the C word…Chores

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I started homeschooling in  1997, right after my fourth child was born.  This was when things officially got challenging.

Up until that point, I was a busy young mother. Laundry and keeping up with Brendan, Bridget, and Kelly and a newborn Keegan definitely were enough to fill my days.  So it made perfect sense to completely throw my entire world into a proverbial wind tunnel and see if I could keep all the pieces from hitting the ground.

So I decided to homeschool.

I did all the planning and bought all the books. I set up a separate schoolroom in the house. I even bought cubbies! Labor Day approached and the kids and I were beside ourselves with excitement.  When Tuesday morning came, they were up at the crack of dawn, ready for school. It was hands down,  one of my favorite days of all 20+ years of homeschooling.

Week one went great. The kids were fantastic and they were so enthusiastic. Every night Dad would come home from work and they were full of stories about everything they had learned that day. Math! Spelling! Everything was so new and we were all loving every minute. I had so much adrenaline, I was a super mom. Laundry? No problem! Dinner at 6? You bet!

Then week two started. Still, all was good. I was a little less over-the-moon, but we had a great week nonetheless.

Week three. “You guys get started on your spelling, I’ll be there as soon as I get the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher.”

“Ok, I can help you in a minute, I just need to get this load of laundry started.”

“OK! Gimme a sec! I need to finish cleaning the- Hey! Who didn’t put the milk back in the fridge!” My tone was beginning to change.

My patience was deteriorating. Quickly . It wasn’t long before I realized something needed to change. I just wasn’t sure what it was. I talked to my husband. He, as always, offered to try to help. But I knew he was busy, and wouldn’t be able to help on a regular basis. I also knew I couldn’t handle doing laundry at 9 pm. Homeschooling was still my priority, but I was exhausted. And we were living out of laundry baskets…something which had never been the case before and I wasn’t too thrilled about it.

That’s about when it hit me. I had three extra sets of capable hands and Microsoft Excel! I could make a chore chart!

So I did. I picked about three chores for each kid to do each morning that was age appropriate. Empty the dishwasher, load the dirty dishes, Can a seven-year-old Brendan learn how to work the washing machine? You bet they can…with proper training. Especially if five-year-old Bridget sorts the laundry and brings it to the bathroom. Feed the dog? I discovered that three-year-old Kelly can be taught how to do that. Who knew?

I figured out that rotating the chores meant that they didn’t get sick of them as quickly and were more likely to pay attention, you know, keep it fresh! They were responsible for each chore on each day. I even set up an evening chore chart.

You guessed it. They learned how to do the dinner dishes. They learned how to work together. They learned how to hold each other accountable. All good skills for kids.

And I  got way less stressed. They were happy. I was happy. And Dad didn’t have to the laundry at night, most of the time.

It was the second best decision I ever made…next to homeschooling.


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One thought on “I haven’t Done The Dinner Dishes Since 1997

  1. “Feed the dog? I discovered that three-year-old Kelly can be taught how to do that. Who knew?”

    Two-year-old Maddy likes to feed the cat. So much so that now my cat is fat. Lol. We need to work on “just one scoop”.

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