It’s has been a challenging 2 full years (and counting) since I didn’t have a helper. Last year, Mike and I decided to look for a maid in hopes of finding someone who would make my life as a hands-on-stay-at-home mom easier. After a few tries and emotional stress brought by this hunting, we found someone who can do a weekly cleaning and cooking for us. We opt for this service since my husband isn’t comfortable living with stranger in this humble abode of ours. It was a good 9 month run for us and our stay-out helper until we decided to let her go today.
In a timely manner, the beautiful sermon yesterday at church made it more evident that we are responsible for everything in our life, no excuses! So my little family and I decided to do it again on our own as I spent the last weekend finalizing our chore chart and weekly schedule. If you must know, we have done this already while I was still nursing and baby lead weaning our son while homeschooling our daughter as told on my previous post, How To Make It Under One Paycheck.
Attached at the end this blog is the printable version of our chore chart and home schedule which you can edit according to your lifestyle. But before anything else, I would like to elaborate some details that might be helpful in understanding the said files.
One for all, all for one.
It’s a teamwork again for The S Family and when I mean teamwork, as in everyone has a role in doing household chores. Growing up in a family where I was raised by hands on women (my grandma, mom, sisters), I wasn’t spoiled of having a nanny and was trained at an early age to do my own laundry, iron my school uniforms, cook food, baby sit, etc. This is the greatest gift I ever received in my life because it made our leaving and cleaving easier and has taught me to do my responsibilities as a wife and mom. This incredible inheritance I got is something I would like for my kids to have as well. As early as now they know they are not exempted in doing chores. As you can see in the chart, chores are divided to 5 colors: Mike, Nouelle, Ryry, Miguel, and Joint Tasks. I chose chores that are age appropriate and since both our kids suffer from asthma attacks and allergic rhinitis, I didn’t give them tasks that would make them sick. If doing your own chart, make sure to consider medical conditions too.
Set your expectations as well. Kids will never be as good as adults when it comes to cleaning. Keep in mind that they still have little hands that needed our guidance. Motivate them and never ever criticize the way they do their chores. You might want to correct them politely and train them to be better.
Less is always best.
With a heavy heart, Mike and I decided to give up our loving pet Chihuahua for adoption. Aside from the fact that the kids are sickly, I feel like I am not giving him the proper care he deserves. Dogs are like kids who needed special attention too but we are currently in a season where our children matters most.
You will also notice in our chart that there is no need for everyday dusting. Why? Because we don’t own a lot of things, especially home accents, frames or window blinds. As much as I am tempted to make our house prettier, I hate dusts so I try to put the idea of having too much stuff away. We resolve in decluttering and using light textiles which I can just throw in the washing machine instead of always wiping.
PS, we use indoor slippers or go bare foot (and are strict to our guests about this!) inside the house so the floor will stay clean longer.
Making use of the five senses and common sense.
The first science lesson we learned at school are the 5 senses— sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. I train the people in this house to make use of them. If they see something on the floor, pick it up. If they hear something that isn’t supposed to make a sound like a dripping faucet, fix it. If they smell something bad like the garbage, put it out. If you’re a picky eater, make your own tasty food. If they feel like the floor is sticky, wipe it. My husband used to leave the stove and kitchen wall right up to it dirty after cooking breakfast and I get really upset when he does this because the longer you wait before you wipe it, the harder it is to clean. Teach everyone at home to be aware of their surroundings because this will make everything easier than always ending up cleaning after them.
You might also notice that there are certain chores that aren’t in the chart like putting the dishes in the sink after eating and packing away of toys. I believe that these tasks should be done without prompting. Teach the kids to do certain jobs automatically.
It’s all about flexibility.
What works for me might not work for you. Well because every family has their own unique needs. I have patterned our chore chart and schedule based on how we live our life: my husband is the breadwinner who has a M-F, 9-6 job, we are a homeschooling family, we live in a 3 story 50sqm townhouse, and the fact that we have hyperactive kids.
I am also trying my best to stop being a control freak. If you believe in Murphy’s law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong, you should also believe that everything will work out according to God’s will. Of course there will be days when the kids will throw a tantrum or days where my hormones are at extremes or days like today that I have all these words to write and I needed to entertain my train of thought. Stop and slow down, binge watch on Netflix or read or write like I do. It’s always good to reschedule a task if you cannot do it wholeheartedly. I have already programmed myself that the chart and schedule will only serve as a guide and we are allowed to break it once in a while to ease pressure.
You might think: if she’s busy doing a chore, what are the kids doing? Well they’re busy being kids. Before I clean, I make sure to settle the kids with some art work, or their favorite toy of the moment. Sometimes I let them watch a good movie too. But there are also days that I just let them get bored because that’s the time they think of creative ways to entertain themselves. I am thankful that I chose a homeschool method that allows us to be flexible.
Know your priorities.
A schedule is always helpful to set your heart to what do you need to do first. Above all, we need be healthy and strong to be able to carry out the tasks. We need to sleep early and have a complete 7-8 hours of sleep for the adults and 10-12 hours for the kids. You will also notice in our schedule that I have set aside some time for workouts and power naps. Sabbath is also important to us. We believe that God created a day of rest for us to also recharge, not just our devices!
Get some help from the pros.
I get help from machines! Like automatic washing machines, vacuum cleaners, and microwave ovens. I thank God for such inventions because it really does make our lives easier and cuts down the time needed for chores. And also I would like to encourage those who can afford to just go to the laundry shop and have those heavy bed sheets and curtains washed by the cleaners. Since we only have a little space, this also means we don’t really have a big laundry area for drying. When the time comes that you need to do general cleaning as in dusting all cabinets and drawers and wiping every walls and corners, there are also professional home cleaners available throughout the Metro like Cleanhome who doesn’t charge that much. Invest in these things and save your sanity.
Slow cookers save the day!
This deserves it’s own spot here and I have to thank my friend Chen for the inspiration! I love, love that I discovered the wonders of a slow cooker. Imagine cooking sans the number of pans you need to wash and the dirty walls you need to wipe. Yep, slow cookers will make it easier for you. I would just throw all the ingredients in the pot and leave it for about 6 hours and voila! Dinner is served. The better part? Slow cookers are not as expensive as it may sound like and you may cook whatever you wish from simple Filipino dishes like sinigang na baboy to restaurant specials like baby back ribs. Neat!
I must apologize in advance if you are an Excel genius because I’m not! So if ever it’s hard for you to understand the files or if you have any questions, feel free to leave your comments here or email me personally.
Without any further ado, here are the files:
Lastly, don’t forget to commend everyone for doing their tasks. If you want them to be always inspired in helping you, refrain from nagging and treat them with good food. Just remember to take it easy and involve everyone in the house. Hope I was able to help you today. Stay strong!
“Irrresponsibility is not a neutral thing. Somebody ends up paying the price for our irresponsibilities.”