Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chore Day

Today Karen thanked me for cleaning the microwave. It had been a while since anyone had cleaned it, aside from doing damage control by haphazardly smearing wiping up epic explosions of refried beans or popcorn butter but the other day I went to warm something up and decided enough was enough. So I gave it a good cleaning.

Or at least a decent cleaning.

My whole theory of housekeeping can be summed up by one of two phrases: "It's better than it was," or "Good enough." If you look around my house it will be plain just how low my standard of "good enough" is and your mind will be sure to run rampant with terrible imaginations of what my house looked like before it became "better than it was."

There's nothing molding anywhere (except maybe in the fridge) or anything like that and this one time we stayed on top of everything for a full week. But I can only keep things picked up for a day (or two if I'm lucky). Our house just usually looks like the aftermath of an explosion of...stuff—papers, toys, clothes, shoes, socks (especially socks), little velcro pieces from quiet books, that sort of thing—and I'm *this close* to accepting that as a fact of [my] life.

It's more lack of organization than anything else.

Anyway, Karen joked that we need Jacob back. He's been out of the MTC on the mission long enough to have gone through a transfer. He has a new companion who he is really enjoying and is excited to get to work. That boy knows how to work. I'm not saying he always works hard or well or anything but he certainly can work both hard and well when he applies himself. And he usually cleaned the microwave while he was living at home, so, yeah—we're kind of missing him.

I told Karen that I didn't mind cleaning microwaves at just takes me a while to get around to things like that. There are so many other things to do, so many daily tasks—dishes and children and cooking and toy-picking-upping and diapers and laundry and working and sweeping and so forth—that the non-dailies get pushed aside. Papers pile up on my desk and the floor goes unvacuumed for longer than it should and the tub certainly doesn't get scrubbed near often enough and the microwave starts developing tomato sauce stalactite but at least the children are decently fed and I have a constant supply of clean diapers and there is plentiful evidence that my children play. Like I said, I am *this close* to fully accepting this stage of my life.

A while ago (who knows how long ago?) I was vacuuming on a random afternoon in the middle of the week. Andrew came home while I was doing so and asked me what I was doing. I told him I was vacuuming and may or may not have used the word "duh" when I did so.

"Why?" he asked innocently. Then he informed me that "Friday is chore day."

The funny thing about living in Andrew's childhood home is that, in some ways, he's reverted back to childhood.* Chore day!? Really!? My whole life is "chore day."

"I really don't think your mom will mind if I vacuum on a Wednesday instead of on a Friday," I told him, "Because...I'm vacuuming."

I remember Saturday morning chores at my house growing up—the kind that have to be done before you can play—and I imagine that my "chore day" growing up was very similar to Andrew's "chore day." I can't wait until our kids are old enough for "chore day!" I think it will probably get implemented as soon as they volunteer to sweep the kitchen floor and I say, "Sweet! Go for it! Here's the broom! Do you want to mop, too?" instead of, "Oh, dear....Ummm...I want you to help, I really do...but....Okay, okay! Put the broom down now before you gouge someone's eye out!"

If the whole "volunteering to sweep" thing doesn't pan out chore day will begin when they are fully capable of wielding a broom.

*I'm not going to lie: I have, too. Sometimes it's just nice to be taken care of a little...


  1. You summed up my feelings exactly! I always wish I was more on top of my house, but no matter how hard I try, there's ALWAYS something else to do. And, like you, I am *this close* to accepting it. But it's hard to do. Someday, my kids will be old enough to help or maybe someday I will be strict enough to make them actually pick up after themselves. And then, someday, my house will be as clean as my mom's. Someday...

  2. We just started chores at my house with the girls. They are in charge of making their beds, brushing their teeth, picking up their toys at the end of the day, reading scriptures, saying prayers, and then once a week or more depending on my mood, they empty the dishwasher, set the table, and vacuum the rug. Of course, Eloise needs help with all of these things, but we had FHE on work and how we all work as a team and Evelynn seems enthusiastic... for now. It'll probably be more work for me in the beginning, but we'll see how it goes.

  3. I am looking forward to chore day, in part too. But, only when my kid (s) willingly submit to doing them.

    Also, I was just telling Richard yesterday, our lives would be less complicated, and clean all the time if we just got rid of all of our stuff. instead, it's Christmas time, and things keep popping up..... (I know, kinda early).

  4. I hated hated HATED chore day growing up. Now I see no reason to believe there is ANY better way. *sigh* I'm just looking forward to a day when Tommy knows that he can not only pull everything OUT on to the floor, he can pull it back INTO a bin. Doesn't that sound nice?