Division of Labor

from Jeremy

With three people living in a two-bedroom two-bath apartment, you would be excused from thinking there's enough available labor to go around to keep the place spotless and tip-top shape. How could two adults who managed to clean a four-bedroom two-and-a-half-bath house not keep a much smaller place spick and span with the help of a now capable four-year old? Easy, the answer was that we hired help to clean the house and we're doing the apartment ourselves. Given that dynamic, it's not hard to figure that we have to divide out our duties in order to ensure that the place averages clean. It's not pristine at all times, and some rooms/bathrooms my be clean while others lay fallow, but it's generally a clean place to live. We each have our regular jobs when it comes to cleaning, and then we have special projects too! 

When it comes to regular jobs, we need to work to our strengths.  Jeremy, despite being raised a neat freak, is still kinda a neat freak (see, we can evolve within a lifetime!) Jan likes projects that help make the place livable, but isn't as much of a neat-freak as Jeremy. Joshua likes to use a spray bottle. Doesn't matter the project, a spray bottle is really the big draw. Therefore, we each focus on what we do best when it comes to dividing out the jobs we have to do. 

Who does what? 

I like a bathroom that sparkles rather than stinks, radiates cleanliness rather than bacterial spores. Honestly, who doesn't? When I lived on my own, I cleaned my whole apartment every Saturday morning, whether it needed it or not, basking in the feeling of a freshly clean place to start off the week. It was a form of Sabbath for me, ending one week and beginning the next. Then, I went to Vietnam, had maids, and all of my training went down the drain. I got lazy and complacent. After almost twelve years living with Jan I'm back to pretty regular cleaning, but not to the same degree I used to do it.  

Therefore, I clean the bathrooms, and am most responsible for vacuuming, although Jan sometimes does both if I'm travelling. I'm particular about how the showers, bathtubs, and sinks are cleaned. I want a sanitary toilet (again, who doesn't?) and will work to make it so.  I average cleaning the bathrooms and vacuuming once every two-three weeks (depending on travel requirements).  Not bad, but not my bad-ass self from singledom either. 

Jan focuses on maintaining and refreshing the kitchen, planning our meals, and usually bathing Joshua. That's a full-time job in its own right!  She'll often pitch in when anything else is needed too, covering for me as I travel. She's also the point-person for most Joshua related activities; whether that's taking him to school, playing with him while I'm working, or meeting up for play-dates with other kids/parents. Jan has the key job, ensuring that the little dude is well cared for. 

As for dishes, laundry, and trash we split those depending on who has the most energy or just what needs to be done at the time they are available. We rarely let dishes sit in the sink, and laundry seems to happen at least once every two-three days despite our best efforts of rewearing what isn't dirty. Trash is kinda easy because Joshua loves to go around the apartment collecting it all, then take it to the trash shoot and recycling bin. 

Joshua is most responsible for spraying the windows, spraying for dusting, and spraying the floor, as well as using the swiffer in the kitchen. He loves helping out with cleaning, as long as he can use the spray. We're working to expand his abilities and desire to help. Lately he's really kicked in with the laundry because he can use the Tonka dump truck he got for the holidays to haul laundry too and from the laundry room. If we make it fun for him he's totally into helping. 

What about the rest? 

There's a lot of jobs that need to be done that I haven't mentioned yet. These fall into the special projects category of work that is not really divided amongst us, but is just done as needed. Among this category is cleaning the balcony, organizing all of the toys at the end of every day, watering plants, and simply picking up things that have been placed/thrown on the floor. For the small things, like picking up stuff and watering plants, we all chip in. For the bigger things, like cleaning the balcony, we're willing to pay for effort. Joshua has begun earning money by helping with projects like cleaning the balcony. We do this about once a month in the seasons when we use the balcony. He has his sandbox out there, so it's partially his as well. He's very active in gardening on it, storing his bike there, and playing out there, so he likes to have a clean environment too. We didn't want to make this a regular cleaning responsibility since it's such a big job, so we offered to pay him to help us do it. He loves that, and has used the money earned to save, give as donations, and buy himself a toy every now and then. 

Our struggle 

We're racking our brains to think about what other special projects we can give to Joshua for him to earn money. He really likes it, but one of the benefits we've thoroughly enjoyed about having an apartment rather than a house is that we have far less maintenance to do! Given this lightened load, we also ran out of special projects to give to an every increasingly capable young man who wants to work. 

What projects do you give your kids? 

How much do you pay them for these projects? 

How do you divide up your household chores?