Home > Repairing my family, work, and kids life, part 1

Repairing my family, work, and kids life, part 1

June 3rd, 2013 at 02:52 pm

I guess this is part two to my last desperate post about managing home, work, and children!

I have given it some thought and realized we need some "foundation repair." We need to have certain basic systems in place to make our lives easier and less frustrating.

I designed a magnetic menu board/chart for me. I wrote all of the common main courses, fruits, veggies, snacks, and starches we eat on heavy cardstock, laminated them, and slapped a magnet on the back. I will be using them to put together our weekly food menu, so worrying about what we are going to be eating every night at 4 p.m. will hopefully go away. The menu will go up Sunday afternoon, before I do the weekly shop.

In fall, I will add lunches to the list. Right now it's just snacks and dinners, because that is when the kids are home. In fall, my oldest will be in a.m. kindergarten and home for lunch every day, so we will add that in once we are in the groove. Here is a pic:

Next up is all of the daily household tasks. I obviously can't keep the house up all by myself, and I'm tired of living in filth. I created a "daily jobs" list not just for the kids, but for me and DH as well.

The kids chart contains the things they are expected to do everyday: schoolwork, cleaning up their toys, brushing teeth, putting their laundry down the chute, putting their dishes in the sink after meals, etc. I tried to keep it light given their ages. The goal is to not have to keep nagging and yelling at them to do these things every day.

If they do all of their jobs each day, they earn a "peanut" (a cartoon peanut used for a bulletin board), and when they earn 20 peanuts they get to do something special, like go bowling or putt putt with the parents. I'm fine tuning this part. We'll see how it goes.

Here is a pic of the kid's chart:

The adults also have daily jobs. I had to sell Dh on this because he said he is "100 percent utilized" which at first made me mad. If he's 100 percent utilized just from playing with the kids for 2 hours and working, I am running at a deficit every day! Anyway, he was more into it when I showed him the plan.

I'm hoping that if we can get into a routine wherein there isn't as much nagging,and we all know what is expected of us, that will help ease some tension around here and we can fix bigger problems.

Anyway, in addition to the laundry and dishes we both do, we each have one extra 10-minute clean-up job every day. Things like pulling out the toaster and coffee maker and wiping the counter underneath, or cleaning the inside and outside of the microwave, washing the windows in one room. Cumulatively, doing these small 10-minute tasks every day will result in a much cleaner and better looking house, without setting aside a large chunk of time to just clean (which never happens!).

In reality, the two of us doing 10 minutes extra cleaning each day amounts to 2 hours and 20 minutes of extra cleaning each week. That is nothing to sneeze at. I made and laminated 10 minute job cards, magnetized them. Each day, we pick the chore we will do and hang it on the fridge. When it's done, it goes to the bottom of the stack. We'll see how it works!

I'm determined to make changes now, while the kids are still young and pliable. As y'all mentioned and I feel, things need to change now or nothing will get better. Once the foundation issues are fixed, I can move on to bigger problems.

***Part two coming soon***

In two weeks, I will be finished with the last of my low-paid weekly freelance gigs. After that, I will see how the dust settles and what my new weekly schedule looks and feels like work-wise.

I have given some thought to some of your suggestions to limit the number of projects I take on. It looks like I've averaged 12 projects/ articles a month this year, with basically 12 hours a week of childcare. Eek. No wonder I'm losing my mind.

Once this weekly gig is gone, that will be 4-5 less each month. I am committed to a minimum of 6 or 7 each month otherwise, plus I have a large summer project that I have to complete before Aug. 1.

After I see how my schedule looks without the second weekly gig, I can see how I might schedule time for my own personal projects like my novel, etc.

Of course, this will once again change in fall, when my oldest is in school every day (even if it's only 3 hours).

And, see if I can get us on a nightly summer schedule. wherein hubby takes the kids after dinner, I take a run at the park, etc.

We'll see. Stay tuned guys. Your advice was invaluable, now it's just a question of putting it into action!

10 Responses to “Repairing my family, work, and kids life, part 1”

  1. NJDebbie Says:

    I love your picture charts for the kids! I think you are on the right track; consistency is the key. (I have a Ray too!)

  2. pretty cheap jewelry Says:

    Excellent excellent!! Incentive charts worked for for at least long enough to get to the next step and re-energize me the mom! Also the 10 min housework is my habit- go girl (and boys)!

  3. creditcardfree Says:

    Great plan! This is going to make a big difference for you. Little steps work better so keep up the great work.

  4. My English Castle Says:


  5. ceejay74 Says:

    I think those are amazing steps! Even if you only implement for a couple months, could be enough to get your life on some sort of equilibrium. We have often institute big formal changes and then found that we could get less formal about them once they'd had a positive impact on our lives.

    Or, they may end up being long-term permanent procedures, which is great too! We have a menu and grocery list spreadsheet that I never want to give up because they just work so well and are easy to maintain.

  6. PNW Mom Says:

    Looks great!

  7. ThriftoRama Says:

    Well, the good news is that the menu board and the chore cards for the kids seem to be a hit. The kids LOVE earning a card and putting it in the done folder. Hopefully the enthusiasm will stick. Hubby is even mowing the lawn, without me having to ask or nag or just do it myself, like I usually do! I also told them I was leaving after dinner, and I got in a 4 mile run. Hazzah!~

  8. snafu Says:

    My mom handed out age appropriate chores so I also had DKs doing age appropriate chores from kindergarten thru Community College when they left home for university. We used the reward/bribery system as it's easiest. By the time they were in school they could choose their preferred chores + one assigned. By grade 3 a lot of tasks that were not day-to-day were pay-for -services.
    Tykes can put laundry in a hamper and if you play music and march about, they'll bring laundry to the washer - eventually. They can practice folding hand and kitchen towels. No perfection but done is good enough for 'atta boy' and a big hug for example. DSs loved to pull sheets off beds, it was fun! By kindergarten they can take their own dishes and cutlery to table and back to DW region and chose clothes to wear tomorrow.

    We every night as part of the bedtime routine. We set the clock on the stove and everyone plays 'beat the clock' putting away toys, games, dishes, fold throws, fluff pillows, making public rooms 'company ready.' By grade two they can set and clear table. Rewards were trips to the playground/park, ice cream, gold star/silver star, visit with gran, 'helping' make cookies, going to the car wash with dad, picking the VHS/now DVD etc. Not doing daily chores meant loss of a privilege or go sit on the stairs . Until middle school most kids want to please for compliments.

  9. ThriftoRama Says:

    I can definitely see how we can use their enthusiasm to our advantage. I may add some special once a week chores, like cleaning their rooms and taking the sheets off of their beds.

    We do have a clean up song, and they run around and put toys away while it's on. It's the Hawaii 5-0 sound track (and Monster Mash if the house is extra dirty). When it starts playing, they know what it means.

  10. PatientSaver Says:

    I'm lovin' your ideas! You came up with some really great things here, for both the kids and hubby. Really nice ideas! High five!

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