We’re counting down the days until Summer Vacation!!!
I love summertime. I love to relax, sleep a little later, have leisurely breakfasts chatting with the kids, play together at the pool, etc. I truly can’t wait!
But . . . there’s something different for us this year. It’s called, “Mama’s worked really hard to get this house in better shape and she’s not willing to have it slip back into its pre-blog state.”
Going with the flow is my favorite thing about summer. Want to go to the park? Sure! Want to meet us at Chick-fil-a? Sure! Want to spend the day exploring? Sure!
While I’m not willing to give that up, I’m also not willing to give up our peaceful, not-a-constant-disaster home. I’d like to include “Mom, can we invite friends over?” in the list of questions to which I answer, “Sure!”
I tried last year. I made fancy charts and came up with an incentive system and had big dreams. It failed/fizzled/died. Quickly.
This year, I’m gun-shy, but I also have what I believe is some realistic hope. The biggest difference is that we’re not looking at a total life/habits change on the first day of summer. I’ve developed my own habits this school year. The boys have been doing great on their chore charts, so they’re already in a better mindset to take on responsibilities. The house is decluttered to the point where a quick pick-up by a 4, 6, or 8 year old makes a visible difference.
To me, the words summer and schedule go together about as well as peanut butter and pickles. Some people might like it, but the thought of that combo makes me a little sick to my stomach.
But it must be done, to some degree. I have to have a plan. I’m looking at my weekly task schedule and adapting it for summer.
Here’s my basic plan, in its earliest, stream-of-consciousness form.
Keep going with my own daily checklist, but delegate some of the tasks to the kids.
For example, every morning I sweep, load the dishwasher, and wipe down counters. Divide those tasks among the kids, and I’ll supervise.
Use my weekly tasks as teaching opportunities.
I’m actually kind of excited about weekly tasks. (Weird, I know!) I’m excited because I think my boys, 6 and 8, are ready to take on most of them. I am looking forward to teaching them how to do laundry, clean bathrooms, dust and vacuum, etc. I plan to write out detailed, list-form instructions for them on each of these tasks, so they can be primarily self-directed. I think they’ll enjoy the independence of doing it that way instead of having to ask me what to do next.
My basic plan is:
Monday – Laundry. All of the kids (4, 6, and 8) can sort the laundry. The boys can learn how to load and start the washing machine and change it over to the dryer. I think that I’ll declare “Movie Mondays” and we can watch a movie together while we all fold.
Tuesday – Bathrooms. The boys can switch off cleaning the two full baths, and my 4yo can be in charge of the 1/2 bath. This is the task for which I’m going to write out VERY detailed step-by-step instructions. I don’t want someone cleaning behind the toilet and then using that same wipe on the toothbrush holder!
Wednesday – Day off!
Thursday – Mopping the kitchen, Dusting, and Vacuuming. 4yo can dust, and the boys can take turns mopping and vacuuming.
Friday – Daddy’s off on Fridays in the summer, so we’ll not plan any big tasks.
If a non-mom looked at this list, it might appear that I’m going to sit and drink lemonade while my kids keep the house. Maybe by the end of the summer . . . . but probably not. The reality is that I’ll be running all over the house, supervising for thoroughness and safety, threatening a daughter who claims exhaustion or leg pain or a headache when she doesn’t want to do something, etc. etc. etc.
Look for the detailed task-instruction-sheets later this week.