Should Moms Be Blamed For a Messy House?

The short answer is no, but they will be and they will accept the blame and feel responsible no matter how untrue that is. Of course, not all moms will feel responsible, and not all moms will be blamed by all visitors. However regrettable, that is how our minds work and it comes from the stereotype of women’s roles in the family structure. The judgment may not be conscious or vocalized, but it will be there somewhere.

A New Way of Thinking

First we need to admit – those of us who blame ourselves – that feeling responsible for keeping the house clean no matter what our “other” job is, be it a stay-at-home mom or a full (or more) time employee. I was raised in a traditional household where my mother was a stay-at-home mom, my father supported the family financially, and my mother (and I after I was older) kept the house.  In this scenario, this seems to be the proper arraignment, with one exception; my brother had no chores except mowing the grass, which he split with me.

If anything is going to change, we will have to put in the effort to be the instrument of change, and it begins with one household, one family at a time.  First remind yourself that you do not live alone; therefore, you are not the only person that needs to be cleaned up after.  If you were, your house would probably look a lot better.

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New Rules

The responsibilities of keeping house need to be shared by all who live there. One of the biggest issues at my house is clutter and the collection of things that get taken out but not put away.  Tackling clutter is usually a matter of ruthlessly purging your house of stuff you don’t need or use to make room for the things you do need and use, but that’s another issue, so we will stick to the question at hand.

The first thing you need to do is gain the cooperation of the other members of the household to be a part of the cleaning team.  Even small children can pick up their toys and put them into a bin or basket.  Make the rule that once play is over, the toys must be picked up. One of the biggest issues at my house is putting dirty dishes in the sink or on the counter instead of in the dishwasher a few inches away.  Everyone can do better than that, especially husbands.

Chore Charts and Challenges

Picking up and putting away items will give the impression that the house is clean, even if it is not.  Granted, six inches of dust on every surface will stick out like a sore thumb, but that’s a different matter.

Even stacking, piling, and collecting instantly makes things look neater.  If your kitchen table is covered with papers, put them all in one pile and it’s as if you have cleaned the whole table.  I call it the “power of the pile.”

Creating lists, charts, and/or games and competitions related to household chores keep the objective fun and interesting for the kids. Giving an allowance or privileges for chores done, or making it a game or competition helps ensure they will keep it up. As for your spouse, the two of you can sit down and discuss the issues and needs of running a household and agree on areas where dad can help.

Many husbands will help if asked, and wives who think they shouldn’t have to ask may be their own worst enemy.  Do you want help or a place to lay blame? If you really want help, you must be willing to allow him to do it his way and in his time. You either want it done now and your way, or you want help.

Keeping it all going takes a lot of work, and mom shouldn’t have to bear the brunt of the work of raising kids and keeping house. Get others to help, and let go of the notion that your house has to be spotless.

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An Easy way to Divide House Work Between the Entire Family

An Easy way to Divide House Work Between the Entire Family

Besides building responsibilities and character in children, dividing household chores can be a daunting task for parents. Yet, it can be easily done by way of lists and charts, and displaying it in the common area, such as the kitchen or a copy in everyone’s room. It should be listed with the typical chores that every family can live with and not feel threatened by work overload for each individual: adults and children.  The common problem with telling a child or teen what to do usually leads to fights or conflicts among family members, especially teenagers and this -- alone -- can be a common culprit. It can also lead to marriage conflicts.

 

Chore Charts Are a Great Way to Visually be Seen By Everyone

It's useful to create a chore chart that will work for your household. Some items on the chore chart will probably be standard, and others will be specific to your home. You and your spouse need to sit down together to make a list that will work for both of you. If you are currently doing the majority of the housework, your spouse may not be so enthusiastic about working out a new system with you. But if there is resentment on your part, then you need to explain this to your spouse.

So, by following common household chores, such as kitchen, bedroom, living room, bathroom, and even outside, for instance, here are some of the typical lists of duties a household can divide amongst family members regardless of age:

 

The Typical Household List for All to Share

First of all, the kitchen is one of the most used areas in a house that is utilized by all besides the bathroom.  Some common chores are as follows:

 

  • Meals, planning and preparing are a daily activity. But it can be split into weekly or weekends only.  Also, setting and clearing the table with dishwashing or loading the dishwasher.
  • Also cleaning and organizing counter space and stove top, drawers, and cupboards. Cleaning the refrigerator and freezer, cleaning the sink and microwave.
  • Next are the bedrooms which each individual should be responsible for. Such as making his/her own bed, picking and putting away clothes and cleaning out his or her own closet, dresser, work area and for the little ones, picking his or her toys.
  • The bathrooms are another area that needs cleaning weekly. Such as the shower and tub, toilets, counters, mirrors, drawers, and cupboards.
  • Next is the family areas: picking up toys, books, organizing bookshelves, clean/dust top surfaces…etc., and also, the laundry room, such sorting them into loads, washing and drying, folding and putting away, for instance.
  • Never forget the floors since this is needing sweeping and mopping at least a week or so, and vacuuming, shampooing carpets, and waxing…
  • Some other areas that need attention for the entire household is taking the garbage out, taking care of family pets, washing windows, pool cleaning, and garage cleaning.
  • Also, what can be put on the chart of things to do for dividing household chores are washing and vacuuming vehicles.
  • Garden work should not be left out. For instance weed eating, planting or picking flowers, mowing the lawn, raking leaves, shoveling snow…etc.

 

Team Work will Indefinitely Be Built with Sharing Chores

Finally, utilizing a list or chore chart is a great way to begin the journey of sharing duties and responsibilities between family members. The best way to encourage and motivate children to do their chores is to encourage their behavior with the most positive feedback. This will bring out a rewarding feeling for each individual. Keep in mind that each calendar or chart should have weekly or daily chores as well as the list of chores in each bracket.  There is no better way to encourage and track good behavior than to use a reward chart. Parents and children will get the most out of sharing chores together that will also bring a team work element into the entire family as well as building a great foundation of closeness, and of course cleanliness.

 

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How to Get Your Husband to Help in the House

How to Get Your Husband to Help in the House

Marriage can be hard work.  Maintaining a clean and orderly home is hard work.  And combining the two can be an exhausting challenge in patience and communication!  Some husbands help with the housework voluntarily, but because the women are often presumed to be the primary house managers in our culture, we are primarily addressing this article to the many wives who wish they knew how to get their husbands to help out more around the house.

 

You’re Thinking It All Wrong

 

The Bad News First

Unfortunately, you’re likely starting off with a wrong assumption.  The top complaint from most wives when it comes to asking for help around the house is…

 

“I shouldn’t have to ask!”

But you do have to ask…repeatedly.

Whether it’s a reality created by men’s cultural expectations of “Yay! I now have someone to cook and clean and do my laundry for me as well as give me sex!” or their brains truly aren’t capable of seeing that pile of laundry partially blocking their view of the Sunday afternoon game, we couldn’t say for sure.  But the fact remains: you have to ask.

 

No Hags, Nags, Or Waving White Flags

 

How to Ask

No wife wants to be thought of as a nagging hag and we are certainly not telling you to just give up and accept your lot in life!  So here are a few tips on how to ask while avoiding those two extremes that bring with them much hesitancy, fear and trepidation.

 

  • Ask with adoration.  Honest! Assume that your husband loves you and wants to help if only you would ask!  And if this backfires, just humbly confess your assumption.
  • Ask matter-of-factly like you might ask your accountant if you could borrow his pen.  Take all the emotion out of it and assume that the request is reasonable.
  • Ask plainly and simply as you might ask a foreign exchange student who barely understands English.
  • Ask with bribery.  We hear the promise of sex can be effective.

 

Yes, we hope you are laughing at how painfully true these suggestions are and here are a few more practical suggestions:

 

  • Ask one or two things at a time only. Men tend to think in lots of little boxes and they seem to go bonkers when asked to multi-task too many things at once.
  • Assume that they are fully capable of figuring it out on their own and leave them be. Of course, men tend to avoid asking for help which often concerns us and makes it even more ironic that they insist we do so in this crazy love relationship.  However, life can be a great teacher and just remember that a broken washing machine is not the end of the world.
  • And talk about it before you both get frustrated. Talk about your expectations, communicate clearly what you it is that you want and work on a compromise.

 

Really, the last one is the most important.  Oh, and the laughing.  Keep laughing and you’ll find a way.  We promise.

 

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Family Cleanup Day: How to Make It Fun

Family Cleanup Day

As we get closer to the holidays and the prospect of having company or family over to celebrate, the idea of a family cleanup day becomes more and more attractive.

Here are some ideas to help organize your day so everybody participates and the work gets done that much faster.

The Calendar

A family cleanup day will not be viable unless everyone has no obligations on that day.  And this is where it’s time for mom to put her foot down: no excuses.  While it would be nice to have a gold edged invitation to family cleanup day, let them know that missing it is not optional.

Music

Sometimes having a rocking beat going on in the background makes any chore easier.  It will also give you an opportunity to dance with your family and make cleanup day a little more fun.

To be fair, put the names of your family in a hat to figure out whose music goes first, second and so on.  You could even have an award for best and worst music played during a family cleanup day.

Be Prepared

One of the worst things that can happen is if you have to stop the momentum of cleanup day to run to the store to get some supplies.  To avoid this, make sure that you’ve made a list of all the supplies you think you will need and get them ahead of time.

If there’s a chore that requires a particular item and you don’t have it on hand, skip that job and do it a different day instead of having the entire day grind to halt.

Rewards

You can turn this into a mini scavenger hunt and have an award for the number of tokens found during family cleanup day.  You can use anything for tokens even chocolates wrapped in gold foil.  Those who do the cleaning and find the chocolates can certainly eat them but tell them to hang onto the foil packet as proof.

Munchies and Drinks

This is when it’s smart to have on hand a big bowl of Doritos and Chex mix or whatever favorite snack your family enjoys.  Ditto on the drinks.  If you’re like us, we usually limit the number of sugary drinks our kids are able to have during the day.  But this would be a great time to go ahead and let them have a soda or some sweet tea to keep them motivated.

Keep the Ages of Kids in Mind

When creating your list of cleanup duties, keep the ages of your children in mind as you make the assignments.  Obviously, the smaller the kid, the smaller the chore.

To go along with this idea, you might want to divide the family into teams and make it a competition.  This will allow older children to help younger children and adults to help all the kids.

Pictures

Take pictures of cleanup day to share with friends and family and remind everyone how much fun they had.

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Holiday Help From the Kids

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The holidays are here and moms across the world are working way too hard to get everything prepared. If you haven't enlisted them already, it's time to let the kids do some of the work for you. Kids love helping in the kitchen and there are ways they can do so without being in the way or needing too much supervision. Teaching them to set a nice holiday table is not only a big help to you, but will give them something valuable to be proud of, too!

Dishes

While you are cooking, you build up a huge collection of dishes used for cooking. Measuring spoons, bowls and cups pile up quickly. Everything starts collecting in the sink. These are the kinds of things that kids can wash, or rinse off and put in the dishwasher. Even the youngest ones can get involved and help the older ones.

Cooking

One of the biggest duties of a cook is stirring and mixing. Children can help with that. The older ones can even do the stirring on the stove top. The little ones can help mix the ingredients for you. There are even recipes that are easy for kids. They can make puddings or fun colored gelatins. Or they can make some very easy peanut butter cookies:

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 egg

Directions:
Mix all ingredients until a large ball is formed. Break the ball into 16 similar sized balls. Mash with fork in two directions on a cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 16 minutes.

In this recipe, the younger kids can do everything but put the cookies in the oven.

General Cleaning

Young children love to clean more than you might think. Give them a broom and they will do the best impression of sweeping the floor that they can. As they get older, they tend to grow out of this, so take advantage of it while you can! Give them a broom. Give them a duster. When they are old enough, let them run the vacuum, especially if you have a smaller, lightweight type. They will feel all grown up. Make sure to let them set the table; they love that. Teaching them to set a nice holiday table is not only a big help to you, but will give them something valuable to be proud of, too!

Conclusion

Children love to feel needed. They love helping adults because it makes them feel important and useful. The holidays are a great time to help improve their confidence by letting them do a lot of the chores, and you can have more time to enjoy the festivities.

 

Simple Ideas to Shorten Household Chore Routines

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Four Easy Ideas to Streamline Your Chores

As if keeping up with the daily chores and errands that well-kept households require were not difficult enough, the holidays have a knack for putting additional stress on moms who want to host the perfect holiday parties. If you want to do it all, then you have to do it efficiently. Here are four easy steps to streamline your process and help you save time on your cleaning routine.

1. Make a List

Cleaning, decorating and planning for the holidays can quickly become overwhelming when you look at your house and mentally compare it to all the Pinterest projects you want to do. Instead of sitting around, unsure of where to start or wandering aimlessly from room to room without getting much done, save time by making a list. Lists help you save time by keeping you on task so you can get your chores done. Just go straight through and check off one task after another.

2. Prioritize

Real life parties rarely live up to their Pinterest standards. Instead of stressing over every small detail, prioritize your tasks and decide which chores truly need to be done, and which chores you will get to only if you have extra time. This does not mean you have to go strictly in order of importance, as some important tasks such as taking out the trash and getting dressed should be done last before the party starts, but prioritizing helps you save time because it helps you avoid working on unnecessary projects.

3. Schedule and Multi-task

Completing tasks at specific times can help streamline your process. For example, you can clean the bathroom during your small children’s bath time while you are in there supervising anyway. You can run the dishwasher overnight and put the dishes away in the morning while you are in the kitchen eating breakfast. You can wash kitchen counters and dishes while you are in there cooking dinner. If you clean as you go, you won't end up with a big pile and dirty counters.

4. Delegate

If you have family members around, put them to work. Husbands can pick up forgotten ingredients from the store on the way home, saving you a trip. Teenagers can vacuum, dust, do laundry and clean the bathrooms. Even small children can help with easy chores like picking up toys or unloading the silverware from the dishwasher. Get everyone involved at once and it will get done much quicker. Make a game out of it, with the winner getting something they really like, such as an extra cookie or extra time on the tv/computer/electronic game.

Hosting the perfect holiday party is possible, it just takes planning and efficiency. Make a prioritized list, check off your chores one after another and then relax and enjoy your holiday!

Organizing the Busy Family

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In any family, keeping track of everyone's activities can be maddening. Work, school, activities, even date nights can become more complicated than they need to be if not properly managed and organized. With a bit of planning, however, managing everyone's schedules can be stress free and easy.

The most important item in the process is a good calendar. There are a myriad of choices, but the best ones are those laid out in a grid in which each person has his or her own column. Label each column with the name (Dad, Mom, Susie, Joey) and assign everyone his or her own color. While this may seem like overkill, the different colors help you to see in a glance where the potential conflicts may arise.

Once you have chosen your calendar, spend some time with it. Fill in all of the national holidays, the school holidays, and any other religious or secular events you celebrate. Then, fill in everyone's birthday, anniversaries and other dates that are important. Once all the dates are entered, it's time to organize. Put in recurring events, but be sure to put them in every date the occur. For example, if Susie has her piano lesson every Tuesday at 3:30, put that in (using her color) every Tuesday.

Now that the dates are all entered, hang the calendar in the kitchen where everyone can easily see it. While you will need to enter the dates for younger children, older children can be responsible for their own entries. Encourage them to write down everything they do outside of the house, even including play dates. This not only assists you in planning, it helps you to know where they are when they are not at home.

Obviously, you cannot take something this large with you outside the house. Buy a good planner, either paper or download an app; and, at least once a week, ensure that your planner is coordinated with the one in the kitchen. Ideally, you should coordinate once a day. A quick glance in the morning may be all it takes to ensure that everything has been recorded.

It can be tricky to organize a busy family; but, with a little forward planning, it needn't be overwhelming.

Teaching Kids to Help Around the House

Little cleaning lady

Teaching kids to help around the house is something that should begin from an early age. You should teach your child to clean up the toys when finished playing. This is a fundamental building block of individual and group responsibility.

A child should be given some basic chores as soon as they can handle them. Some common responsibilities could include putting clothes in the hamper, cleaning up toys or even making the bed. As long as your child does his or her best to do the job, right then you should give them some words of praise. Some children are naturally able to begin chores sooner than others, so try out some simple tasks and see how it goes. You will be able to tell rather quickly whether or not your child can handle the workload.

Anywhere from the age of 4-7 is usually a good time to begin chores. A chore list can be used to help guide the child in this endeavor. You can create one with a word processing document or simply draw one out. You may want to list the chore, and then leave a space for the child to mark off the task when it is finished. If possible, develop the chore list with your child and explain your expectations.

Young kids usually like to assist with the cleaning, so keep their desire going. Many children love to sweep, wipe and vacuum the floors. This is a great way to introduce your children to tasks that they will need to help with now and in the future. It is important to continue to praise the work that your child does. You may have to redo the work that your child did, especially at an early age, but keep your comments as positive as possible.

There are other things that kids can do to increase self-sufficiency. Find some easy things that need to be done around the house. If your child is very resistant to cleaning, try to make a game out of it. You may also want to find some of their favorite music and play it while you are all cleaning together. Children are more apt to assist you with a project when you are working with them.

You really need to figure out when your child is ready. You will be able to tell they are ready when they desire to work with you, and they are independent enough to do some easy jobs.

Help Kids Organize Their Rooms

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When you are a mom on the go, it cannot escape your notice that your kid's room could use a little help! In the unending quest to keep everything clean and tidy, you may find that it is important to get a little organization into your child's bedroom. Take a moment to consider what your options might be and to learn how you can turn the room in question from a mess to a marvel!

First, teach your child that everything needs to have a permanent home. Go through their room and help them with this. Too many people assume that everything has its place. If there is something on the floor, draped over the chair or regularly shoved under the bed, you need to make sure that it has a home. Tell your child to place everything in a certain location. This makes for significantly more efficient cleaning.

Another thing to remember is that your child should pick things up a little bit every day. Though they might balk initially, you'll discover that your child can make a huge difference with regards to how neat their room is simply by spending five to ten minutes on picking up. This prevents them from needing to spend a lot of time picking up once a week or once every two weeks, and eventually, they will see how efficient this is.

When you want to help your child keep their room organized, take a moment to think about group cleans. Chores are always easier when there are a number of people doing it. This ensures that your child has a lot of support. If they feel that they are the only ones doing chores, they are going to get a lot more stubborn about things. Instead, why not start picking up your own room at the same time? If you make regular tidying a group activity, your kids will fall into line much more easily.

Remember that your child simply does not have the skills necessary to keep their room in good shape yet. This is not something that comes naturally to everyone, and because of that, you will find that it takes time and patience.

Your kid's room is a space that should be peaceful and tidy, so help them organize it. When you organize your child's room, you are giving them a much better chance of keeping everything in order.

 

Do Kids Still Get Allowances?

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Moms have an array of options when it comes to giving their kids a bit of spending money each week. As has been the case for generations, young boys and girls can often earn some extra cash by doing some chores around the home that will keep the household functioning optimally. In fact, allowances are still an excellent way to teach kids the value of money. When they learn that it is precious and needs to be spent as resourcefully as possible, they will develop responsible financial habits as they grow into adults and eventually strike out on their own.There are surely alternative ways that kids can get their hands on money, such as cash gifts at birthdays and other holidays. These are usually handed over by doting relatives, especially grandmothers and grandfathers, and children have every right to receive them. During other times of the year, such as the vast entertainment wasteland that is summer vacation, boys and girls should be given the chance to bring in some money for themselves.Household chores are the best way for this to occur. Younger children might be given the chance to rinse their dinner plates and make their beds. Some moms might wish this to extend to cleaning entire bedrooms from time to time. Most kids should be able to handle these kinds of tasks. For example, a dust rag and a spray bottle of cleaning fluid can quickly clean most of the dirt and grime off furniture and other surfaces. Some kids might also be responsible for vacuuming the house or helping in the garden. If this is not appropriate, moms can look for alternatives that will keep their children busy.Moms might also ask for some help with dinner on work nights. For example, boys and girls who are a little older might be asked to cut up a few vegetables or set the table. This way, when parents arrive home from work, the final touches can be added to what should be a perfectly elegant meal. On certain nights of the week, kids might also be asked to do the dishes. This could involve anything from washing the dishes by hand to loading and unloading the dishwasher.

Ultimately, though alternatives are available, allowances should certainly remain part of the child-rearing process. Children might even be rewarded for receiving good grades during their kindergarten and elementary school years. When they understand that hard work will be rewarded with hard cash, this particular lesson should remain with them into the realm of adulthood.