I truly feel like a broken record with my posts lately about relationships and parenting. It seems to me that I say, at least once in every single segment and blog, that communication, open and honest dialogue, are the keys to a happy household. I say it a lot, because after thirty years in, I can assure you that it is the only way to get and keep a family running smoothly, especially when it comes to sharing the load of household duties.
We used to have our girls share the dinner clean up; one set, one cleared and one stacked the dishwasher, and one washed. Each night one of them had two tasks, while the others enjoyed only one. Each was responsible for their own rooms, and bringing down and putting away their laundry. We shared the load of keeping the house, because at the end of the day we were all equal partners in making the mess of the home. It seemed only fair that everybody do their part. But, it wasn’t always this way because obviously when the girls were little they couldn’t really help out around the house, and for me those were the days when I felt it was a struggle to make sure that the workload was distributed in a way that felt fair. It took some time to iron out a list of household duties that felt balanced, so that neither of us felt like we were keeping it all together and all running smoothly, but we eventually got there.
Like I said in the on-air segment picking tasks and assigning them to the person who enjoys them most, helps with laying the groundwork for a happy home life. Yannick loves driving, me not so much, so whenever the girls were at a play date, or a school play practice ran late he loved jumping in the car to go get them. Yet he hated shopping, so whenever one of them needed something special either to wear, or to complete a school project, I was all over that. I found that when we did, and continue to complete the household chores that are a natural fit for us things run so much smoother than if you’re trying to fit a square peg in a round hole with your partner.
If, however, like my mom you’re a single parent, then the importance of delegating household chores to your kids is imperative to you feeling supported in the many tasks of running a home. Again, making the execution of these chores as pleasant as they can be with a grumpy teenager all hangs in the balance of having a family meeting and letting them chose the tasks that they already like doing. I’m not saying you won’t get any mouthy/saucy comments from your peanut gallery when it comes time to actually getting the jobs done, I’m just saying it will make it that little bit easier if you can remind them that they picked their responsibilities, and now it’s time for them to put their money where their mouths are and get busy cleaning!! Besides, you’re not doing them any favours by not teaching them about how much work goes into maintaining a household, nor are you making them awesome future partners if you don’t have them learn about sharing the load of being a living breathing human being in the world, and being responsible for cleaning up after themselves. So parents, delegate today so you can enjoy future visits in their clean homes later!