When we moved into our house 3 1/2 years ago, we made a decision that the children (the 3 that live with us) would have equal parts in maintaining it. Mark and I both work outside the home, and try to cook dinner and spend family time as often as possible. In order to keep up with everything, we enlisted the girls’ aid with the cleaning.
We tried many methods for determining who did what chore. We drew chores, listed on scraps of paper, from a hat on a weekly basis. We rotated the chores out so that none of the children got stuck with chores they hated for long. In the end, we just gave the two biggest chores to the older two, and spread the rest of the workload evenly between them.
Our 12 year old daughter has been responsible for the laundry for over a year now. I have invested many … many hours in showing her how to use the right amount of detergent and fabric softener. I’ve encouraged her to break up the chore into manageable bits so that it doesn’t build up on her. Still, no matter how often I helped her get caught up on weekends, she seemed to be completely unable to keep up.
Last week, I made a new deal. I gave her an “out” from the chore she so obviously hates enough that no amount of encouragement, lost privileges, or punishment could force her to keep up with it. I allowed her to make me an offer of chores she would willingly take over in return for me taking over all laundry duties. She made me an offer that I felt was an equal amount of effort on her part, so I took it.
Today, I realized that this is going to save us a considerable amount of money in the long run. No more loads that need to be washed twice because they were forgotten in the washing machine to mildew for three days. No more loads that need to be washed and dried twice because the dryer was over loaded and the clothes didn’t get dry (and again, were left for 3 days). Less energy to dry because I hang up socks, underclothes, wash clothes, and hand towels instead of drying them in the dryer.
I really don’t know how long I’ll be able to cheerfully keep up with this dreaded chore, but I can already tell that our water, gas, and electricity bills will be going down… maybe even significantly. I won’t be adjusting the budget to account for the lower bills. Bring on the snowflakes!
**Electric Bill less than budget – $52.66 snowflake