I was on day 2 of my 3 day stretch at work. I was exhausted and trying to catch a cat nap on the couch while the kids used me as a jungle gym and watched a movie. Jr., my son nicely folds a blanket that had been strewn across the living room floor, very nicely places it on the other end of the couch and exclaims:” look mama! I just did 29% of your job for you!”. I glared at him and responded: “I have been awake for a total of 41 hours of the last 48 hours. Don’t test me or you can really do my job for the entire day”. He pauses for a moment:”so I did like 2% of your job then?”. I was exhausted by this point so I let it go and returned to my nap. It made me think though, Did he really think folding one blanket in a house with 5 people in it is 29% of my job?
I finished out my work week and picked a weekend day where we had nothing else planned. I made a list of things that needed to be completed from start of the day to end. I gave him a little challenge to complete if he dared. (insert maniacal laugh). In this challenge he would be responsible for all of the following daily household tasks: getting his sisters up, preparing and cleaning up after all meals and snacks, laundry, dishes, diaper duty, dog poop duty, and general pick up of the house as well as resolve any tantrums the girls had throughout the day. He would show compassion and understanding to the other people in the house, kiss the boo-boos and be Mr.Mom. He accepted the challenge!
The first part of the day I would not help him at all. The second part of the day I planned on helping out.I wanted to see how stressful it was without help and being and how much nicer it is when we help each other without complaint. This day was designed to be a challenge and a lesson.
Here’s how the day went…
7:30 am-His day started off early and very optimistic when the girls woke up. He fed everyone else breakfast before himself, changed a diaper, started folding laundry while the girls intermittently destroyed his hard work while he worked on another mess, cleaned up puppy poop, did the dishes. The Girls taking turns crying and throwing fits while he tried to complete his morning work. It was challenging without a doubt. I slept in and enjoyed my morning stress free with no responsibility other than feeding the pigs and ducks (which I enjoyed).
10:30 am- After cleaning up the second batch of puppy poop I pointed out for him, but did not clean he tells me: “this job sucks!” and off he went to complete the rest of his morning chores.
11:00 am- He finally gets a chance to put up his laundry he had folded. Girls still crying in the background and me “complaining” about having to put up my own laundry (because I am only responsible or myself today) he tells me in response to my bad attitude: “I haven’t even had time to get dressed yet! Just please put up your laundry!”I sighed loudly and put up my laundry.
11:40 am- I ask him still very whiny: “why’s the house so dirty”? (something he occasionally asks me). He’s very visibly stressed and no longer amused at this point. The mornings started to wear on his patients. In complete and utter frustration he belts out: ” I’m just not good at cleaning, this is hard”.
- After this point I didn’t want to make him suffer anymore. I helped him with the chores, did what he asked without a tone or whiny response. I tried to ask when I noticed him getting stressed if there was anything I could help him with. The day went much smoother and it didn’t go unnoticed. He was very appreciative of the help and we were actually able to have a fun rest of the day.