Archives For Organizing

Chore Chart 4.0

Leigh —  August 21, 2012 — Leave a comment

So we started on our new updated chore chart yesterday.  As with every update, it was met with excitement and smiles and a high level of enthusiasm from all participants.  And on the surface, it was a very good show.  So good in fact that any amateur would have found it very believable, but I wasn’t fooled.  I have been down this road, and I know where it leads.

You know that saying about the definition of insanity?  Well, call me insane because we are trying it again.  I keep thinking that if I change the chores around and make it easier and easier, that this time the chore chart will stick.

We started the cycle over a year ago with a chore chart I bought from Amazon.  It was based on a reward system, as in, you do a certain amount of chores, and you get XX amount of rewards.  The chores weren’t complicated…feed the cat, make your bed, that sort of thing.  And the rewards ranged from money to lunch at Chick-fil-A.

At first, she was ALL about it.  I think she even said, “Thank you for my chore chart, Mommy!”  And I prematurely patted myself on the back because I’m teaching my kid about responsibility.

But after about two weeks, her excitement started to dwindle, and she soon realized that while rewards are fun, chores are not.  And I found myself nagging her all day about how few chores had been completed.  Eventually I would just stop mentioning it because honestly, I do enough nagging around here without hanging a list of reminders on the fridge.  And the chore chart would hang there untouched for months.

Then I would start to feel guilty and wonder:  What exactly am I  teaching her with the chore chart or lack thereof?  If your chores are boring, then just stop doing them?  Who needs to learn about earning rewards when birthdays and Christmas come around once a year?

So now instead of being a nagging mother, I felt like I was an irresponsible one.  So I would update the chore chart, and we would start the cycle all over again.

So here we are in the honeymoon phase with Chore Chart Version 4.0.  Oh sure, I’ve tried a slightly different approach in that I’ve dumbed it down even more and added stickers, but eventually, she’s going to catch on and see it for what it is…a list of things she doesn’t really want to do.

But until then, I’m going to take pleasure in the enthusiasm she has about cleaning her room and enjoy my break from feeding the cat…even if it is short lived.

If any of you mommies out there have some kid-tested and approved chore chart ideas, I would love to hear them.  I’m curious to know if it’s possible to keep the chart going without the nagging…or do I just need to accept that chore charts and nagging go hand-in-hand?

I was seven months pregnant with Edie when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.  As long as I live, I will never forget the news footage of that disaster.  The devastation seemed unreal.   I remember watching one scene in particular where a pregnant woman was being rescued from a rooftop.  I don’t know much about her story, but whenever I’m reminded of Hurricane Katrina, I think about that woman.  As I watched her on TV, I sympathized with her.  From the looks of things, she wasn’t that far behind me in her pregnancy.  I remember sitting there watching her being air lifted to safety, knowing that she wasn’t just fighting to save her life, but her unborn child’s as well.  That was one of my earliest glimpses into what it feels like to be a mother.  To understand that my life isn’t just about me anymore, but also protecting these children that God has entrusted to me.

What happened in Japan is a nightmare.  I can’t even begin to wrap my head around the devastation, and my heart breaks for the Japanese people.  And now even if they lived through the disaster, their battle for survival is not over.  Now there are shortages on basic supplies.   They can’t even buy food.  Mothers can’t give their babies the basic necessities like bread and water.  I’ve heard stories about how the Japanese people are only buying what they need and leaving food for the next person who comes along, but with this kind of devastation, it doesn’t take long for the shelves to become empty even when you’re dealing with class acts.

These types of pictures haunt me:

supermarket 1

supermarket 4

As I was putting my groceries away today, I said a prayer for the Japanese people because this is what my pantry shelves look like:

Downstairs Pantry - Left side

Upstairs Pantry

You see, I started clipping coupons about nine months ago in hopes of saving some money on our grocery bill.  All the food that’s pictured here was bought at half price or less, and this is only half of my pantry and doesn’t include my deep freeze.    One of the basic principles behind clipping coupons is stockpiling.  That means you buy items before you need them while they’re on sale.  Then when you do need them, you’re not running out and buying them at the full, marked-up price.  I save a ton of money shopping this way, but honestly, for me, clipping coupons isn’t just about saving money anymore.

Stockpiling brings me peace of mind that if for some reason the grocery shelves in Birmingham, AL looked like those pictures from Japan, I could still feed my kids.  I can’t list all the scenarios that could possibly cause a food shortage.  Quite honestly, I don’t like to think about that kind of list because those events bring a lot of devastation and pain, but I know it happened a little over five years ago in New Orleans, a six hour drive from my house.

We take food for granted in the U.S. because it’s so easy to obtain.  Most families don’t even keep more than a weeks worth of groceries in their house, and don’t try to convince me otherwise because I’ve been to the grocery store after the weatherman has mentioned snow in his forecast.  We don’t even keep enough food around to make it through a snowstorm, and that’s not even considered a disaster.

Right now, I want to challenge you to reconsider how you look at food storage.  Two generations ago, stockpiling food was the norm.  It was common for people to store goods for the winter.  I bet if you asked your grandma, she can remember canning pickles as a kid.  That was how they survived, and now several decades later, I’m the butt of friend’s jokes because my pantry is packed full.  If you want to think I’m crazy, go ahead.  I’ve already heard it before, but I will remind you that the grasshopper didn’t think the ant was silly in the end.

If you have any questions about clipping coupons and getting started, I will be more than happy to teach you the ropes.  Just send me an email or message on Facebook.

IMG_2705 copy

Since last fall, Edie has been involved in the Awanas program at our church on Wednesday nights.  To say that she loves Awanas is an understatement.  If she could marry it, she would.   In Awanas, as she memorizes certain verses of the Bible, she earns jewels for her special vest.  She is such a goal oriented kid that this is right up her alley.

Well, the last assignment in her current book didn’t involve scripture memory.  Instead, there was a chart that I was supposed to check off each day according to how well she had behaved.  She liked the chart so much that around the second day into it she told me, “Mommy, we should have a chart like this for everyday.”  Within five minutes, I was on Amazon ordering her one.

We have just completed the first week of Edie’s chore chart, and for the life of me, I’m trying to figure out why we haven’t done this sooner.  In this particular chart, if she completes a task for that day, she gets a check for that task.  At the end of the week, she is rewarded based to how many checks she has earned.  Her chores range from keeping her room tidy to eating a serving of vegetables each day.  But I’ve also included more specific tasks like cleaning up after bath-time and keeping the hall free of those pesky toys that like to trip me and make me say ugly words.   For her rewards, I’ve decided to start a small weekly allowance and then she can also earn things like lunch at Chick fil A (her favorite).

In a nutshell, this week has been awesome.  My picky eater has begged me to cook vegetables and has kept her room cleaner than I ever knew was possible.  Ken even commented this week on how the house had stayed realtively clean all week and wanted to know my secret.  I pointed to the magical chart, and said, “Edie’s been picking up after herself all week.  Who would have guessed that she was actually the slob in the family?”