Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chore spec sheets

This weekend I was really disappointed to see Just How Bad things can get when Mom does not stay on top of the kids house. I had my semi-annual meltdown (yes, complete with sobs of, "I'm a failure!" and "I'm ruining the kids!!" and "I'll never catch up!").

Dennis knows this is coming after an unusually busy couple of weeks with an unusual lack of sleep. I NEED MY SLEEP or the world is just an awful, awful place.

Dennis (the wise man that he is) was quick to reassure me that our kids are turning out fine and that I'm not a complete failure.

"But you're right, you will never catch up. Is this any different than it's ever been?"

Instead of slapping him, as I felt like doing, I thought smolderingly calmly about his words.

Rats. Couldn't I have been wrong about that one, too?

But he's right.

Just when I figured out babies, they became toddlers. Just when I figured out toddlers, they went straight to high school (how did that happen so fast??).

Just when I start to feel competent, someone or something in our life changes to turn our world upside down. As we used to say about our first car, "It's always something."

Sigh.

I felt better after my cry (and a good night's sleep). I cracked the whip over the weekend, and the kids were not happy about it, but we did regain a semblance of control of at least the laundry by Sunday night. Only to start the cycle over again this week....

ANYWAY....how easily I am distracted.....

Since it IS always something, I thought I'd better get prepared for the NEXT something by going back to a place where things worked a little better than they do now. A girl can at least try, can't she?

One thing (besides the chore clips) that I hadn't put into gear here at our new place is our Chore Spec sheets. I looked through my archives and thought I'd posted this before but I guess not.

This is something else from Bonnie's Household Organizer. I made up one sheet for each room of the house - simple things that kids can help with that need to be done every day and every week.
Since they're WRITTEN DOWN, I don't have to:
  • Remember to ask the kids Every. Little. Thing. My brain is too tired for all that. Besides, all mothers know that kids are literalists. If it's not on the list, it must not need to be done, right?
  • Rewrite everything down on the chore card.
  • Remind, nag, cajole, cry or get upset if an item is not done. I can calmly say, "You may play (go to friend's house/get on computer/sit idly) when you have completed everything on this list."
I put mine in a sheet protector and tape them in an inconspicuous place - the back of a closet door for a bedroom, or the inside of a cabinet for the bathroom or kitchen. The little kids like to use a wipe-off marker to check things off as they do them.

Then I can write on the chore card:
"Clean your bedroom - I will inspect against the list taped inside your closet door at 3:00."
Here's the Bedroom Spec Sheet. I wrote "weekly" on here - I think I need to edit that. Really these get done about every other week, depending on our Saturday schedule.

If you'd like me to email you the Word doc with the Bedroom, Living Room, Bathroom and Kitchen spec sheets (so you can edit to your own needs), just leave me a comment and I'll get it to you!

***EDITED TO ADD***

If you do not want to post your email for all the world to see, please email me - raisingfive (at) gmail.com. Also, if you have not "checked the box" I can't reply by email to your comment, but if you'll email me, I'll send the doc to you!

Love,
Katherine

35 comments:

canearl said...

Please email me the word doc!!! There are days when I need it as much for myself as my kids :).

JLarsonRN said...

Please email me the document! I'm trying to come up with a better cleaning solution!

JLarsonRN @ gmail . com (without the spaces of course)

Proud Mom of 6 said...

pittmanbunch @ yellowbananas.com

I am struggling with my 6 children and housekeeping as well. Thanks for the help and being so open!

Christy. said...

I love to read your blog, it encourages me so much!
I know this isn't "Ask Katherine" butI have a question for you.....
My middle child who will be 5 next month has always been my most easygoing and obedient child. For the past month or so she has been unbearable! She throws fits all the time and cannot seem to keep her emotions under check. I have tried loving on her through the fits, I have tried punishing her for the fits and I have tried ignoring her, none seem to work. I have tried talking at night about what I expect the next day. I am at a loss of what to do, this is not like her!
Her uncle got in a bad car accident this summer and almost died. He is out of the hospital and doing well now. She still asks questions about it but seems satisfied with the answers and she sees him all the time, walking around and looking well. Could it be after effects of that?
The only thing different is that she started a new preschool in the fall that is in the afternoons and it's four days a week. She LOVES it! Could it be that she is tired even though she hasn't had a nap since she was three?
I would love some motherly insight from you as at least four of your kids have made it past this age. :0) cgladheim@gmail.com
Thanks so much!

Michelle@Life with Three said...

I would love a copy of the Word document. I only have three, but I feel like I'm drowning over here. This seems to break it down into very simple, easy tasks.

Thanks!

Jamie @ Purposeful Pursuit said...

I had a very similar meltdown just this weekend! I would love it if you could email me the word document as well. Thanks for blogging, I always find your blog to be encouraging.

Jen T. said...

Due to some health issues I've had, as well as several deaths and family illnesses, I've been in meltdown mode for months! Would love the spec sheets emailed to me.

Thanks!

jtufford @ optonline dot net

Maureen said...

I too had a meltdown this weekend. After a good night's sleep I stayed in my pajamas and had coffee until noon the next day. I was then ready to stop feeling sorry for myself that my house was a mess and my kids were not helping.

We cleaned our house from top to bottom, I mean CLEANED and decluttered. It literally took us all day to complete ALL the laundry and the crisis cleaning. I barked out new rules but I unfortunately have not had time to write it down.

I agree, if you do not spell it out in writing they will not do it!

Enjoying my clean, organized home, and helpful children,
Maureen

dagorym said...

Raising five myself and getting the kids to do their chores is always an uphill battle. They are always complaining about not knowing what to do. A handy list would be perfect. I'd love a copy of the Word document for the different rooms.

ET @ Titus2:3-5 said...

I would love, love, love copies of your chore spec sheets. Your ingenuity has just saved us all thousands of hours of thinking and planning. You rock!

Christy - One of my daughters...the one who NEVER pitches fits...has total meltdowns at least a few times a week from September to December. It's definitely a tiredness thing. There have been times I've sent her to my room to cool down and watch some TV on her own, and when I go to get her a half hour later she's sound asleep. :) But I have hope because I remember last year - by Christmas we were all normal again!

Jennifer said...

Escellant! Please e-mail me it.
Smiles!

Ole & Lucinda said...

Please email me the word docs at nanasmunchkins at comcast dot net. I have four kids and need to get them doing chores regularly again. Thanks! I really enjoy your blog!

mazz5712 said...

I would like the document too! I've been an avid reader for a while but never have left a comment. Thanks for putting yourself out there!! You've made me think.....and it's a good thing! jlmazzara@charter.net

Susanne said...

This is such a simple and yet such a great tip, Katherine! I have those meltdowns too, but alas, mine seem to be a bit more frequent than semi annually! :v)

KIN said...

I'd love to have a copy of your word doc as well! My email is:
kathy @ riegsecker . com (without the spaces). Thanks for sharing your hard work!

Teachers said...

I totally understand what you mean about "getting it" and then they're on to the next thing. I worked with youth before and we were discussing parents one time. They were talking about how certain parents should "get it by now" because they've already had "practice" with the older ones...but what they don't realize is that it's not the first time that they've had a 10 year old, but it's the first time they've had a 10 year old and a 12 year old and a 14 year old at the same time, etc.

I'm sure you do a fabulous job with your kids, and we just do the best that we can. We all have our days too....

Anyhow, I digress. I'd love to have the document. Thanks.

Seven Danforth's said...

I will LOVE the files...you have my email...

Thanks for helping with that girlie!
Enid

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

so funny...

well for me that is..

once when my 26 yr old was just a kid... he was rotten about picking up dog poop and taking out trash..

i went to an all day parenting class.. they said.."don't nag, just be sure he knows the rules..

and then... at about 11:55 pm.. very nicely go to their room, tap them on the shoulder and and say ' you know honey, the day is almost over, and you still didn't pick up the dog poop' ... giggling..

then they get up and finish chores...

i only had to do that once...

lol

Kelly said...

Desperately want this document- I need all the help I can get:-)

thanks
kellydesigns@aol.com

Tina Miles said...

I'd love a copy as well! And since I don't use blogger, I'll just have to just give you the email: tina (at) the-miles (dot) org

amyanne said...

amy@litfusegroup.com

You are amazing!

Lori - Queen of Dirty Laundry said...

Wow, look at all your comments today! I think it may be the season for meltdowns - mine occurred a couple of weeks ago.

I'd love a copy of your lists, too. I have an "When I Don't Know What To Do List" that we refer to when my girls are following me around the house, asking, "what can I do?" Sometimes it's effective and sometimes it's not.

Staci said...

i love this. please send me a copy. knittindaisy @ gmail . com

Ginger@chirgies said...

oh my goodness. I hate to make for work for you after all the comments you've already gotten. If you get a minute, would you mind e-mailing me the doc. too? Thank you!!!
chirgies at msn dot com.

Tim said...

I'd love to see your cleaning spec sheets. Please send to timandkrisbailey@yahoo.com
We're also raising five and enjoy your encouragement.
Many thanks, Kristin

FeFe@Good Intentions said...

I'd love to take a look at this, if you don't mind! fefe.blog@gmail.com

canearl said...

Here's my email: canearl @ yahoo.com

Thanks!

Bonnie said...

Great post ! I love it ... I'm going to have to come back here when I can sit and read for a bit longer ! I've bookmarked your page ...

Michelle said...

Please email me the document! I really need all the help I can get. Thanks!
pdxmichelle @ hotmail . com

Barb said...

I'd love a copy of your spect sheets. Thank you so much for doing this! I have five myself and have found a lot of inspiration in your blog.

madridmom said...

I think I checked the box and you'll be able to email me with the lists but just in case the email is dys2spain at aol.com

Raquel, The Glamorous Life said...

please email it to me pleeease! thanks! your the best!

Queen to my 3 Boys said...

Me too please!

blessedmama752 said...

Please send me a copy the word doc! Any thing I see that can help lighten the load. I try it.
Blessed752

mom2four said...

Would love a copy of the chore specs! Love your site! You are very encouraging!