Monday, January 4, 2010

Chores Chores and No Chores

When I was a child I was not required to do any chores. My mom would tell me to clean my room, I would say I'd do it and then she would end up doing it for me.

I do not want a repeat performance of this behavior from my son. I want to start introducing him to household chores as soon as he is able, but I don't know how to do this. I'm not sure what age he can understand what a chore is, and that he is responsible for doing it.

Additionally, my house is in a constant state of chaos and disarray, so I could use all the help I can get. I can't wait until this kid can help out.

On a similar note, with just my boyfriend and I, we are having a difficult time managing the household duties. For example, I'll try to bargain with him when there is a huge task to complete like a sink full of disgusting dishes that have been sitting there for three days:

Me: "Babe, I'll do half the dishes if you do the other half."
Him: "Okay. Cool."

What happens: I end up doing ALL the dishes, which I believe is entirely unjust!

What I want to know is this: does anyone have suggestions for the following things:

1. When do I introduce chores to my kid?
2. How do I keep house clean?
3. How do I break down the chores so that I don't feel like I am doing EVERYTHING myself?

Any pointers?


  1. YES!! SOON! Because Zalah is already helping! I think as soon as they can listen/walk. He's totally ready. They don't always understand when I ask to get things for me, but if Z spills something she automatically goes for a towel to clean it. Nice! She doesn't do such a great job though, so be patient. You can teach him how to throw things away, but they end up tossing too much you didn't want tossed! lol. A good way to help them learn is to ask for a certain object by color or shape and name to help them understand what those things mean. They won't get it, but they you can say "This is the red ball!" or ask them to then give it to daddy to learn to help out.

  2. When I am doing laundry, he LOVES to put the laundry in the washer and dryer. Loves it. Also, he does love to throw things away. And put papers away etc.

    What about chores for the house? Like getting Wil to do stuff?

  3. The dish rule in my growing-up household was: if you cook, the other person cleans up. It wasn't perfect but it did remove some of the resentment that builds up when one person does more than the other. My current bargain is: I will do EVERY dish and hubby will clean the bathroom(s) once a week. Fair though we both take a bit of time to actually get things done, sometimes. Other things get worked out on the fly and in a spirit of helping each other out. If it isn't working in that way, it has to become more official. Check out the chore board put up by SouleMama. She rocks!

  4. Yes! We had the same dish rule in my house growing up. So my mom would cook and my dad would clean. They still do it to this day!

    That was working for a while here with Wil and I, and then it lapsed. I think his shift leaves him too tired to even deal with the kitchen.

    Though, to be fair, he does clean the living room and bedroom. He occasionally does a sink full of dishes. He won't TOUCH the bathroom :p.

  5. P.S. I am going to check out Soule Mamas Chore Chart!!

  6. At our house we have a designated cleaning/chore day. That's the day the house gets cleaned, the grocery shopping gets done, and things get put away. I've got the kitchen and bathroom, the boyfriend has floors, living room and bedroom. Throughout the week we stick to the one person cooks, the other person cleans up rule.

    The designated chore day works for us because it makes us work together and kind of helps to alleviate the resentment I sometimes feel when I don't see him doing anything.

  7. Question: Is there a chart designating these duties or is it just known that he does the floors, living room and bedroom and you do the kitchen and bathroom?

    Was this discussed or did it just fall into place?

  8. It was discussed in our first few chore days and was divided up by preference and talent.

    He hates to do bathrooms, I resist doing floors and therefore do a really half-baked job.

    The dinner breakdown was a bit easier, if he was in charge we'd have pasta every night at 9:30pm and apparently I can't do dishes.

    We do have a chart hanging in the kitchen though, but its not duties more like when things should be done to not get overwhelmed by cleaning tasks. Check out The Elements of Clean from Real Simple. It's awesome.


What do you think? Feel free to agree or disagree, but hateful comments will be deleted.