I’ve never been one to spend Sunday getting ready for the week ahead. I don’t do meal prep, I don’t lay out outfits. We have a cleaning service come every two weeks so deep cleaning chores aren’t required.
However, this weekend, the amount of mess in the house had reached what I consider a maddening point (if anyone has seen my desk that is saying something!) There were also a large number of things in my brain that, while I am not thrilled that I am the one remembering them, were things that needed to be remembered. My husband had plenty of logistical things he was in charge of as well, such as booking a trip for him and some of the older kids to a family memorial service in a few weeks, signing a kid up for tennis, various complications with bids on chimney work, etc.
I realized that if I didn’t make a list to get these things out of my head — did I wash the pool towels? The kids’ sheets? Did I order lunches? Did the piano and alto sax get practiced? And by the way, the kids need to sweep up the paper bits the dog chewed up and get their clothes put away and… — I would be thinking of stuff that needed to be done all day, in addition to the normal Sunday logistics (does the 6-year-old have his soccer cleats? A water bottle? Is he wearing sunscreen?)
So I made a Sunday checklist. I listed the things that needed to happen with check boxes next to them and the person responsible. My husband took the 6-year-old to rock climbing (during which he dealt with chimney matters…good times), and during this time my older kids and I traded off caring for the toddler and working through the list.
I think it worked pretty well. The house is cleaner. The upstairs hallway is no longer covered with a ridiculous amount of kid flotsam. We got clarity on some future scheduling — knowing that people are not doing something is important too. People practiced their instruments. Thank you notes got written (not addressed yet, but baby steps…) By batching all this, we were still able to do some fun activities, like spending a long time in the pool when a family friend came over mid-day.
In general, I’d like the kids to shoulder more of the task load around here. The big ones are definitely old enough. They can take on some of the housework and weekend baby-help that I’m not sure needs to be outsourced anymore with so many capable people in the house. In KJ Dell’Antonia’s book, How to be a Happier Parent, she mentions that many people get upset because they want their kids to do chores without being asked. That might be the gold standard, but if you don’t get so hung up on that desire, you can wind up with the chores done. Which has some real upsides too! So I may start making a Sunday list more often.
How do you tackle kid responsibilities?
Photo: Growing in the new yard! I took the 9-year-old and toddler over there for a short walk after dinner on Sunday. This is part of my desire to log 1000 steps after dinner, as I suggested in a recent Before Breakfast episode.