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A clean sweep August 20, 2013

Posted by mareserinitatis in family.
Tags: , , , ,

For the past year or so, we had enlisted the services of housekeeper because I was just simply overwhelmed with everything.  However, I’ve decided that I need to cut back a bit on my time at work so I can spend more time on my thesis as I also have a class to teach this fall.  We decided that the drop in pay was about the same as the housekeeper.  Given the housekeeper was having a hard time doing all the stuff within the given time, it seemed like the obvious answer was to let him go and have everyone pitch in around the house for the same amount of time.

When I was a kid, my sisters and I were expected to do the majority of the cooking and cleaning.  My parents jokingly referred to us as ‘slave labor,’ though I have to admit to not finding much humor there.  Realistically, though, it was the only way to make things work as my parents were working…a lot.

I’m still not crazy about the slave labor idea, though, even for my own kids (as appealing as certain aspects of it may be).

The first thing I did was to make a schedule for myself to see when I would actually have some time for housekeeping.  I need 2-3 hours per week, and knowing myself, I need it to be consistent.  It ended up being Saturday morning.  After that, I listed all of the chores I would like done around the house.  I then assigned a monetary value to each chore so that the total for all chores was a bit lower than what we were paying the housekeeper.  The chore list goes up on the wall on Sunday, and the kids put their initials next to every chore they do.

Here’s the kicker: the kids get paid for every chore they do between Sunday and Friday (except for anything in their room, like vacuuming).  I initially thought I would assign rooms to each kid, but it turned out that some of the chores are easier for younger son to do and some for older son.  Once we get to Saturday morning, though, and I have to help, they don’t get paid for any of that time.  My goal is to provide some economic incentive for them to get things done before Saturday so that I can have some down time to wear my slippers around the house.

The first week didn’t go so well, but that’s to be expected.  I actually set some time aside after supper on Friday so that they could get going on things.  Even with that, there was still about half of the items left this morning.  It’s obvious that it may take a couple weeks of doing this before they’re able to function completely on their own as they had a lot of questions about how to do things and where the various tools were hiding.  I’m also a bit worried that, with extracurricular activities and homework for the younger one that this will all get left for Friday evenings/Saturday morning.  However, there were no complaints, even though they weren’t getting paid for part of it, which is a huge difference from prior attempts to get them involved in housekeeping.  In fact, I frequently got the question, “What can I do next?”

It certainly was easier to have a housekeeper, but I genuinely appreciate that everyone is pitching in and willing to work.  I just hope that morale doesn’t dwindle as time goes on…and that applies to the adults, too.



1. Anandi Raman Creath (@anandi) - August 20, 2013

Wow, awesome work coming up with a schedule and incentive plan. Good luck to you! I love having someone to clean my house, even though I’m home all day, have kids that still nap (ish) and *could* do it myself. I HATE cleaning bathrooms so much, that I would scrape and scrounge to find the $$ for it. The rest I’m fine with doing, though.

I am fully taking advantage of T’s preschool desire to be helpful as I know that won’t last 🙂 She puts away silverware and cutting boards, and all of her laundry, for the occasional quarter per task. She keeps her own room and toys picked up for no pay, though.


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