For me, parenthood is constantly being tweaked. I’m constantly trying to lessen the input needed from me to make my life easier.
Often I will find a system only to discover that it s inclusion often means even more work. For example, we have a chart for fruit and vegetable consumption every day (because with four kids I forget who has eaten what sometimes). However this chart has created even more questions. “Does this country as a fruit? Are four carrots enough to make one vegetable? I can’t find a fruit I like to eat!” You get the idea.
So I have to tweak the formula. I just have to limit questions I must answer in a given day. Otherwise my brain fades explosion.
Let’s take emptying the dishwasher. In our house, especially on school days when we have 14-16 people in the house, we can run the dishwasher as many as four times.
I do not empty the dishwasher.
Like almost never. Ever.
I have four kids capable of that chore and because they complain of boredom on occasion, I have decided this will my contribution to boredom-prevention in the lives of my offspring.
However, remembering whose turn it is for the dishwasher has been a constant battle.
I tried boys and then girls in rotation. But no matter whose turn it was, anytime I asked which sex was supposed to empty, the boys replied “Girls!” And vice versa as you could probably expect.
I then tried putting a photo of the girls and boys on the refrigerator and moving a magnet onto the other group’s photo to indicate whose turn it is. But there was lots of forgetting to move the magnet. Or multiple people moving it so it ended up right back where it had been.
It took awhile, but I finally found a system that works. I tried it for a few weeks before I decided it was successful enough to call it as such.
I keep the piece of paper pictures above taped on a desk in our breakfast nook. Each child is responsible to color in their own square if they empty the dishwasher. One square if they share the job. Two squares if they do it by themselves.
If they forget to color it in, too bad. Out of luck. This also means that if I can only find one kid at that time because the others are off on the farm, I can ask that kid to do it anyways and they just get ahead!
It has worked brilliantly!!