Yet another major irritation: MESS
Show me a family home with no mess and I’ll show you some very high boarding school bills on the bank statement.
It’s gonna happen.
Our LIFE declutter challenge is a very good place to start with the whole getting organised philosophy, so it’s a good place to start.
For day-to-day life in the meantime – there’s a lot you can do to ease the Gin-Inducing drudgery.
Now the facts are: if there are more than one of you in the house older than toddler age – there is actually no reason that only one person is doing the bulk of the chores.
As I alluded to in the last email about Laundry (see past issues, above if you didn’t read it) – you have to really get it into your head that YOU ARE DOING THEM A FAVOUR by making them tidy up after themselves.
If they are school-age – school expects them to.
Older children who might be thinking about going to Uni one day – will NEED to know how to look after themselves (hygienically) and of course, they’ll have their own homes, one day.
But more than that, teaching children to take responsibility for their own things, is an important part of self-esteem, and their place in the World. You can start seriously young with this.
Some of that might shock you.
But it is absolutely, officially true.
So that’s all very well.
But we coach women 1-2-1 online each week – and the next part is the one that almost Universally comes up.
Having a SYSTEM. And STICKING TO IT.
Now there isn’t time to go through the nuts and bolts of that in detail here here – as this email would be too long, and you’d get bored – and more importantly, every family is different.
But the principles WILL work:
- Write down IN DETAIL every job that you do/needs doing in the home (leave cooking out of it for now as we’ll cover that later.
- Everyone old enough should clean up their own mess. Always
- Make a note of how many times a week/month the other jobs need doing.
- Hold a family meeting and take that info along explaining that you are a team and everyone needs to pull together.
- Work out between you WHO will do WHAT to ease the burden and share the load. Have everyone agree to it in writing – even the adults.
- Make those jobs and who is doing them, fair and age-appropriate. Note: just because someone works full time – it doesn’t mean they forgo having to help with family life. If they work in an office, it will have been cleaned, their lunch would have been cooked and they will have had some grown up conversation. Really remember that.
- Put that CLEARLY and prominently on display – a massive stick-on chalk board would be an amazing idea.
Here is the key to making this work…
Never, ever let any one off.
Never, ever let yourself off.
If you give in to someone who nags and whinges… you have just trained them to nag and whinge harder.
It might be a rocky first week.
But you can reconvene the same time next week and decide how it’s going.
Is someone doing really well? Was it too much? Do people want to swap jobs for next week?
Try to make sure people see the whole week out and then bring up any problems at the family meeting. Even if there are just 2 of you.
Is a tweak necessary?
Treat the family as a team game with no one on the subs bench.
Celebrate rather than bribe.
They are not doing you a favour – they are taking their part in the family.
You did your jobs well – so YAY – you get the Wi-fi password/treats/bike ride, or whatever.
The main reason this ever goes wrong is lack of communication.
“I didn’t know I was supposed to do that!!” “It’s not fair”.
If it’s AGREED (not begrudgingly – but actually) and DISPLAYED – you have a very good stab at making this bed in.
This is where you have to play the long game to win a much happier family life.
You have to be strong solider, for a few weeks of this before it becomes second nature to everyone.
Set alarms to remind you to do it.
A little planning here buys you hours and hours and a much more chilled, respectful family life.
Try it and show us pictures of your jobs boards and let us know how things are going – we’d love to hear from you. Even if you just want a chat about it.