(All right, dear mama. If you are sitting there surrounded with diapers
and no "big" kids, then you just file this away for later? Okay?)
What Do You Want?
Take a step back and ask yourself: What do you want your home and family life to look like in ten years?
Do you want to carry that "Busy Mom" badge around? Do you want to wait on your children hand and foot? Do all the laundry by yourself? All the cooking? All the cleaning? All the dishes? For four people? For six people? For more? -OR-
Do you want a family that works together as a team? Do you want to chat with your children or sing silly songs together as you clean up the kitchen? Do you want them to put away their own clothes? Do you want them to actually take care of that dog they begged you for?
Yeah. That's what I thought.
Somebody Has to Lead the Team
Okay. So if you are going to function as a team, somebody has got to take the lead. Now, please don't misunderstand me! Your husband is the head of the family. He gets to be king of the castle, but that, dear mama, makes you the queen.
(Clears throat...) Now if you just had images of bon bons and butlers and ladies-in-waiting, you better go get a pin and pop that little bubble (sorry)!
You see, the King of All Kings came to serve and lead and train. He is the best example of a Servant King.
And He wants you to be the Servant Queen of your home. Not the maid.
Food for thought:
And that, my friend, is where I kept tripping up. I have four kids with the biggest being in middle school and the smallest being a toddler. Their chores are all over the place and at different levels. Some of them overlap, and it can be hard to tell who was slacking off. Other chores are totally out of my line of site, and they pile up until I practically trip over them (or my husband does, oops)!
I needed to do something to make my standards clear. But what?
Enter Inspection Day
I took a hard look at my weekly routine and decided to change stuff around. Fridays became Inspection Day. That was three months ago, and man, am I ever glad I did that.
No, I haven't turned into some crazy lady dragging my white-gloved finger across stuff checking for dust. But I do have a list, and I do check it.
After we finish our school work on Inspection Day, the kids run around in a bit of a flurry, putting in a little extra oomph to their last minute preparations. And then I start being summoned.
"The upstairs bathroom is ready!"
"The yard is ready!"
"Will you come check the van?"
I answer each summons, a little Servant Queen looking in to see how her most trusted subjects have done with their responsibilities. I try to give my kids plenty of grace, and inspect the work mindful of their age and skills.
Usually I announce "This passes inspection! Well done!" and we move on to the next thing. Usually.
But Sometimes a Job Has NOT Been Done Thoroughly. When that happens, it's my job to call them on it. Kindly. I've found I get a lot further by saying something like "Your room is coming along well. But I need you to clean under your bed before it can pass inpection."
And Sometimes Inspection Day Reveals the Need for Further Training. The other day I noticed my sons had done a great job picking up their stuff, but their room still looked messy. I took the time to have one of them fetch the dustpan and broom, and then I set a higher standard for their floors and taught them how to meet that standard.
(I can get mad that they didn't read my mind on what "clean" looks like. Or I can train them to do better. I'm sure you can figure what works best.)
Inspection Day is a Good Day.
I love it because I know that things are getting done. I may not be cleaning or cooking, but I have a day to make sure I am actively training my children in skills they will need for the rest of their lives.
And my kids enjoy getting feedback on their work. They need to know that I'm looking in on what I've asked them to do. They need to know that I care about the effort they put into their work.
Ready to create a routine you can live with?
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