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Project Responsibility- Pandemic Style

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

Household Responsibilities for Kids-Pandemic Style

We are coming up on ten months of living through a pandemic. I’ve harnessed my inner Elsa and let oh so many things go. I’ve worked hard not to create problems that don’t exist. I’ve realized that just as binge watching tv series has been an important coping mechanism of mine it may also be for my kids. Endless video games won’t equal neglectful parenting, in fact I enjoy hearing the giggle of my kids playing Nintendo together and interacting. We buy whipped cream at Costco because hey isn’t life better topped with whipped cream? The series I did on household responsibilities in 2019 seems like a past life, because it really was. Life has changed considerably and we are all doing our best to wade through it. So, when I realized that I was starting to feel resentful of all the constant cleaning, I didn’t waste my time being upset with myself for letting it all go and I didn’t get mad at my kids for being spoiled slobs (well ok, I did a little). I realized it's all part of what we did to cope. I didn’t aim to go backward in time and have 2019 expectations because I can’t even expect those of myself right now. Instead, I took all my best advice and created a manageable, non-overwhelming system which gave the kids lots of choice and autonomy. I floated the idea past them at dinner a few days before. I stated the problem: We have a new dog. You all begged for a dog. There were promises made that you would all help take care of the dog. Yet, I’m doing it all and it’s making me tired, overwhelmed and mad. We are in our house ALL the time. It’s messier then normal. And while no one is allowed in our house but us, it has to be kept sanitary and an inviting place to spend all of our time. I’m doing it all with your dad and we are tired, cranky and mad about it. I asked the kids for ideas about how to fix this… crickets… Since there was no feedback, I asked if they’d like me to write out a chart of what needs to get done and they could sign up for the least objectionable tasks. They agreed.

I created one for the house. At the top, you’ll see the things that are personal responsibilities that have always been expected (these could use some review too!) and underneath was a list of tasks that benefit the entire household. The kids took turns getting the first pick for different days and we switched off until we got through the whole week. I created a second one with responsibilities for caring for Rocky and we followed the same process. There is still way more work for Jeff and me than for them. However, like I had admitted before, I had let a lot go due to our struggles in life right now. I knew going from nothing to them feeling bombarded with chores would not be successful so we started small and you know what? It’s totally working. Yes, they need reminders, yes there is groaning but they are doing it! You know what? Groaning is normal... just listen when Jeff unloads the dishwasher every morning.

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