Being a mom of many requires either a lot of delegation, a lot of frustration or a lot of exhaustion. You choose. LOL! I like for the kids to pitch in and help whenever possible. For the younger children, it helps to keep them out of trouble if I let them work along with me while the older children are working on school. That being said…. the 8 jobs I try not to do….
1. Pick up toys. I believe that if a child is able to get toys out to play with, they are also capable of picking them up. Our children have loved putting toys away even as little children – so much so that we have had several who would dump out their toys just so they could pick them up again! (Yes, they do outgrow that pretty quickly, although they all do a good job of cleaning up after themselves when told.) The basic food preparation and management of a household of our size requires a lot of time and energy, so I don’t have extra time to spend cleaning up toys. I am fairly lenient about letting the kids keep projects out that they are still working on or block creations that they want to continue building. We do try to have things straightened up every evening, even if the block creations never come apart. As long as I can walk through the house at least at one point in the day without stepping on a bunch of stuff, I am happy. 🙂
2. Carry laundry. Several years ago, I did away with all of my laundry baskets but one. We have one basket for transporting dirty clothes. That’s it. I always select a child (sometimes with a younger buddy) to get me dirty laundry from upstairs when I am ready for it. Our washer and dryer are in the kitchen, so I try not to keep a lot of dirty laundry in there. I said TRY. LOL! Our laundry piles up really quickly. This past Saturday I did laundry for over 12 hours straight and it still wasn’t finished! And I was caught up a few days before! But this is not a laundry topic. Why did I do away with laundry baskets? Well, because I wanted to keep myself from taking clean clothes out of the dryer and piling it in baskets. Now I have to fold it as it is finished. I stack it in piles by child on top of the washer and dryer and they put their own clothes away. The older ones help put the younger one’s clothes away. Their drawers are not always immaculate, but they do a pretty good job of keeping them somewhat in order.
3. Load/unload the dishwasher. This is usually a team job, unless someone is on break while waiting for their turn on the computer. This morning Ellie (2) and Jacob (4) unloaded the dishwasher completely on their own. The older children rinse dishes and load after meals. This gives me more time to put away any leftovers or take care of whatever else I need to after meals. Even Essie (just turned 1) loves to try to help. She gets the clean silverware out and hands it to whoever is putting it away.
4. Vacuum. This is one of those simple jobs that even my youngest children like to do, as well. I will let Ellie vacuum in a room for a while before delegating the job of finishing it up to someone older.
5. Empty trash cans. This is usually one of the jobs I put on team cleaning lists. The kids fly around the house and get it done in record time.
6. Make beds. Everyone makes their own bed, right down to Ellie. They don’t always look Mommie-made, but I am happier having them do it themselves and learn young than wearing myself out trying to get the house looking like a showplace every day. The children even like to take turns making our bed. Ellie did it completely by herself (on a voluntary basis) the other day. She was so excited (I was, too!!). 🙂
7. Shovel snow. The boys love to do any shoveling that the tractor can’t get. Isaac spends a long time outside making extensive paths leading to the car or wherever else needs to be done.
8. Weed the garden. This is another job the children do well at! Often Mark or I will work along side of them, but if we each take a row (or I delegate rows while working on something else), a lot gets done without a whole lot of effort to any one person.
So there you have it. Nothing overly surprising, but what works for me. 🙂
A city in progress…