Chore Expectations: A High Form Of Love | Giftie Etcetera: Chore Expectations: A High Form Of Love

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Chore Expectations: A High Form Of Love

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Each day, I sit down and write a blog entry about being organized. I teach people some new ways to plan or tricks to make doing the laundry more efficient or getting that big work project done on time. If someone didn't know my family, she might assume I do it all - housework, child care, and cooking - and do it all well.

I do not.



I love my family. I consider cooking for them a blessing. Spending time caring for my kids is a response to a calling. Helping around the house is part of my marriage vow to "love and cherish, all the days of my life."


But the blessings are multiplied when I teach my children to care for the home. The blessings grow when I allow my husband the space to love and to cherish me.

And those blessings, my Loyal Readers, only happen when I, the uber-planner control freak, let go of my expectations for perfection and let the rest of the family take over some of the chores.

For my children, this means a bathroom that is cleaned by their little five and seven year old hands, but still has a filthy spot in the corner. It means dishes that are dropped and shatter while they unload the dishwasher, without any screaming or fussing, but with a broom, a dustpan, and a damp cloth to wipe away the shards of glass. Laundry, folded nicely, gets shoved into drawers and tortured. (There is therapy available for those who twitched at the idea of wrinkled undies. Seriously. Seek counseling.)

It's all okay. I put away my Type A and tolerate the imperfection, because the gift is not a gift to me of getting to skip out on chores, but a gift TO them, of life skills and ways to bless their spouses, should they ever decide to marry.

My husband often cleans and folds the laundry, but leaves it out on the couch. (Okay, that makes my OCD twitch.) His idea of cooking supper basically consists of microwaving frozen food. And left to organize, he loses half of our possessions.

Yet, I step back and let him do a share (varying from about 40% when he is working full-time to about 10% during overtime season - and, yes, it was more like 50/50 when I worked outside of the home full time). It's hard. I often could do the same chore in half the time (and, *cough*, 100 times better).

But sharing the burden is good for him (he is useful and a real part of the family, instead of a lump on the couch asking for a beer), for the kids (who see that all adults pitch in), and me (as I get breaks from the constant demands).

Sure, I focus on the things that are easier for me. I organize and put things away. I cook (as I am a much better cook). I do a lot of the disciplining and most of the overseeing of chores and homework. Guess who plans birthday parties and keeps track of our social calendar?

But my husband reads to the kids, teaches them to ride bikes, and oversees bath time. He cleans (as he doesn't seem to get bored like I do) and takes out the heavy trash.

There is a division of labor, but it is based on our gifts and our struggles, not our gender roles. It's not exactly 50/50, but it's balanced, with a 50/50 divide on the most hated chores, and each of us taking on things that the other hates to do.

Every day, as we go about our chores, no one person is overwhelmed. The children see chores as the norm, and don't dread them as much as they would if chores was an occasional thing or if their first time doing them was as a teenager. Our house becomes our home because all four of us work, as a team, to make it one.

Families who bless the home together will experience so much joy in return. If your family isn't dividing up the labor, forget considering how unfair that that is to the main housekeeper. (Oh, it's plenty unfair. But that's not the point.) Consider how unfair it is to everyone else in the home. They are being cheated out of being a full, active member of the family.

Love and cherish your family, by setting expectations of full participation in keeping the home, feeding each other, and caring for and teaching your children.

And don't forget to have fun doing it.




Etcetera.

4 comments:

Donna McBroom-Theriot said...

This was a beautiful post. You stated everything we as married people and moms feel, but are unable to express as eloquently. You spoke of my own heart and mind and beliefs. You brought back a lot of memories for me when my daughters were young and letting go of my OCD (or blocking it for a while) to let them learn. I gave up on the undie drawer when I opened it one day and say everything topsy turvy. They then received a basket of clean underwear to do with as they saw fit - I think I remember one folding it and the other tossing it into the drawer with a gleam in her eye. lol Great post!

Giftie Etcetera said...

Thank you. It is a difficult subject for me. But so far, it's been completely worth the struggle.

Misty said...

Yes! Just this morning, we all four worked together to get our home clean for guests. We knocked it out in no time. I feel that my job as a parent is to teach my kids all the skills they will need to be independent, and caring for your home is a big part of that!

yezenia said...

Beautiful post indeed. Especially about all the adults pitching in.