Every single summer I wonder how we're going to keep from going crazy being home together all day, yet we manage to do it. I have these idealistic expectations that we are going to sit around, making things together, playing games, and spending hours at the beach and pool without any arguments and button pushing. It never seems to play out that way.
I'm the kind of person who likes to be home. I like to have projects to do and to get things done around the house. Many of my kids are that way, but that doesn't mean there isn't contention and messes while we do it. Growing up, we had "hour jobs" during the summer. Sometimes they would be outside (usually doled out by my dad), sometimes they would be in the house (I preferred these ones: less sweat and dirt). We've carried on the tradition, much to the dismay of my six little Dills, but they are also learning how to work and to Get. Things. Done.
They have to be out of bed by 8 and breakfast ends at 9, so the kitchen isn't a mess all morning long. I wanted more structure than just one job per day (this is in addition to their kitchen jobs). So, on day one, I told them they were expected to do several things each day: 1-hour job, 1/2 hour exercise, 1/2 hour training Scout (did you know we got a dog?!), 1/2 hour reading scriptures. They are required to do an hour job for 4 of the days and the fifth day they make lunch, which includes planning what they want to make, and letting me know so I can buy the ingredients. We did this last year and I got tired of eating macaroni and cheese every lunch, so I told them they couldn't repeat any meals this summer. We will see what that entails. ;)I also made a chart this year so we can keep track of who has done what. I trust them to be honest when putting stickers on, but they also help each other stay honest. ;)
Ideas for hour jobs:
- Clean front of cupboards
- Wipe down doorknobs and light switch plates
- Scrub baseboards
- Scrub grout
- Tidy toys
- Clean out fridge
- Organize cupboards and closets
- Touch-up paint
- Sweep/mop rooms
- Do laundry
- Clean out garage
- Vacuum/clean car
- Wash windows
On Friday, once they've completed their hour job, we go to the library, out to lunch (for those with their stickers filled up), and to the pool or beach. Sometimes we get a movie for those post-swim cuddle times, too. After lunch we have one hour of "quiet time". I let them take turns spending their quiet time with me so they have some undivided attention from me, even if it's just one hour. I told my mom that I though, if I can get them to do all this, I wonder what else I should put on that chart! ;)
Recently, Divine and Pearl went with their church leader to help clean the house of a woman who had lost her husband. I received this text from their leader: I love, love, love your girls. To the moon and back. Seriously. Pearl and I were in the presence of the dirtiest bathtub I've ever seen--I gasped when I pulled back the curtain! Pearl's first response to my gasp was to ask if I was okay! Anyway, she looked at the tub and matter-of-factly said she had Lemi Shine at home that could clean it. It wasn't strong enough, but she just assessed the situation in search of a solution. No judgment. It was very impressive! They worked hard and did a good job. It was more fun because we did it together. Just thought you should know.
Every once in a while you get a glimpse of doing something right as a mother and you think, okay, I can do another day of this parenting thing. What do you do for summertime chores?