Monday, March 05, 2012

Peace, Love, and Chore Charts

Dear Diary...

What a whirlwind weekend I had.  One minute I'm babbling like a whiny four year old who feels all left out, and the next minute I'm feeling like a powerhouse of strength - and nothing can stand in my way.  Aunt Flo really did a number on me Saturday, but I had to take back control and get a hold of myself.  I did that.  And while she may still be here for a few more days - I won't be allowing her one more second of messing with my emotions.

If you didn't get a chance to read the second post I wrote yesterday, you should check it out.  It was one of the most epic and strongest moments I've had this year.  I'm still buzzing with the adrenaline that pushed through my veins, and feeling a tingle of excitement for the days, weeks, and months yet to come.

After gathering my thoughts and putting my mind back on track, I really started thinking about ways that I could successfully handle or ward off stress before running to a food item.  I thought about things I could do that could replace urges.  I thought about safeguards I could put in to place that would help me manage my life - and give me some power and authority over stressful situations.

The first thing I thought of was giving my kids chore charts.  Getting my kids to do anything around the house has become a BIG stress factor.  I'm a firm believer in chores.  I think kids should have some responsibilities.  While I don't expect my kids to do nothing but chores - I don't see the harm in making them help out around the house.  I've tried for a long time to get them to do the minor stuff.  Load the dishwasher, straighten up the living room, keep their bedrooms clean, and clean their own bathroom.  A few months ago, after constantly fighting with them over the amounts of dirty clothes that were still in their rooms after their laundry was done - I made them start doing their own laundry.  That's it.  That's the extent of their responsibilities.  Do they do any of it?  Rarely.  And if they do, it's half-assed...meaning they've rushed through it and the finished product is a minor improvement from what they started with.

I love my kids.  I think I have good kids.  I think I've done a good job raising them, thus far.  Except for the fact that I've spoiled them - and they are now lazy because of it.  Not to go in to the "when I was young" rant, but when I was young I did a lot of chores.   At 10 and 11 years old (the age of Peanut and Butter), I was washing dishes by hand, cooking dinner, taking care of my younger siblings, vacuuming and dusting almost daily, cleaning bathrooms, doing laundry, bathing my younger sister, and doing my homework all before going to bed each night.  As my brothers got older, they shared some of the responsibilities - but compared to what my kids are asked to do, I still did MUCH more when I was their age.

Anywho, them not doing their chores and getting in to arguments about it is a major stress factor.  I get so tired of complaining about it.  I get so tired of it just not getting done.  I feel like I go round and round in an endless cycle.  Some days I'll take away a privilege, another day I won't.  It all depended on my mood or how tired I was or how long I'd been fighting to get them to do it.  Well, no more.  Yesterday, before going to my mom's, I made up a chore chart.  I assigned specific chores on specific days.  I made the calendar out until the end of May.  I then made a separate chart that outlines the specific responsibilities that goes along with each chore.  I get so tired of hearing "well, I didn't know you wanted me to do that too" when I ask them why something wasn't done.  Now, there's no excuse.  And finally, I made a consequence chart.  If they don't do the job they're asked to do, they lose a privilege.  That's it.  End of it.  It's all laid out for them in black and white.  There will be no more arguing.  There will be no more laziness.  If they don't do what is asked of them, they lose the things they love the most:  Computer time, TV time, playing outside, etc. 

While I think that chores don't always have to be rewarded - there's also a little incentive thrown in for them.  I've made the deal with them that when they can go 30 days with doing their chores - in a row- they'll get a reward.  Butter wants a new MP3 player.  Well, when he's done his 30 days, he'll get one.  Peanut's not sure what she wants - but I'm sure she'll figure something out.  The catch?  If they miss a day - they have to start their 30 day countdown all over again.  That means they can go 29 days of doing their chores - but on the last day they don't do it?  They start the 30 days all over again.  It may sound a little cruel - but sometimes tough love is needed.

It's really amazing at how empowering something as silly as chore charts can make me.  But, right now as I type, my kids are hard at work on their chores.  They got up and immediately started doing what they're supposed to be doing. 

I didn't get much more read of my book since Saturday.  But look at me already.  By just answering some questions that really made me think about some of the causes of my emotional eating and moments of weakness, I can start making small steps in fixing them. 

Today is going to be a long day.  I have a training after work that will last about an hour, and then I will be going to the gym to meet Patrick House...finally!!  I'm not sure how much working out I'll get done - if any - but I'll have my camera in tow.  If I can just get a picture with him - I'll be happy.

Goals for today:
  • Log all of my food
  • Think before putting anything in my mouth "am I hungry and why am I eating?"
  • Drink at least 60ozs of water
Till next time. ;)



  1. I think that your chore chart/reward system sounds great!! Not harsh at all. If they want something bad enough, they will have to work for it. It's a good lesson to learn early in life. Look at how we struggle with it in our own lives as grown women!!

    Can't wait to see how this unfolds for you. I love that the chore chart is going to teach your kids a good lesson, while easing up some of your stress. Sounds great to me!

  2. Chore charts on my list of things I *really* need to do. This post may just be the final push I need to write them up!


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