How to share the chores equally

On Saturday morning Ryan and I buckled the boys in the van and we went to a neighborhood garage sale. We even got to follow a little map, it was a like a real treasure hunt. But anyway, that's not the moral of this story. It's not even really a moral at all, but it's not the point either.

The point is, I took the opportunity of a confined space to discuss the day's plans with my husband. You see, Saturdays can be tricky for us. If we don't have daytime plans like a birthday party or a tennis match or a gala...

(Yes, those last two were jokes, we hardly ever exercise play tennis anymore, and when we do, it's not scheduled. And we hardly ever go to galas anymore either.)

What I'm trying to say, is that if Ryan and I don't discuss what we have in mind on an open Saturday, we fight. Because I'm thinking it would be a good day to clean and catch up on laundry, with his help, and he's dreaming of a round of golf and a nap yard work. So if we don't communicate openly, we go in opposite directions and confuse each other.

That's why, while we were in the van, I let my loving husband know what I had in mind and made a mental note of his enthusiastic agreement to help me clean.

After the boys got up from their naps, I could see that Ryan's enthusiasm had waned. I knew I needed to make this whole cleaning thing more exciting. That's when it hit me. Boys love competition! I could make this a competition!

So I said, "OK people, break into teams!!! One of you small people goes with Daddy, and one of you goes with me!! Daddy's team will start at the front end of the house, Mommy's team will start at the back end of the house!!!"

(All three stood staring at me as if I were a crazy person, but I saw the glimmer in Ryan's eyes and I knew it was working.)

I went on, "We'll clean as fast as we can, and whoever gets to this line (I pointed to the hallway past our kitchen) the fastest WINS!!!"

And that's when it happened. Ryan turned and headed for the living room, his end of the house, Asher following closely behind his heals to "help." (Yes, I gave him the most distractable teammate.) I could see by the way he was carrying himself that my plan had worked. He was on a mission. To win.

That's when I headed to the back bathroom, threw open the window and chatted with Neighbor Bob for a while. After talking for a few minutes, Miles on my hip, I told Bob we better get going, after all, we were in a race. He laughed with me about how Ryan must be frantically cleaning the living room right at that moment. And he was, I took a peek when I went to get my supplies.

You see, I was in no hurry. Of course I was going to let him win! That's the only way we'll ever have this productive of a competition again. So I took my time a little, don't judge!

Every once and awhile, Ryan and I would bump into each other, fighting over the vacuum, talking smack, and actually having a good time cleaning. In the end, he did win, and he and Asher were quite proud. I hope he remembers that feeling.

Sure, I feel a twinge of guilt as I write this, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to do it again.

The lesson here is two-fold: 1. Communicate your Saturday plans openly. 2. Have fun!

Heather writes at The Extraordinary Ordinary


  1. Funny! I'm guessing he doesn't read this blog?!

  2. What an adorable story. And yes, I hear you about the disagreements about those rare open-Saturday plans.

  3. Nope, he doesn't read either blog. :)


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