After a month of successfully working our new schedules and chore responsibilities, I can honestly say that this journey was so well worth it. Everything in our lives goes more smoothly and our home looks so much better. I almost don’t feel the need to apologize every time someone comes to the door anymore. When that unexpected doorbell-ring hits my ears, I do that panicky glance around and realize that the house is actually acceptable. Not perfect, mind you, but acceptable. I’m not living in CHAOS anymore, even if it took the combination of Flylady AND MOTH to get me here!
All joking aside, our home has been much more peaceful. I’ve decided that this statement best sums up the way it works: I am going to exert a great deal of energy keeping my house clean and kids schooled or I am going to exert a great deal of energy at training my children and working the schedule.
Both of those plans can achieve the same results: a clean house and well educated children. But the first one leaves me feeling bitter at having to do all the work myself and my children ignorant of what it takes to run a household. The second way, well, it actually achieves the results I want rather than just holding the possibility of a clean house. By that I simply mean that when the responsibilities of the entire house rest upon my shoulders I am quick to let it go. It soon turns into CHAOS and I get frustrated and you know what they say… “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
The past month has been hard and it has required much attention from me but the results have been incredible. Before, the house would get clean but be dirty and messy 2 hours later. Now, the house gets attention during two or three SET blocks of thirty minutes each day, so if it gets messy, I don’t stress. I know it’s going to be taken care of sometime within the next few hours. And by someone other than me.
The key is not in the schedule; the key is not in the chore packs, though both of those are instrumental. The key is in the INSPECTION. The inspections that I do require the boys to do the jobs the way I first taught them, during week 1. Sort of like a car. It requires tires and a steering wheel to get anywhere, but without the engine, that piece of metal won’t budge. If you try this method and figure out the perfect schedule and create the cutest chore packs but do not inspect, DAILY (or twice daily if you have two sets of chore packs) then you probably won’t be successful.
With all of that said, I want to share some of the amazing things I’ve seen in my home over the past month.
- “I think it’s easier to keep our rooms clean because it’s in the schedule and because we get in trouble if we don’t.” (Note: The extent of their trouble has increased from me simply saying, “Your room didn’t pass inspection,” and making them fix whatever was undone to actually taking their iPods if they didn’t get it right. The reason the discipline was increased was because I was seeing careless errors like a drawer left open. They were failing inspections because of very obvious things that they should have been noticing.)
- Hayden came up to me one day at at random and said, “Thank you for all you do for us.” These chore packs are giving my children an idea of everything Matt and I have been doing for them for all these years and an appreciation for what it takes to make a household run.
- Along those lines, Carson came up to me while I was cooking one day and said, “You’ve been in here cooking all day! Thanks, mom, for always cooking.” More appreciation!
- I’ve been getting better sleep because my bed-time is on the schedule. Matt and I get to spend time together AND still get a decent night’s rest.
- I have been able to have my Quiet Time daily AND have an hour to write… with no guilt.
- My exercise has been much more regular and I even started Insanity, which is 6 days a week and so far, I’ve done great. Without the schedule and our new way of life, I would find it hard to fit in the day. (And I would find any number of excuses or other activities that sound like more fun… like writing.)
- I have only washed a few loads of clothes in the past month. Matt tends to wash the running/exercise clothes when he gets home at night so they’ll be ready for the next day; the boys all wash their own; one of Bailey’s weekly chores is to wash Parker’s clothes; and between Matt and myself, we don’t create that many dirty clothes. Oh, it helps that Matt wears a uniform and he is in charge of washing those.
- RECYCLING! AMAZING! The boys have been responsible for taking the recycling out for the past year and half. However, before MOTH they would wait for me to say, “take the recycling out” and for me to tie the bags and set the cardboard by the door. NOW, twice a week they are responsible for doing all of that on their own. I never have to say anything anymore!
- We rarely lose remote controls anymore. One of Matt’s BIGGEST PET PEEVES is sitting down to watch something and not being able to find one of our three remotes. I decided to adjust Bailey’s Living Room Chore Pack to include “Find Remotes.” I made three labels and now, every morning, Bailey is responsible for locating the remotes and putting them where they belong. Much frustration has been eliminated due to this one, small adjustment.
Here are some of the kinks I had to work out during the first month:
- Attitudes about chores were not too pleasant the first week.
- One morning I couldn’t find an SD card that belonged to a friend so I spent the first part of our morning frantically searching. That messed everything up and it showed me just how crucial my being prepared is. (I did find the SD card, thankfully.)
- Waking Parker up at 7:30 was great on paper but he was ready for a nap at 11, and I wasn’t ready for him to nap then. If I let him nap at 11 he’d be waking up from that nap during my exercise time. I adjusted his wake-up time to 8:30 and it worked perfectly from then on.
- I have not had the energy to focus on Cooking-by-the-month and I feel like I’m scrambling around every night. I plan to get organized by the 15th of February so I can cook BIG around that date. Somebody, please keep me accountable to this!
- I realized I had scheduled the washer for two boys at the same time on one of the days.
- I let the boys go outside for 10 minutes after lunch one day just to run off some energy but that backfired and they brought that energy back inside. Bad idea. They do much better if I just let them go straight to rest time after lunch and then get their energy out after nap.
- SERIOUS character training with Bailey for about a week and then he snapped into shape. It was worth it!
- Regarding character training, I had to teach them that hanging their chore packs up when they had not completed their chores was the same thing as coming to me and saying, “Mom, I’ve completed my chores and done them in the way you said to do them.” When I explained that if they hang the packs up with unfinished chores, they were actually lying to me. Now, if they are told to get started on something else and their chores aren’t done, they first let me know they’re not done and then they can put their chore packs on the kitchen table where we both can see that they need to come back to complete their tasks.
Very interesting fact: At the end of week one I was exhausted. You know that exhaustion you feel the first week back to work/school after summer break? That tiredness you feel after you begin that workout series that is kicking your tail? THAT was the kind of exhaustion I felt at the end of week one. I was mentally, physically, and emotionally tired. But, even that early I could see it was all going to be worth it. At the end of week two I was tired but not nearly as tired, as the boys had gotten more used to the new way of life. Now, I am actually seeing that things are running much more smoothly and life is less exhausting than it was before MOTH entered the picture. So, in saying all of this, let me assure you that it takes some practice and determination to make it work. Like an exercise regimen, if you quit after the first week when your muscles are sore, you’ll never get in shape. But, if you keep up with it, you might actually see some results!
To read the previous installments in the MOTH series see these links:
MOTH 7 – You are here.