Don’t worry, I’m not going to give you a progress report every day. I just thought it would be good for me to check-in so I have some accountability rather than just saying I’m going to do something, and then never saying a peep about it again.
So, let me give you the run down of how things went after I posted yesterday.
By the time I wrote I had already done several things, like my walk and the beds etc. One of the first things I did was to make a new chore chart to stick on the fridge, and update my calendars with my new plans. See, progress!
As I was putting the chore chart on the fridge I told Chris what I was doing and why. Normally I would feel a bit picked on if he said I was being lazy in a particular area, but not this time. I think it was because it wasn’t just me that had realized it. As we talked about it we both came to terms with the fact that it was a family problem. Later last night after the kids were in bed and we looked around at a clean kitchen, a clean living room with no toy rubble, and reflected on the fact that the bathroom was tidy and everyone was tucked into bed after a calm evening and that we weren’t tripping on toys in the bedroom it reaffirmed that we were on the right track. We talked about the fact that it felt good. Like we could breath. It was calm. Most of all we realized that we had both allowed this issue to creep up on us. And like I said yesterday, it was innocent enough – let Yonese do it because it frees us up to do other things.
The biggest realization that we had last night as we looked around and reflected on things, was that this issue goes beyond clutter and organization. For our family it was a core value issue.
We live in a country where lighter skinned people tend to have more money, and therefore have people working in their homes in many different capacities to the point where kids are raised with the attitude that someone will always be there to do the things they don’t want to. We have seen situations where a family has had a nanny for each child and the parents only deal with the children when they’re being genial and happy. As soon as they fuss, the nanny whisks them away. That’s not our family. We believe part of our calling here is to set ourselves apart from that, to show that we are people just like our staff, and to put ourselves in a position of being willing to do the same work.
In our home, if we demonstrate to our kids that we are happy to let Yonese do the small things, what attitude will they end up with? Also, will we be taking on our Biblical responsibility as parents to “train them up in the way they should go”? Yes, that verse specifically refers to sound Biblical teaching at home, but I think it can also apply to teaching our kids about how they should function in the world. It’s our responsibility to teach them responsibility. How can they learn it if they see their parents slacking?
Last night as Chris and I talked about this, we quickly agreed that we needed to set the example in our home that while Yonese is our employee, we want to emphasize the mindset that she works with us, not for us. Because she works in our home it enables Chris and I to better serve the mission. We try to always demonstrate respect and work at having a healthy relationship with her and encourage her to develop her relationships with our kids. She sees the inner workings of our family in a way that many here don’t and probably never will. We can trust her with things that we don’t with others. The best way we can continue to develop that relationship and to nurture it is to show our kids how to approach it. We want them to have a healthy respect for responsibility, independence and those they come in contact with.
Aside from that, we both know that we all contribute to the way our home functions. It isn’t any one persons responsibility to make sure it all “works” and because of that we all need to make the effort to do our part. Chris knows that I feel overwhelmed, and the result of that is being very cranky, when I feel that everything is falling on my shoulders. Why should I have to live in everyone else’s mess? Why should they have to deal with my crankiness?
The chore chart is simple. Just a few, very easy, 5 minutes or less type jobs, for everyone to do each day that help keep us ahead of the chaos. I hate putting away dishes. Can’t explain why, it’s just the way it is. I will literally leave them sitting in the dry rack hoping they magically walk to the cupboard. Chris hates washing, but doesn’t mind putting away. Done. His job is to put the dishes away every day, not matter who washed them. Olivia, before bed, needs to pick up toys, put books away, and pick up her dirty clothes from the bathroom. Simple. My list has things like make beds, wash dishes on days when Yonese isn’t in, and sweeping. Alex just gets to sit there looking cute, for now.
Nothing on the chore chart is difficult. Nothing is unreasonable. All of it combined leaves us feeling more calm, together and happy.
This morning I set my alarm for 5 am. Chris thought I was joking when I said I was getting up earlier. I wasn’t. I did it, and I liked it.
Last night before bed I ground my coffee and had it all ready in the french press. I filled the kettle, so I only had to turn it on while I showered. I put my clothes out ahead of time so I didn’t have to go back in the bedroom and wake Chris up to get dressed. Alex woke up just after 5 so he got fed and fell back asleep. I drank some coffee, read some emails, got other stuff ready for the day. When Olivia woke up Alex woke up again, and rather than rushing people around, I sat with Alex in the rocking chair and chatted with Olivia while she got dressed. We had breakfast and got everyone going where they needed to. It was calm. I wasn’t cranky because I felt rushed. I wasn’t frustrated because I expected Chris to help me pick up the slack. Olivia had two patient parents this morning. It was wonderful. And so worth getting up early for.
The funniest thing was that as we talked about the difference Chris said, “If you like getting up early and keep doing it, I might just join you,” to which I said, “Nooooo! I want my time by myself. I don’t get any time to myself and I NEED it! I’ve missed it!” :) I think that’s why I like driving Olivia to school. It’s a nugget of time I have all to myself. Chris can just jump out of bed and be ready to go. I need a warm up time and I’ve really missed that in the past 6 years (yikes!) all because I’ve been lazy.
And yes, I did my walk too and feel good. Alex just woke up from his nap, so it’s time to go get him and do beds and laundry. Then onto mission work!
Have a great day!