If your kids have regular household responsibilities, then you've already conquered half the battle. Now holding them accountable for those responsibilities is the next step. Keep your tots on task with a clever chore chart that turns even the most mundane of tasks into a game. We've found nine unique ways — from a smartphone app to a DIY reward system — to keep your family functioning efficiently.
Every household is different, and every mom has different standards, but many Circle of Moms members say they can't help but feel stressed out and cranky about how to handle the never-ending obligation of keeping their homes clean.
"My house is falling apart," cries Trice B. "How do I keep the house tidy while working 40 hours a week and taking care of two kids under 2?" Ditto, says Renae K. She feels overwhelmed trying to spend time with her child and husband, have some sort of a social life, and find time to keep a clean house.
The reality is that most moms are racing around carpooling, caring for their children, and trying to get things done with little time to add being a housekeeper to their to-do lists. If you're in the same boat, here are some overarching ideas on dividing and conquering the household responsibilities.
Cohabiting couples often complain that their relationships move into roommate territory after they move in together. When you have to share chores and personal space, it's easy for everyday annoyances to kill some of the romance. Now, statistics collected by the site betterbathrooms.com conveniently found that couples mostly fight about cleanliness. The site surveyed 3,000 British adults and discovered that a fifth considered breaking up over chores.
Disgusting habits fill the top 10 argument triggers, which include:
- Stubble in the sink
- Dirty marks in the toilet
- Flicking TV channels
- Not replacing the toilet roll
- Leaving the seat up
- Leaving lights on
- Leaving dirty cups around the house
- Leaving wet towels on the floor/bed
- Hoarding stuff
- Not flushing the toilet
Gross! Do these arguments sound familiar?
Mom's to-do list never seems to end. When we asked our readers which responsibilities they would farm out if they could, the responses came in. Though Facebook fan Jennifer Combs-Geiger said she wouldn't change a thing, "Kids are only little once so I'm going to enjoy every moment while it lasts," others were quick to give up a job or two!
- Laundry: From an Anonymous reader who said she doesn't "mind putting it in the wash, but I hate switching loads, folding and putting it away!" to Facebook fan Laura Bovington, mamas seem overloaded with dirty clothes.
- Cleaning: Carri was quick to say, "See ya later, toilet scrubbing!" And many of us couldn't agree more!
- Potty Training: Giving up diapers for good has never been an easy task. Twitter follower smartypantzed said she'd gladly give up "wiping my [newly potty trained] son's bum," while Facebook fans Audrey O'Donnell Nunez and Sarah Z Siddiqui also mentioned the toddler duty.
- Cooking: Facebook fan Pallavi Thakur Dinesh would be happy to have help "Cooking delicious healthy food that everyone will eat!"
- Diaper Duty: While some mamas aren't anticipating the messes that come with potty training, others are ready to give up changing the diapers. strollerdiva said, "I would definitely let someone else change the diapers!"
Motherhood is the most important job in the world. And like any job, it comes with a never-ending list of responsibilities. While some mamas revel in every meal they make and diaper they change, others would gladly pass up such chores in favor of other activities. In my case, I'd happily turn over my laundry and bottle washing duties, if someone were to offer and would never miss them.
If you could remove one of your motherly responsibilities from your day, what would it be?
A woman's work is never done. Between laundry, ironing, dish washing, vacuuming, dusting, and polishing, it's a wonder that anyone has time to sit back and enjoy a clean house.
Some gals take pleasure in starching the linens and mopping the floors. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them. My best cleaning is done after an argument or before visitors arrive. On the long list of chores, I'd have to say cleaning windows and mirrored surfaces is my favorite. Perhaps it's the smell, the sound of the clean streak, or the quick results that almost have me, ahem, enjoying a good wipe down. So tell me, which chore is your favorite? Or, in other words, which one do you dread the least?
The third most important factor in a happy marriage: sharing the housework, according to a 2007 Pew Research Center study.
Yet many of the happily married women I know still gripe that their husbands don't do enough around the house. Or, they do enough, but only when they are told to. It's an ugly truth that the most liberated, headstrong women are loathe to admit.
Which is why I found this article about how it feels to have a "househusband" alternately encouraging and depressing. Writer Louise Parker begins by asking, "Surely no woman about the house would fail to clean the fridge for three months, only do the washing-up when it’s threatening to suffocate the kitchen, or scrutinise pieces of lawn mower at the dining-room table?"
Though her househusband has his strengths — gender-stereotypical talents like fixing things around the house — Parker admits he doesn't do as much housecleaning as she'd like: "the househusband is not, and will never be, a housewife."
To find out more, keep reading
Kids love to help out, especially when they're little. Don't miss out on the opportunity to instill some responsibility into the wee ones when they're young and eager. Whether mommy's reward is building their confidence, an allowance or an extra scoop of ice cream after dinner, all parties will benefit from a full family effort on the home front.
Once the season turns, it's time to compile, and check off, all of those necessary Fall chores. From sweeping out gutters to raking up leaves, there's no end to the tasks that need attending to. My least favorite Fall chore is actually scheduling appointments with handymen and carpenters.
I don't have a problem with doing chores myself; it's the time spent waiting for service professionals, and taking time off of work to let people in and out of the house, that's difficult for me to manage. Plenty of my friends dread the Fall cleanup though, and often hire neighborhood kids to rake their leaves or clean around their homes. What's your least favorite Fall chore?
Source: Flickr User Sugarfrizz
Unless I'm in the mood to clean — hey, it happens sometimes! — I have to keep myself entertained while scrubbing the tub or sweeping the floor, lest I get bored and move on to something else. Sometimes I'll turn on some trashy TV, but I can't really do that when I'm cleaning the bathroom. So tell me: how do you pass the time when you're doing your household chores?