Kids age, whether we like it or not. And something we have discovered is that as they age the task of keeping up with them expands dramatically. The messes expand, the dishes increase, the dirty laundry increases. And the time spent on their activities increases. It is a massive experiment in chaos and exponential growth.
None of this is great for people with OCD and control issues. Nor is it great if you take pride in how your house looks and how clean it is. When this happens and you fit into either of those categories the responses are to just do all the work for the kids, and end up wiping out all of your time and energy. Or you surrender and just let them run roughshod over the house. But, there is another alternative.
This is an especially tough month, with all the birthdays, gatherings, kids events. And the only way to really stay sane in response to much of it has been to surrender to a large extent, do the work for them, etc. But I realized what a toll this has been taking on Kim and myself, Kim especially as she falls into the second category.
This all will come to an end this weekend. We have the last of the big family birthday gatherings, plus Halloween and a 4 day weekend for the kids. But I will be off for the entire time, primarily to do parent teacher conferences and also for Halloween events. And I decided that this weekend is time to roll out a new set of chore lists for the kids. With daily check lists, weekly check lists etc. And a lot of the things that will be added are items that we have been doing for them. Because they are getting old and big enough that there is no reason they cannot be doing more of the work that it takes to keep the household running.
I know that I was doing far more than they have at their age, helping with cooking and cleaning as early as I can remember. Partly it is a reaction, they make the mess they should clean it up. But it is also a learning and responsibility exercise for them, learn to do laundry, sweep floors, clean bathrooms etc.
I think that getting them to contribute more to household upkeep will make things easier for us, especially Kim. So this new regime begins this weekend, I expect some bumps and push back, but if we make it clear that this is not a negotiation, it is a requirement, and stay firm on having them do it, it should make things better for all of us as time goes on.