Our household is so busy right now with the combined needs of a preschooler, a toddler, two dogs, a cat, a new baby on the way, plus the tasks and appointments related to June’s trach and medical care, starting an exciting homeschool schedule soon, and…well…we also started an in-ground vegetable garden because the kids are enjoying caring for our existing strawberry and kale potted plants so much….that the standards for household chores are set at ‘minimum’ for the foreseeable future. These are the things I would ideally like to accomplish each week (plus laundry and dishes obviously but those are “all the time/fit it in throughout each day” tasks).
The original intent of this board was to ensure that each item moved from To Do over to Done every week. Since I’ve been pregnant, I have never ever gotten all of these tasks done in a given week. Instead, the current plan is that only things that are sharp, dangerous, or growing mold must be addressed each day. Everything else gets done when it gets done. (We sound like a classy bunch.) This magnet system still helps me get to each chore with enough regularity to ward off mold epidemics, mind you, because I tend to remember what tasks haven’t moved recently. But it’s the “half done” stuff that can cause us problems like never-ending soaking of pots, forgotten damp swim wear, exiled muddy shoes and towels left in the rain, abandoned washer loads, and poorly dried dryer cycles.
A few times, I’ve gotten frustrated over the fact that I cannot simply power through and get all of this done- especially when a half-done chore undoes itself like the examples above. But I’ve finally accepted that this stage of our life is like living in an old slapstick comedy film. As I do chores, somewhere off camera my recent work is being undone. When I make peace with the fact that getting it all done is an unreasonable goal for us right now, I can appreciate the comedy in these commonly occurring moments:
*When the kids help pick up long-abandoned toys, they have an instant, urgent need to begin playing with them again.
*Vacuuming requires toys to be picked up and for the kids to be awake. These are mutually exclusive sets.
*Medical supplies and the contents of the recycling bin outrank actual toys as sources of entertainment.
*June’s HME (a trach accessory) rivals Lego pieces in the category of “pain caused when stepped on.”
*Several times Greg or I have prepared to slide alarge stuffed animal out of our way in the dark only to discover it is in fact one of the pets.
*And several other times upon seeing this, we’ve wondered what in world has happened to the dogs.
*Both kids love dumping drinks, salt, chips…anything really…onto the table or floor. If none of it is crushed or ground into their clothes, we initiate an immediate clean up. If it is crushed, soaked, or smeared however, it is declared a “sensory activity” or “experiment” for however long the kids remain interested.
*The likelihood of an item falling into putrid dishwater is directly proportional to how clean the item is currently.
*When the kids see bread items left out in the kitchen, they desperately want a piece only for the precise amount of time it takes to prepare it for them.
*When bread items are properly stored in the pantry, the dog, who I’m currently referencing to my husband as “your dog,” eats the entire package once she’s unattended. (This week: tortillas, sandwich bread, hot dog buns, and English muffins.)
*June systematically removes items from the kitchen trash can.
*My husband’s dog systematically removes items from the kitchen trash can. And eats them.
*We punctuate our days with several high-stakes games including “Blood or paint?,” “Chocolate or poop?,” and “Guess which species left this urine.”
*Various ways in which my Crock-pot plans have been derailed this month: husband’s dog ate a vital ingredient, grocery store had no baskets to shop for ingredient, I didn’t get Crock pot started in time for recipe, while preparing to make recipe I realized we needed to leave for a forgotten doctors appointment, Crock pot was still dirty when I planned to cook next Crock pot meal, Crock pot recipe was scheduled to be done after the kids’ bed time, not enough left overs as I planned on, and too many left overs so food was wasted.
*It’s clear that I should cross out half of my planned meals and write in, “McDonalds, Chinese take out, Eggos, and grocery store ready-made deli dinners” because that’s what actually ends up happening each week.