Around the time Andrew began to crawl, I began to struggle with how to get my housework done. It seemed that as fast as I could do one thing, he'd be undoing another. Instead of ticking off the chores and moving on, we were operating on a system of simultaneous chore completion and chore creation. Once he could walk (and thus use both hands for his household demolition derby), chore creation was clearly winning out. Ah, the frustration!
But I've found a solution...the little guy now has chores of his own.
When his laundry needs to be done, I dump the basket of dirty clothes on the floor in front of the washer and it is his responsibility to hand me each piece of clothing, so that I can inspect it for stains and pre-treat it befrore tossing it in the washer. This involves lots and lots of my "Good job, Andrew!"'s and "Thank you, Andrew!"'s and periodic pauses for his self-congraluatory clapping. Sometimes it requires firm coaxing, when he doesn't exactly feel like helping. It's not the speediest way to get a load of laundry into the wash. But it remains his responsibility. And it's pretty hard for him to squirt shaving cream all over the bathroom if he's busy handing me garment after garment.
When there is clean laundry to be folded, I set the basket on its side, and have Andrew hand me each piece to fold. All folded laudry is placed out of his reach, so that it doesn't get flung right back down on the floor. And when I'm ready to carry the laundry to put away, he is given the task of pulling the basket back to the laundry room. Again, I could fold a load faster by myself, but if he's involved, then he's not tearing the house down around my ears. Plus, as this baby belly grows, I'm pretty happy to let Andrew do the bending and stooping.
Lately, the little guy loves to dust and mop. I haven't put a wet pad on the end of that Swiffer mop just yet, for fear that he will slip, but he spends some time each evening mopping and I fully intend to add the wet pad in the not too distant future.
Also on Andrew's chore list: Throwing away the junk mail as I sort through the day's post. Tidying his toys a jillion times a day. Handing me groceries from the shopping bag to put away. Putting his lotions and ointments back in their basket after his post-bath ritual. Carrying his sippy cup to the high chair for each meal.
He's a busy boy, which makes for a happier home.
And my hope is that, even more than curbing the wake of destruction, we are cultivating a servant's heart in our little guy. What a beautiful thing that would be for all of us.