Back in the day, I was overwhelmed at the prospect of successfully raising three healthy, responsible, and kind children. Then I got remarried and became catatonic at the prospect of helping raise seven. There’s nothing more daunting than eventually releasing enough citizens into the world to sway election results or make a lacrosse team.
So I did what any other mother does to reduce her parenting stress: I got crafty.
For reasons unbeknownst to me, I feel much better about myself as a mother when I can glue gun, toll paint or macramé something for my family. That or fill a board on Pinterest with items I can glue gun, toll paint or macramé for my family.
In this case, I decided a cute chore chart (made with red spray-painted cookie sheets, of course) would solve all my parenting woes.
The Belknap children have been through roughly 6.5 versions of The Chore Chart, utilizing an assortment of the following: mason jars, industrial-sized rolls of paper, dry erase markers, magnets, marbles, packing foam and my own patented task distribution method called Extreme Chore Lottery. Each of these versions was functional, enabling my children to know which chores they could complain about doing on any given day.
And that’s the funny thing about getting crafty. Much like bedazzling a diet journal doesn’t make me lose weight any faster, making a new chore chart doesn’t make our children complete those chores without first whining about them (unless, of course, the chart is macraméd to a cattle prod).
The chart enjoyed its official unveiling last night when Mr. Charming’s children came over. First let me explain that the chart includes all our children’s names, checkmarks and a variety of magnetic chore icons. The magnets represent a child’s assigned chores which they move under the checkmark once they’ve been completed. Genius, right?
Only the girls hung around to admire the chart’s sparkly blue lettering and glass-tipped magnets. “Oh,” said the youngest. “This one’s my favorite.” She placed the “clean room” chore icon under her name. “Now I have to sleep.”
“Uhm,” I said. “That one actually means you have to clean your room.”
“No,” she said. “It’s a bed. It means I have to sleep.”
“When you clean your room, you make your bed, so that’s why there’s a bed on the magnet.”
“Ohhhhhhhh,” she said. And she promptly removed the magnet from beneath her name. “I don’t like that chore.”
So far version 1.0 of the Belyoak Chore Chart is working swimmingly. Version 2.0 may include revised expectations and a new batch of magnets including “graduate from high school” and “stay out of jail.” (I’ll be posting templates to Pinterest, if you care to follow me.)