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Run faster! Or not.

Mosiah 4:27:And see that all these things are done in wisdom and aorder; for it is not requisite that a man should run bfaster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.


Of course this scripture doesn’t apply to me, and probably not to you.  We have too much to do. Clearly this scripture was written before the 24-hour stresses of daily modern life evolved and now literally demand that we run, process and accomplish tasks as fast as our computers can—the robots set the pace. What I’m sure the scripture meant was, Do not run faster than the strength:

  1. you wish you had
  2. you once had, ten, twenty or thirty years ago.
  3. you think you should have if only you would try harder
  4. you imagine everyone else has
  5. you would have if you had less stress and enough money
  6. you had in that one instant where you were your strongest ever
  7. your kids have
  8. your delusional supermom fantasies lead you to believe you have
  9. all those inspirational famous people appear to have
  10. the robots.
This past week, during a little informal dieting support group I attend, I was told by others that I needed to slow down, take an occasional break, and maybe let up on some of the pressures I put on myself.  It was even suggested that I stop stressing about diet stuff altogether for a little while. My knee-jerk response to this was to wave it off.  I’ve done lots of things at once, I’m a veteran multi-tasker. After the past ten years of almost constant chaos, upheaval and stress, I can now look death in the face and laugh. Hah!

Plus, if I slowed down, it’s possible that any burdens I took off myself would simply be replaced by the guilt of doing so. So, why bother?

But after more thought, I realized that, although trials do make us stronger, I’m at a weak point right now. I get tired, emotionally and physically, more often at this moment in my life, for whatever reason. Perhaps I did need to readjust my expectations. I don’t think my schedule is that busy right now, honestly it feels like most of the pressure is actually coming from inside my own head (be better, faster, stronger!), but let’s take a look.

My list probably looks a lot like most people’s in my stage of life.  If I do everything I’m supposed to do in a day, it looks like this:
  • Feed people (3x)
  • Dishes
  • Laundry
  • Daily job (M-Kitchen, T-Bathrooms, W-Living Areas, H-Bedrooms, F-Van/yard)
  • Scriptures (usually done by audio while multitasking)
  • Check Bills/finances
  • Prayer (2x+) (usually in the shower–multitasking again)
  • Track/plan food
  • Kid shuffling: Homework, chores, piano practice, Activity Days, scouts, piano, tae kwon do
  • Music Practice: voice (U admission auditions 2/27), learn UCA music, piano proficiency exam prep, children’s choir prep
  • Exercise
  • Kid love: Cuddle and talk with kids, not about homework, chores or piano 
  • Husband time 
  • Service (VT, temple, trying to listen to the Spirit about who/what needs me, etc.)
  • Try to make some money 
  • Journal/Write
  • Quiet meditation (Hah. This generally doubles as “sleep.”)
No surprise, I don’t often get to the things toward the bottom of the daily list, the things that make me and my family more happy, sane and less stressed financially.  When I focus on the business of home and family and getting the absolute necessities taken care of, when I finally get to my own shower and am ready to at last get to work on the rest, it’s about 11:30 p.m. and I crash. 

Also, if my mind just revolts, and I sit down to rest or think in a quiet place for a minute, which is happening involuntarily more and more these days, there is always something that theoretically should be filling that time. No vacancies in the schedule allowed.
  
I know this is almost a universal problem with women in my place in life. I know we are supposed to simplify, yet my family and home need almost constant attention, I’ve felt direction from the Lord on the path I’m taking  with music even though that takes time. I just can’t see quite where I’m supposed to cut.

Then again, what’s not on my list, but takes a ton of my time and mental energy, is fruitless, tail-chasing anxiety, wall-staring panic, and Tetris-playing despair. Somehow, I never book enough time in the day to allow for these time hogs.

President Uchdorf said on this great talk on the subject

Let’s be honest; it’s rather easy to be busy. We all can think up a list of tasks that will overwhelm our schedules. Some might even think that their self-worth depends on the length of their to-do list. They flood the open spaces in their time with lists of meetings and minutia—even during times of stress and fatigue. Because they unnecessarily complicate their lives, they often feel increased frustration, diminished joy, and too little sense of meaning in their lives. 

It is said that any virtue when taken to an extreme can become a vice. Overscheduling our days would certainly qualify for this. There comes a point where milestones can become millstones and ambitions, albatrosses around our necks…

…My dear brothers and sisters, we would do well to slow down a little, proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstances, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most. Let us be mindful of the foundational precepts our Heavenly Father has given to His children that will establish the basis of a rich and fruitful mortal life with promises of eternal happiness.

In that same talk, President Uchdorf said that our relationships with God, our family, our fellowman, and ourselves, are the top priorities. The first task of the first priority, our relationship with God, was, in fact, quiet meditation, the neglected item at the bottom of my list:

Quietly focusing on daily personal prayer and scripture study…these will be some wise investments of our time and efforts to draw closer to our Heavenly Father. Let us heed the invitation in Psalms: “Be still, and know that I am God.” 

So, as I approach these last two husbandless weeks of bar prep and stress, I am going to make a commitment to myself to a sort of mental/spiritual/physical refocus, not with a longer to-do list, but by making the last first, beginning each day with quiet prayer and study to get inspiration for the day. Maybe that would help me minimize the unscheduled time-hogs (anxiety, panic, despair) by replacing all that paralyzing fear with some faith.  And I think I’ll put some kid love time before the kid shuffling time each day.

The Creator of the universe manages everything in order and love, so it only makes sense that as I face my own to-do list each morning, that I consult with Him first. 

Run faster! Or not.

Mosiah 4:27:And see that all these things are done in wisdom and aorder; for it is not requisite that a man should run bfaster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.


Of course this scripture doesn’t apply to me, and probably not to you.  We have too much to do. Clearly this scripture was written before the 24-hour stresses of daily modern life evolved and now literally demand that we run, process and accomplish tasks as fast as our computers can—the robots set the pace. What I’m sure the scripture meant was, Do not run faster than the strength:

  1. you wish you had
  2. you once had, ten, twenty or thirty years ago.
  3. you think you should have if only you would try harder
  4. you imagine everyone else has
  5. you would have if you had less stress and enough money
  6. you had in that one instant where you were your strongest ever
  7. your kids have
  8. your delusional supermom fantasies lead you to believe you have
  9. all those inspirational famous people appear to have
  10. the robots.
This past week, during a little informal dieting support group I attend, I was told by others that I needed to slow down, take an occasional break, and maybe let up on some of the pressures I put on myself.  It was even suggested that I stop stressing about diet stuff altogether for a little while. My knee-jerk response to this was to wave it off.  I’ve done lots of things at once, I’m a veteran multi-tasker. After the past ten years of almost constant chaos, upheaval and stress, I can now look death in the face and laugh. Hah!

Plus, if I slowed down, it’s possible that any burdens I took off myself would simply be replaced by the guilt of doing so. So, why bother?

But after more thought, I realized that, although trials do make us stronger, I’m at a weak point right now. I get tired, emotionally and physically, more often at this moment in my life, for whatever reason. Perhaps I did need to readjust my expectations. I don’t think my schedule is that busy right now, honestly it feels like most of the pressure is actually coming from inside my own head (be better, faster, stronger!), but let’s take a look.

My list probably looks a lot like most people’s in my stage of life.  If I do everything I’m supposed to do in a day, it looks like this:
  • Feed people (3x)
  • Dishes
  • Laundry
  • Daily job (M-Kitchen, T-Bathrooms, W-Living Areas, H-Bedrooms, F-Van/yard)
  • Scriptures (usually done by audio while multitasking)
  • Check Bills/finances
  • Prayer (2x+) (usually in the shower–multitasking again)
  • Track/plan food
  • Kid shuffling: Homework, chores, piano practice, Activity Days, scouts, piano, tae kwon do
  • Music Practice: voice (U admission auditions 2/27), learn UCA music, piano proficiency exam prep, children’s choir prep
  • Exercise
  • Kid love: Cuddle and talk with kids, not about homework, chores or piano 
  • Husband time 
  • Service (VT, temple, trying to listen to the Spirit about who/what needs me, etc.)
  • Try to make some money 
  • Journal/Write
  • Quiet meditation (Hah. This generally doubles as “sleep.”)
No surprise, I don’t often get to the things toward the bottom of the daily list, the things that make me and my family more happy, sane and less stressed financially.  When I focus on the business of home and family and getting the absolute necessities taken care of, when I finally get to my own shower and am ready to at last get to work on the rest, it’s about 11:30 p.m. and I crash. 

Also, if my mind just revolts, and I sit down to rest or think in a quiet place for a minute, which is happening involuntarily more and more these days, there is always something that theoretically should be filling that time. No vacancies in the schedule allowed.
  
I know this is almost a universal problem with women in my place in life. I know we are supposed to simplify, yet my family and home need almost constant attention, I’ve felt direction from the Lord on the path I’m taking  with music even though that takes time. I just can’t see quite where I’m supposed to cut.

Then again, what’s not on my list, but takes a ton of my time and mental energy, is fruitless, tail-chasing anxiety, wall-staring panic, and Tetris-playing despair. Somehow, I never book enough time in the day to allow for these time hogs.

President Uchdorf said on this great talk on the subject

Let’s be honest; it’s rather easy to be busy. We all can think up a list of tasks that will overwhelm our schedules. Some might even think that their self-worth depends on the length of their to-do list. They flood the open spaces in their time with lists of meetings and minutia—even during times of stress and fatigue. Because they unnecessarily complicate their lives, they often feel increased frustration, diminished joy, and too little sense of meaning in their lives. 

It is said that any virtue when taken to an extreme can become a vice. Overscheduling our days would certainly qualify for this. There comes a point where milestones can become millstones and ambitions, albatrosses around our necks…

…My dear brothers and sisters, we would do well to slow down a little, proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstances, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most. Let us be mindful of the foundational precepts our Heavenly Father has given to His children that will establish the basis of a rich and fruitful mortal life with promises of eternal happiness.

In that same talk, President Uchdorf said that our relationships with God, our family, our fellowman, and ourselves, are the top priorities. The first task of the first priority, our relationship with God, was, in fact, quiet meditation, the neglected item at the bottom of my list:

Quietly focusing on daily personal prayer and scripture study…these will be some wise investments of our time and efforts to draw closer to our Heavenly Father. Let us heed the invitation in Psalms: “Be still, and know that I am God.” 

So, as I approach these last two husbandless weeks of bar prep and stress, I am going to make a commitment to myself to a sort of mental/spiritual/physical refocus, not with a longer to-do list, but by making the last first, beginning each day with quiet prayer and study to get inspiration for the day. Maybe that would help me minimize the unscheduled time-hogs (anxiety, panic, despair) by replacing all that paralyzing fear with some faith.  And I think I’ll put some kid love time before the kid shuffling time each day.

The Creator of the universe manages everything in order and love, so it only makes sense that as I face my own to-do list each morning, that I consult with Him first. 

The Devil’s in the Emails

Unlike children, we adults have the privilege of setting and enforcing our own household rules for ourselves. We can write our own chore list, and we can do it or not. As I’m still in need of strict and structured discipline, I fabricate methods to accomplish my own goals, from the basic (keeping myself from getting on file at Child Protective Services for sanitation reasons) to the more ambitious (unequivocal self-mastery).

Some tactics discussed on this site, like the habits of the mean broom, dinner’s not over until the kitchen is clean, and the self-propelling Sunday chore chart meetings, I’m finding are really working.

After a vacation, the flu, and some family excitement, I looked around and realized the house was a mess. I remembered that I read on a website somewhere that kids should do chores, and then I remembered it was my website, and I went to find out what I said. (I have a short-term memory problem that is amusing and tragic.) I reinstituted the patterns swiftly and surprisingly painlessly–the kids complained less than I remembered them doing before all the upheaval. Things are well on their way back to tamed chaos.

But my chores weren’t getting done. And I have no respect for the authority figure (me) and am full of sass when confronted with jobs. You can guess the culprit (besides sheer laziness)–it’s the dumb computer. It has become clear that my lack of discipline regarding when and how long I use the computer is the main obstacle between me and achieving all my hopes and dreams in life.

This is new to no one. There are endless sites helplessly bemoaning the ignoring of children and household chores to email, blog, read and shop. If you have a question, for example, about Neustria, because you have some ancestor there in the 9th century and you need to know right now where it was and why it had that weird name and why it eventually was named France instead, you can drop everything and find out. Now. That is the coolest thing ever.

The computer dings and I run over to it like a salivating dog–Will it be a funny, irreverent forwarded email (or more likely a not-funny or sentimental one, or one that assumes my political leanings are just about the opposite of what they really are)? Maybe it will be a coupon from Enterprise car rental? Is it time for my daily love letter from Barack who always ends his sweet notes with trying to bum my money like a bad boyfriend?

You know the drill. Then there’s some link in there that’s interesting which reminds you of that other thing you’ve been meaning to look at and then you find yourself reading about a long lost medieval country on Wikipedia.

So it’s time to lay down the law and make some guidelines.

If I’m honest with myself, I need to make sure my work is done before getting on the computer, and although I’d like that to mean just my chores, I’ve also tried to put parenting on my list of things to do. I have too many kids to have real down time during the day. So that means no computer until all kids are asleep, which also happens to be spouse time. Still, I’m going to make and follow this rule for one week, no computer before the kids are in bed, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

My hypothesis is that my motivation to hang out with my beau will quickly decide for me how important all those emails are, and perhaps benefit you with less long-winded posts, too. I end with a favorite quote (although I always find it heart-pricking) written by John Wesley’s mother. She said:

“Take this rule: whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God or takes off your relish of spiritual things; in short, whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself.”
— Susanna Wesley (Letter, June 8, 1725)

I consider my reason officially weakened, so it’s off with the daytime email. Wish me luck!

My conversion to (family-centered) child slavery

Since I’m traveling and on vacation, I am reminded that when my children are out of their routine and spoiled rotten with endless activities and generous granparents, their behavior goes down the toilet. Since my vacation leaves me short on blogging time, I decided I’d repost an old, relevant post from my family blog from last September. Enjoy!

I see HUGE improvements with Ben when he is put to work vs. when he just is playing and being entertained. Case in point, at the end of a super fun-filled, totally child-centered day last week when I said it was time to go home, I got this conversation:

MOM: It’s time to go, get in the van please.
BEN: Why do we have to go? I never get what I want. Why can’t I get what Iwant just once in my life?
MOM: Today we went to the park, had a play date, ate lunch at Del Taco, watched a movie, and went to the park again. You’re fine. Sophie, get in the van.
SOPHIE: I don’t want to go, why do you always make us have to go? I want to stay!
MOM: We need to eat dinner, get in the van.
SOPHIE: You’re the worst mom EVER. What’s for dinner, anyway?
BEN: Probably something gross, as usual.

I’ll take the fifth on my response to these comments. So, there’s my life. Amused or disgusted? Perhaps you blame lack of discipline. Well, perhaps it is that I alternate days of complete play and freedom with drudging slavery.

An amusing side note, I said to Ben after this, “You know, on these play days, you guys act entitled and bratty, on work days, you are pretty much well behaved, thankful and respectful. I’m thinking play days are not working out for us.” To which Ben replied casually, as he looked out his van window, “Yeah, I guess we should probably have more work days.”

So, my huge epiphany lately has been child slavery. Spencer W. Kimball (and many other wise men and women) say it is the key to character, and we should create work for our children. I think the truth of that is made clear rather quickly, as I see the huge difference in attitude at the end of a work day vs. a play day.

My sister in law, shared a quote from a conference she attended which said it was the lazy parent who did everything for their children. I understand that now, that it takes much more work to expect much, explain how things should be done, follow up, retrain, follow up again. I know when I send Ben in to clean a bathroom with a list of instructions, that it won’t be done properly and he’ll probably come out covered in germs, but I do it, and weirdly, he thinks it’s fun.

And the bathroom is at least better than before. However, he just may play with the plunger on the back of the toilet, and the large, porcelain lid to the back of the toilet just may get suctioned up by said plunger just long enough to be lifted up before losing its suction and falling to the floor very, very loudly in a million billion pieces. And I may think that I’m such a nice parent that I handled it so calmly, but then I might totally lose it when I walk in 10 minutes later and the plunger is now attached to the vanity mirror. These things may happen. But the work pays off regardless.

My conversion to (family-centered) child slavery

Since I’m traveling and on vacation, I am reminded that when my children are out of their routine and spoiled rotten with endless activities and generous granparents, their behavior goes down the toilet. Since my vacation leaves me short on blogging time, I decided I’d repost an old, relevant post from my family blog from last September. Enjoy!

I see HUGE improvements with Ben when he is put to work vs. when he just is playing and being entertained. Case in point, at the end of a super fun-filled, totally child-centered day last week when I said it was time to go home, I got this conversation:

MOM: It’s time to go, get in the van please.
BEN: Why do we have to go? I never get what I want. Why can’t I get what Iwant just once in my life?
MOM: Today we went to the park, had a play date, ate lunch at Del Taco, watched a movie, and went to the park again. You’re fine. Sophie, get in the van.
SOPHIE: I don’t want to go, why do you always make us have to go? I want to stay!
MOM: We need to eat dinner, get in the van.
SOPHIE: You’re the worst mom EVER. What’s for dinner, anyway?
BEN: Probably something gross, as usual.

I’ll take the fifth on my response to these comments. So, there’s my life. Amused or disgusted? Perhaps you blame lack of discipline. Well, perhaps it is that I alternate days of complete play and freedom with drudging slavery.

An amusing side note, I said to Ben after this, “You know, on these play days, you guys act entitled and bratty, on work days, you are pretty much well behaved, thankful and respectful. I’m thinking play days are not working out for us.” To which Ben replied casually, as he looked out his van window, “Yeah, I guess we should probably have more work days.”

So, my huge epiphany lately has been child slavery. Spencer W. Kimball (and many other wise men and women) say it is the key to character, and we should create work for our children. I think the truth of that is made clear rather quickly, as I see the huge difference in attitude at the end of a work day vs. a play day.

My sister in law, shared a quote from a conference she attended which said it was the lazy parent who did everything for their children. I understand that now, that it takes much more work to expect much, explain how things should be done, follow up, retrain, follow up again. I know when I send Ben in to clean a bathroom with a list of instructions, that it won’t be done properly and he’ll probably come out covered in germs, but I do it, and weirdly, he thinks it’s fun.

And the bathroom is at least better than before. However, he just may play with the plunger on the back of the toilet, and the large, porcelain lid to the back of the toilet just may get suctioned up by said plunger just long enough to be lifted up before losing its suction and falling to the floor very, very loudly in a million billion pieces. And I may think that I’m such a nice parent that I handled it so calmly, but then I might totally lose it when I walk in 10 minutes later and the plunger is now attached to the vanity mirror. These things may happen. But the work pays off regardless.

Behold! The Wet Wipe! (and more preaching than I set out to do)

All you germophobes can just mellow. Seriously, soap and water go a long way and do far less to trigger short-term mega-germ evolution. Before I learned to appreciate child labor (loving, family-centered child labor, that is), one of my major reasons for not having the kids clean (right after being too lazy to show them how) was because I figured all the toxic cleaning chemicals they inhaled and absorbed through their skin would make it all moot anyway. My deformed and/or non-existent grandchildren wouldn’t grow up to thank me for instilling such an admirable work ethic.

I once sat happily in the “What-I-don’t-know-isn’t-really-true-camp” about household toxicology, back in the olden-days when concerns over chemicals were the ravings of hippie lunatics (2004ish) and could be swiftly dismissed. Then I got sent a Canadian news program clip where a toxicologist went through a family’s house measuring parts-per-billion of various scary things in the air. The highlight of the piece was right after mama wiped down the high-chair with an anti-germ wipe and was about to put baby in. The toxicologist, standing by said chair, sent his eyebrows through the roof in alarm as chemical levels off the high chair rose over 20 times those safe for adult inhalation.

That’s not funny at all, and neither is this post thus far. But now you know why I decided to become an undercover hippie lunatic, and why I switched to Shaklee cleaners, which turned out to be cheaper anyway (although my aversion to network marketing is fierce, I’m a sucker for a friend’s pitch and it all worked out well in the end). It is so concentrated, when my son blows through a whole bottle of cleaner on one baseboard assignment, I don’t have to stomp and rant anymore, just another few drops of the good stuff in the bottle, then fill ‘er up at the sink.

So, I was happily ordering my kids about to wash windows and scrub floors and they were building so much character without compromising the family jewels and my admiring progeny, if you know what I mean. I was cleaning more myself, too, now I was left bereft of the chemical excuse. I really felt I’d arrived as a parent.

But, the towel situation stood between me and success. The rag drawer was always belching new and once-used wipers, and the post-bathroom cleaning rags are just yuck. Enter, the baby wipe!

Wipes are cheap, wipes are relatively sturdy. They have a little soap in there to get stuff just water can’t, they make great dusters, and they are easily handled by children for children-sized chores. They lend themselves well to instructions: “Use one wipe for the light switches, one for each windowsill, and one for the craft table.” They are effective way to have the boy deal with his own midnight aim problems in the bathroom, or for me to wipe fixtures down while baby is in the tub. Or, since I only mop if something has been spilled (daily, but not generally in the same place) or when the Queen is visiting, I can now just hand over a wipe and ask for a spot check.

Yes, it adds to the waste and the garbage situation, and yes, most baby wipes also have toxics in them (namely sodium lauryl sulfate and propylene glycol–bad stuff). They are probably better used for my toilet cleaning than the baby’s hiney. But it is a better choice on the good, better, best spectrum. I guess that makes me a toxiphobe and maybe I should just mellow, also.

Regardless, hail the Wet Wipe!

PS: The MSDS data sheets of chemicals are what OSHA requires be on file if any chemical is in the workplace, and are great sources of real info about what is in cosmetics. The ones for both of the chemicals above say if you get skin contact, you should wash your skin immediately, and that hazmat suits and gloves may not be sufficient protection from the chemical. Ha HA! Now go check your shampoo and deodorant. Gotta love that FDA.

Behold! The Wet Wipe! (and more preaching than I set out to do)

All you germophobes can just mellow. Seriously, soap and water go a long way and do far less to trigger short-term mega-germ evolution. Before I learned to appreciate child labor (loving, family-centered child labor, that is), one of my major reasons for not having the kids clean (right after being too lazy to show them how) was because I figured all the toxic cleaning chemicals they inhaled and absorbed through their skin would make it all moot anyway. My deformed and/or non-existent grandchildren wouldn’t grow up to thank me for instilling such an admirable work ethic.

I once sat happily in the “What-I-don’t-know-isn’t-really-true-camp” about household toxicology, back in the olden-days when concerns over chemicals were the ravings of hippie lunatics (2004ish) and could be swiftly dismissed. Then I got sent a Canadian news program clip where a toxicologist went through a family’s house measuring parts-per-billion of various scary things in the air. The highlight of the piece was right after mama wiped down the high-chair with an anti-germ wipe and was about to put baby in. The toxicologist, standing by said chair, sent his eyebrows through the roof in alarm as chemical levels off the high chair rose over 20 times those safe for adult inhalation.

That’s not funny at all, and neither is this post thus far. But now you know why I decided to become an undercover hippie lunatic, and why I switched to Shaklee cleaners, which turned out to be cheaper anyway (although my aversion to network marketing is fierce, I’m a sucker for a friend’s pitch and it all worked out well in the end). It is so concentrated, when my son blows through a whole bottle of cleaner on one baseboard assignment, I don’t have to stomp and rant anymore, just another few drops of the good stuff in the bottle, then fill ‘er up at the sink.

So, I was happily ordering my kids about to wash windows and scrub floors and they were building so much character without compromising the family jewels and my admiring progeny, if you know what I mean. I was cleaning more myself, too, now I was left bereft of the chemical excuse. I really felt I’d arrived as a parent.

But, the towel situation stood between me and success. The rag drawer was always belching new and once-used wipers, and the post-bathroom cleaning rags are just yuck. Enter, the baby wipe!

Wipes are cheap, wipes are relatively sturdy. They have a little soap in there to get stuff just water can’t, they make great dusters, and they are easily handled by children for children-sized chores. They lend themselves well to instructions: “Use one wipe for the light switches, one for each windowsill, and one for the craft table.” They are effective way to have the boy deal with his own midnight aim problems in the bathroom, or for me to wipe fixtures down while baby is in the tub. Or, since I only mop if something has been spilled (daily, but not generally in the same place) or when the Queen is visiting, I can now just hand over a wipe and ask for a spot check.

Yes, it adds to the waste and the garbage situation, and yes, most baby wipes also have toxics in them (namely sodium lauryl sulfate and propylene glycol–bad stuff). They are probably better used for my toilet cleaning than the baby’s hiney. But it is a better choice on the good, better, best spectrum. I guess that makes me a toxiphobe and maybe I should just mellow, also.

Regardless, hail the Wet Wipe!

PS: The MSDS data sheets of chemicals are what OSHA requires be on file if any chemical is in the workplace, and are great sources of real info about what is in cosmetics. The ones for both of the chemicals above say if you get skin contact, you should wash your skin immediately, and that hazmat suits and gloves may not be sufficient protection from the chemical. Ha HA! Now go check your shampoo and deodorant. Gotta love that FDA.

Chore Chart Enforcement

So, the equity of this project ensures that I’ve come to loathe the tyranny of my own chore chart even more than my kids. My hypocrisy awareness is at a painful level right now. Which brings me to enforcement of the chore chart as it relates to all family members.

Join me now in my kitchen this morning as I discussed the infamous chore chart with my eldest son. For your benefit, I’ll turn off the sound. See my mouth moving fast and furiously, see my finger stabbing violently at the fridge upon which the chart is pinned. See how it is Saturday and nothing has been filled in on the chart since Wednesday even though he has been reminded every day. It’s so much funnier with the sound off.

I am tempted to turn on the sound for you to hear my son’s heartfelt, lame reasons why each item should not have to ever be done, and why charts are lame and for little kids, etc., because then you could see what a victim I am in this.

Ah, the kid’s chore chart is a chore for mom as much as her own is.

It’s my fault. Who can expect an 8-year-old boy who can’t even finish something he wants to do without distraction–to do this without help? I just came up with my answer. This Sunday, I’ll add one more chore to each section of my own chart. Before breakfast, before dinner, and after dinner, I’ll have to check off: “Remind kids to do the chores.” Ugh, now that’s a chore.

Then, the roll-out of this well-laid, glorious plan of order simply hinges on one person (me) doing one thing: looking AT the fridge three times a day rather than just looking IN it (far more than that I’m ashamed to say).

Hm. So, I guess now that it is almost 11 a.m., this would be the time where I get out of my bathrobe and go look at the fridge

Chore Chart Enforcement

So, the equity of this project ensures that I’ve come to loathe the tyranny of my own chore chart even more than my kids. My hypocrisy awareness is at a painful level right now. Which brings me to enforcement of the chore chart as it relates to all family members.

Join me now in my kitchen this morning as I discussed the infamous chore chart with my eldest son. For your benefit, I’ll turn off the sound. See my mouth moving fast and furiously, see my finger stabbing violently at the fridge upon which the chart is pinned. See how it is Saturday and nothing has been filled in on the chart since Wednesday even though he has been reminded every day. It’s so much funnier with the sound off.

I am tempted to turn on the sound for you to hear my son’s heartfelt, lame reasons why each item should not have to ever be done, and why charts are lame and for little kids, etc., because then you could see what a victim I am in this.

Ah, the kid’s chore chart is a chore for mom as much as her own is.

It’s my fault. Who can expect an 8-year-old boy who can’t even finish something he wants to do without distraction–to do this without help? I just came up with my answer. This Sunday, I’ll add one more chore to each section of my own chart. Before breakfast, before dinner, and after dinner, I’ll have to check off: “Remind kids to do the chores.” Ugh, now that’s a chore.

Then, the roll-out of this well-laid, glorious plan of order simply hinges on one person (me) doing one thing: looking AT the fridge three times a day rather than just looking IN it (far more than that I’m ashamed to say).

Hm. So, I guess now that it is almost 11 a.m., this would be the time where I get out of my bathrobe and go look at the fridge

My Daily Chores

I know from experience moms like to know what other people’s chore charts look like. I believe this is part of a natural voyeuristic compulsion, also to see if we are as behind and as disorganized as we think we are, to see if someone is as perfect as she seems to be, or even to maybe even get lucky with a moment of smug, superior satisfaction. You probably can expect the latter from my list:

MORNING:

  • Read Scriptures
  • Say Prayers
  • Make Bed
  • Wash Face & Brush Teeth (Fine, be grossed out, but with the chaos each morning in my house I need to be reminded or it won’t happen.)
  • Tidy kitchen and wash hand-wash dishes (I’ve just come to terms with the fact that I can load the dishwasher each night, but I’m always too tired to wash the pots and big bowls, so I leave them until morning. Judge me. Whatever.)

BEFORE DINNER

  • Exercise
  • Attend to garden
  • Clean one area:

MON: Dining room & downstairs bath
TUE: Mop kitchen, clean living room & vacuum stairs
WED: My bath & my bedroom
THU: Kid bath & girls room (of course they “clean” it each day, but it does need adult attention)
FRI: Boys room & hall closet (ditto)
SAT: Clean cars (in/out) and yard

AFTER DINNER

  • Start Dishwasher & Wipe Down Counters (In my Flylady moments I shine the sink)
  • Blog, Journal & Church Job
  • Wash Face, Brush Teeth & Floss (Fine, be grossed out again, but I have a tendency to not think about going to bed until I’m involuntarily falling on my face–it’s gotta be on the chart.)
  • Say prayers (you can surmise from the last item how alert I am and how effective these are–I’m glad He’s forgiving)

Unlike my kids’ chore charts, mine has the added burden of “Things to do all day:” and includes such all-encompassing feats as: speak softly, drink a gallon of water, and meet my 90-day healthy challenge. I generally have to give myself a grade on this, as they aren’t, at least for me, easy things to just check off.

I got the idea to do one set of rooms a day from my husband’s grandma when I interviewed her for her life story before she died. She was such a fun, relaxed lady. She said she always got her work out of the way first–work before play–but she just did a little each day so there’d be more time for play.

Let the record show that items wouldn’t have to be on this chart if they automatically happened out of habit. If I followed this chart consistently, I’d surely die, because then I would have accomplished my life’s purpose and become perfect, transcending mundane earthly life.

See also: The Ubiquitous Chore Chart and Kid’s Chores