Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Working their fingers to the bone

Some people think that I have kids because I think they're so cute, because I feel inspired to have more children to devote my life to, because I don't know how to use birth control.
Well, they're all wrong.
I have kids so they can do all the work for me. Seriously. Just ask my kids. I do nothing and they do all the work and it is awesome.

I thought I'd let you in on my Guide-to-the-Easy-Life Job System. Get those bon-bons out, ladies. Life's about to get cushy.
Our chores fall into three categories:
Category #1: Jobs-that-are-so-everyday-they-don't-even-merit-a-place-on-the-job-chart
  • Make bed, or clean up blankets from where you were sleeping on the floor (Gabe)
  • Clean room
  • Get dressed
They have to do this before they can eat, because hunger is a real motivator.
Category #2: The job chart jobs
  • Straighten house--stairs and main living areas (done right before dinner)
  • Clean bathroom--straightened and wiped with Clorox wipes (done after everyone's slopped their toothpaste all over the counter, after breakfast)
  • Straighten basement (done right before dinner)
  • Clear table (done after dinner...I actually have to work and clear the breakfast/lunch dinner)
  • Empty car--clear and put away all of the day's accumulations (done before dinner)
  • Garage and Outside--clean up all outside toys/otter pop wrappers/return all the neighbor kid's flip flops (before bed)
  • Set Table
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Sweep (done after dinner)
  • Laundry (see laundry post)

Emma (or Miley on the job chart), Gabe (Yu-gi-oh) and Jane (Sparkles the Snow Leopard) have 3 jobs, Seth ( Diego, a new slave, see him on his first task below) has 1. Everything is velcroed and they rotate down one job on each Monday morning (so we get to be tortured by Jane's poor job execution for 3 straight weeks. I'm SO happy when it's Emma's turn to straighten the house again).

Rewards/Consequences

No one plays until there jobs are done.

If they do it happily and on the first asking, they get a check. All green checks = 25 cents a day, making their weekly job earning possibility a whopping $1.50 a week. If they yell and cry (Jane) or make me ask them 10 times (Jane) or do a really poor job (Gabe), they get an X. And X gets nothing. Except when it's X'd, then they can go play.

Category #3: Friday Jobs

I basically decide what deep cleaning the house needs and assign it out. Sometimes it's happy and gets done in 2 hours; sometimes it's so miserable that Ryan and I can't take the sacrament the next Sunday.

Here's a sampling of what they do:

Vacuum, clean bathroom (I always do that bathroom the next week, to insure less e coli), wiping table and chairs, windows, dusting, trash emptying, spot cleaning and drying the floor (with Mom mopping--keeps me off my hands and knees), washing walls.

So that's how I read and blog so much. I have nothing to do around here.

Serious note: It takes quite a bit of consistency, calling kids in to re-do jobs, forcing myself to be happy with less-than-perfect, listening to whining, stopping what I'm doing to re-focus or help--but it's my job as a mom to teach my kids how to work. And they really are pretty darn good. And I really don't know how I'd manage without the kids that have learned how to help out (Emma and Gabe).

It's awesome to have my servants.

37 comments:

Laurie said...

I'm so excited I'm the first post!!!

I seriously need to turn my boys into slaves. It's just so exhausting getting it all started.

mandy* said...

Okay, you are a super mom. Can you write a book? PLEASE????

nurse graham said...

Wow, the next time my kids complain that they are being raised by tyrants, I so having them read this post! Keep up the good work and inspiration!

Kara Jayne said...

Looks like it's time to train me some servants!! Thanks for the great outline!

Kenny and Linsey said...

I'm starting this system - I love it. Caleb is 2 1/2 so he can handle some responsibility - you're a genius. You need to write a book.

Sally said...

Totally inspirational.

Carie said...

My kids are also my slaves. I am a big believer in making the children earn their keep.

I though do not have a cool LAMINATED chart with specific assignments. This would go over much better than my arbitary assigning of tasks. Plus, who doesn't want to earn a buck-fifty?

You are a rockstar, my friend. I can't wait until we live closer.

Lauren in GA said...

Jessica, I am copying this post off and using it to adjust the way things are done around here.

I am being totally serious.

You are so funny. I love how you say things. For example, "Get those bon bons out ladies. Life's about to get cushy." or, "sometimes it's so miserable that Ryan and I can't take the sacrament the next day." You truly amaze me. It takes a very talented writer to be able to make a chore post witty :)

I am off to formulate my new indentured servantry chart. THANKS!

Erika said...

You are so on top of your life it makes me sick. I like the don't let them eat until they're dressed part - I'll use that one.

J'net said...

I smiled ALL the way thru this!
I just cleaned or hired it clean when the kids were
growing up, except for their rooms and folding
laundry... NOW, Jake is a clean freak, Jax is still
kinda messy w/ a cleaning husband, Jenna HATES
to vacuum and Jesse just zones out on the XBOX so he can look up and say "WHAT?" after the chore is done...
I really like the "Friday" clean so Sat. can be a FUN day!
I vote for that, we do sheets on Mon. and that gets us going at the first of the week!
Sounds like you are lovin' life!!! Enjoy the SLAVES!!!

Brooke said...

Wow, you've got the life! :)

shauna said...

Love this post. Sounds like you've got a great system going. Thanks for sharing!

Brooks said...

Jessica, YES -- I lurk and read your blog all the time. NO-- I never comment (sorry). But on this one, I just had to say...........BRAVO!!! Please pass the Bon Bons!!! ---Shirley (I don't have a google account, but Brooks does) Baltich

Kara said...

I think I'm going to need to try something new like this. I too especially like the part about having to get some things done before breakfast. We're struggling with the morning chores this school year.

Kimberly said...

Again, I'm amazed by you. I just need to motivate my lazy self to follow your example!

adam said...

So, can you come and train my children to work for me? Currently, their playroom is locked until Monday because they wouldn't pick it up.

Nancy said...

I have no slaves yet... can you bring yours to my house? I could use some help. I'll double your daily allowance.

Kirbell said...

Can you just make me one of those fancy job charts - WOW! I need to get the whip crackin' around here. I'm about to show Ian that his life is far cushier than his old friend Gabe's.

Rachel said...

Now THAT'S what I'm talkin about!

I've always said to my friends that I am not opposed to slave labor within the walls of my own home.

I'm glad I'm not alone...

mamasuisse said...

Just wait until they get older and need less guidance from you to get their work done . . . life becomes very good. I fought my husband on teaching the kids to do chores - apparently it brought back traumatic flashbacks from his own tortured childhood. He would always say, "Isn't it a lot easier to just do it yourself?" If looks could kill . . . Now that he's worked from home for the past few years, he's FINALLY on board and appreciates how well the older kids can get their chores done. I love your chore chart and may have to come up with one for the up and coming chore learners.

Christie said...

I think we are twin sisters, separated at birth. Seriously. I DO THE EXACT SAME THING. Down to the 25 cents a day for payment for their slavery. I think we're both genius.

Lisa-Marie said...

I have been rolling different chore charts around in my head for literally MONTHS. I'm not joking. I've been wanting to get a system put together but haven't done it cause it had to be perfect. Why do I always do that? Refuse to do something if it can't be perfect? But, NOW...you have shown me the perfect chart. I love that!!! I'm doing it this week!

THANKS!

Bridget said...

This is great. My kids have their chores daily and deep cleaning on the weekends but they don't get allowance so there is no real motivation I suppose for them to do a good job and without whining. I did just get job charts so now I am excited to get this going so I can look as organized as you! My kids would be very excited about the though of getting money too.

AMY said...

I love the job chart. Did you make it yourself? I've definitely got to graduate Aidan from chores such as... making his bed and getting dressed. I'll have to try making breakfast last, good idea.

Jacki said...

What a great idea. I love the chart idea. I could really use some help around my house. Do you think 3 months is a little to early to start the whole chores idea? No, me neither.

heather said...

I am impressed! Will you come over and whip our family into gear?

gab said...

Wanna trade kids for a few weeks?

Anisa said...

Ohhhh, that seems like so much work. I need to be better because it does teach them a valuable lesson. It's just usually easier to do it myself.

And food is not a motivator for my kids... they don't eat anything. I can bribe Brenner with money. Joren just can't be bribed... he walks to the beat of his own drum.

andrea said...

this is very, very good.

i find your type A extremely sexy.

will you marry me?

Hazen5 said...

I need to get me some more slaves, I mean kids! (hehehe)

Paige said...

Thank you for posting this. I shall copy and obey.

Ilene said...

I remember mopping the floor and thinking that my parents had kids so they didn't have to do chores themselves.

I fancied myself Cinderella.

Obviously I am not because I am still mopping floors.

Holly said...

I like your style--and your chore chart--must copy.

Adrianne said...

This post is totally deceiving. You barely comment in the footnote the IMMENSE amount of work it is to arrive at this system. I predict a good 60% of those that attempt to implement it will abandon their efforts before they achieve your level of slavery.

Natalie said...

I ditto Lisa Marie. MONTHS!! I tell you Months! Like 24 MONTHS! Did you make that yourself? Did you buy it?

Laurie said...

Talk about outsourcing! Fantastic. ;)

Tammy said...

Ok, funny and serious....
funny: this is sooo the reason mormons have so many kids, they end up with all of these fabulous servants, they are so much smarter than other reglious sects!
serious: you are a great, consistent and disciplined person and mom and they will totally learn responsibility.
Additional: I did not really have chores as a kid, I just played but I still turned out ok....so if you cannot get your kids to do chores, they may still be ok?!