The kids have been in lockdown since mid March. Once of the things that this enforced togetherness has highlighted is that The Husbeast and myself have very different parenting styles.
Our kids are good kids. The are well behaved, respectful, kind, loving… like I said, they are good kids. But they are kids, they don’t like doing chores so they will do anything to get out of doing “work”. Before lock down, we had such busy lives that we all had our specific chores that we had to complete and if we didn’t do them, we spent most of Sunday afternoons catching up. A lot of things just didn’t get done, especially when it came to cleaning.
Since we’ve been stuck at home, I’ve spent hours in the internet reading blogs about how to increasing my productivity and decrease my stress. I’ve downloaded pages and pages of worksheets, flowcharts, checklist, all designed to bring order back into our chaotic lives. Needless to say, none of it worked.
The main problem is that I leave the house and go to work everyday, The Husbeast works from home. He closes the bedroom door and is glued to his phone and laptop the whole day. The kids have realised that he doesn’t check up on them as long as they are quiet. They have to complete their school work but other than that the day is theirs to spend as they want. I give them instructions and expect everything to be done when I walk into the house in the afternoon. I’m pretty lucky, when I leave work in DONE with work. No after hour phone calls or emails. The Husbeast is not so lucky, he still has to answer calls and emails.
And that’s where the conflict comes in. I walk into a messy and chaotic house and then FREAK out. If the girls don’t do their part, I have to complete their chores before I can start doing what I need to do. If they don’t pack away the clean dishes, I can’t wash the dirty dishes and clean the kitchen and start cooking and and and and … You get the picture.
So I’m upset cause I feel like I have to take on all these extra tasks over and above my normal daily work and the Husbeast is upset cause he feels like I’m calling him a bad parent and implying that he doesn’t pull his weight in the house.
When I ask the kids to do something, I tell them exactly what I want them to do (like clean their rooms), and by when I want them to do it. If I notice that they haven’t started their task, I will remind them of it. If it doesn’t get done, I will get upset with them and insist that they complete the task or I will do it myself while loudly complaining that it was not my task to complete. The Husbeast is different. He will ask them to do something once. If they don’t do it, he will ignore it. And that just drives me insane. He will see that something isn’t done and just leave it for another day. I have learnt, we can’t leave things till later cause we just wont do it at all.
There is no easy solution, we just see things very differently. We’ve started having little family meetings on Sunday afternoons, where we divide up the chores for the coming week. It’s not a perfect system but it seems to be helping.