Last weekend, upon returning home from a week in Oregon, my sweet husband offered to help me with the 8 loads of laundry that had accumulated while we were away. Even though laundry is my "favorite" house chore, looking at the mountain caused me to gladly accept. Somehow when we work together, work seems to take less than half the time. A few hours later, Adrian was occupied when I heard the dryer end its cycle, so I went to switch out loads. Upon opening the dryer, I discovered that he had re-washed and dried the huge, heavy jeans load that I had already placed in the clean laundry basket ~ only I hadn't folded them yet. One thing about house help, whether husbands or kids: you can't always have it "your way", it may not be the most efficient, and it may not look the way you usually finish ... but still, I am thankful! I think thankfulness is the key to getting more help in the future.
As our family grows, I am finding my chore systems to need constant adjustment. I am still confused as to why, when we had our 4th baby the laundry seemed to double and I was running the dishwasher twice per day instead of once. After all, he was just an infant ~ why the increase? As he has gotten older, those adjustment have become "normal", but I am still battling the way toys reproduce while we aren't watching, and the way there are 8 little hands dropping items around the house no matter how closely I watch. Luckily Ella is stepping up to be a great help. I was once told that age 7 is when they really begin to pitch in around the house, and I've been waiting... for Ella, it was 7 1/2 (this autumn) when she suddenly started organizing and cleaning in a way I didn't know she was capable of!! Hurray!
Back to Dads. Last weekend, the girls were begging to go for a bike ride in the crisp autumn air. We also needed a handful of things at the grocery store, so Adrian combined the tasks and took E&T on bikes to Albertsons to shop! Along with all the fresh apples, oranges, bananas, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, & yogurt I had requested, they came home with mini Butterfingers, frosted sugar cookies, bologna, Cheetos, and a big tub of Tillamook ice cream. I am one (1 out of 6, that is) who attempts to keep high fructose corn syrup and artificial anything out of the house ~ and here walking in was a load of all of the above. I was rather amused. Oh, how the children would be lacking in balance if it weren't for their dad! They truly NEED the balance their daddy provides. (Well, maybe not the Cheetos...)
Adrian provides "balance" for the kids in many other ways, too. We have a routine of picking up toys (and books and clothes and many other miscellaneous items) before daddy gets home. Upon his arrival we have to strategically plan our 1.5 hours before bedtime. We eat dinner, clean up, set up a game, and then start the bedtime routine. Over the last week, we have been playing board games almost every evening. Sometimes game playing is slow going as they learn, but we are REALLY thankful to be together after Adrian was gone weeknights for 6 out of 7 weeks. And I'd much rather be telling the children which card to pick up than watching who-knows-what on the DVD player. We happily canceled Netflix a few months ago, and *might* get back to wholesome video watching when the weather turns really cold.
So... I am the one who calls out orders to get dressed, eat healthy food, wipe your mouth, keep on task in school, put away one project before you begin another, pick up your toys, you've played with the computer/iPhone/laptop enough, and get to bed on time. Adrian is the one who comes home, plays games, serves dessert, wrestles at bedtime, and knows how to relax.... God knew our children needed both.
Can you relate? I'd like to hear how YOU are balanced out by your family!