Living on a micro-farm involves a number of chores, if you will, than most other living situations. Living in a tiny house or in a smaller environment negates some of those time-hog activities. Having a family then increases the chores again. But communicating and assigning/delegating within the family divides it all another time. So it is rather easy to see that each situation has its own parameters in regards to cleaning, household chores, and outviagraor chores. In fact, right now I am working in our little office while Crystal is out mowing the grass. Earlier this morning she fed the chickens and the rabbit while I began weed eating around the gardens and the land. At this point we have a sort of unspoken way of doing things. But when we add Tilly Madison we are pretty sure those tasks will become a bit more laborious, tedious, and even more assumed. So we need to plan and communicate now!
If you are the head of your household (and this doesn’t speak specifically to men) you cannot ask for help. Why? Because asking for help implies sole responsibility rather than shared responsibility. When a family lives in a house the mess is theirs. It is not his or hers or mine or yours! A marriage is a partnership. A father-daughter is a partnership and like any partnership, it requires a sharing of responsibilities.
Below are a few tips to help you and your spouse share responsibilities around your house and land in order to avoid disagreements, arguments, resentment, and even disgust. Call it the Chore r(E)volution!
All The Others…
- What are your priorities? What are your spouse’s priorities? You need to answer these two questions. You need to know what is important to you and to him/her. How do you both feel about certain things? Someone has to cook a few meals. Do you enjoy cooking or do you prefer to eat out? Does he/she enjoy cooking or do they prefer eating out? What about your child? Do you want them to have home-cooked meals or are you content with them eating out as well?
- Work together to make a list of priorities and chores. There are those things that we all HATE doing. I’ll be honest. I don’t like big days of cleaning. I like to keep things tidy on a regular schedule so you never have to majorly clean. I do, however, hate to wash the car. It just isn’t something I enjoy. I don’t even like cars, to be honest. Crystal doesn’t care to clean the bathroom or feed the animals. So we adjust our priorities first on what the other may not like. We call the rest chores. Dishes are a chore. We share it. If she cooks, I clean. Weeding the gardens are sometimes a chore. We do it together and put no time limit on it. There has to be an ebb and flow and you have to communicate with each other what tide table you are on.
- Respect each other. Crystal was not raised to be super tidy. In her house it was okay to leave clothes lying around. Dishes could sit in the sink, unrinsed, for a day or two. In my home I didn’t have to replace toilet paper. My momma would do it. I also didn’t have to cook. I could simply tell my momma I was hungry. (Yes, I was a momma’s boy. Can’t you tell?) So because of our, um, shortcomings, we help each other develop new habits and realize that what is strong suit for one may be an SOS for the other.
- Consider your natural habits. I get up early. Doesn’t matter when I go to bed really. I just wake up by 6:30am without an alarm. I love having a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. So the real morning tasks (mostly of which is feeding and watering animals) fall to me. It helps that I truly enjoy the animals and spending time with them. Crystal gets up a bit later so a lot of morning she will fix us some breakfast and call me in to eat when it is ready. It works perfectly for both of us. Now when Tilly comes along we’ll see how this works out. But at least now we know that we have a system that works for us.
- Communicate. We sell a couple dozen eggs to a few people in town once a week. That always falls on a Thursday. Some weeks though I have to travel for work and can’t deliver myself. So I will tell Crystal in advance of the problem and ask her to deliver for us. It is a bit more of a burden for her but because we communicate early about it, she willingly does it. The key though is the communication aspect.
- Don’t play the blame game. If the bed isn’t made one morning without me asking, I do it. I don’t even mind doing it. What I don’t do though is point the finger at Crystal and say, “Why didn’t you make the bed when you got up this morning?” It takes me less time to make it then it would to pick a fight. It is pointless too. We are both human and there are going to be times we forget to do something or just don’t feel like doing it. Pick and choose your battles and don’t waste energy or time together on a bag of trash or a scoop of poop!
Do you and your spouse have any methods for doing chores at your home? Are you excited to start your own Chore r(E)volution? If so, please take the time to share with us and others!
And do stay tuned. Coming next week is a post on Sharing chores (with your child) to help your own r(E)volution!