The below question and responses were compiled by fellow graduate wife reader, Laura Lee. She surveyed several women on the journey and is sharing with us their answers. You can see her original post here, where she outlines her journey towards discovering the answers of a ‘balanced’ life during this season of being a graduate wife and beyond. This is part V of the ‘What does a balanced life look like?’ series. Enjoy!
4) Part of a balanced life involves keeping your house in order. How do you do it? Do you keep a chore chart? A cleaning schedule? How do you maintain things from week to week and month to month? How do you take care of the very basic things like who washes up the dinner dishes each night?
- Chore chart – When we were first married, the BEST advice we received on this was: find a chore that you and your spouse hate and switch! I hate to vaccuum, so my husband does that; he hates to grocery shop, so I do that. It has worked out well. We don’t have a set time in our house of when the vaccuuming will take place – as he knows it’s his job (although I do it on occasion) – and I refuse to nag him about it, as he is an adult. Usually, he’s pretty good about helping around the house. I do try to follow a cleaning schedule (bathrooms on Friday, kitchen floor on Monday, laundry on Tue/Wed, etc) – so my cleaning is staggered and I have more time to spend with the family on weeknights. We (my son and I) normally don’t arrive home until 6pm on the days that I work. I immediately feed him dinner (which requires planning ahead, as he usually doesn’t eat with us). While he’s eating, I start our dinner, pack lunches for the following day, and then start washing our dishes. I try to do it as I go along, as it cuts down on cleaning time after dinner. My husband is home by 615, and my son normally finishes dinner by 645. My husband plays with him for a bit, then gives him a bath – this allows me to finish dinner. We put our son down for bed at 8, and eat dinner then.
- I clean continually rather than all at once. When I worked, I would blitz the cleaning on Saturday. Now, I do it when I have a second (i.e. daughter is in her highchair eating lunch, so I take the few moments to clean around her – do the dishes, wipe the counters, etc.). Bathrooms get done when she naps or goes to bed. I clean her room and our room while she plays on the bed with toys (granted, I have a baby who doesn’t crawl or walk and plays in one place!). I don’t keep a cleaning chart. I would imagine this will come in handy as our family expands, though! As for dinner dishes, my husband does those at the moment because our daughter still nurses once before bed. There are days when it’s really hard to get the cleaning done (or be motivated to get the cleaning done), though, so I look forward to hearing other thoughts.
- I have a chore chart in my head and in my calendar but if something comes up I just move it to another day. I do two loads of laundry (whites and darks) on Monday, two on Tuesday (colors and grays), and a load of towels on Thursday. Wow!…How do we have so much laundry with just three of us?!! Is this normal?? I clean the floors and vacuum on Wednesday when my son is napping. Sometimes I vacuum when he is awake because he likes it. I clean the bathrooms and vacuum on one weekend day, usually when my husband is watching our son. I am constantly doing dishes and dream of having a dishwasher someday! When I’m cooking I try to do the dishes as I go. I also clean daily so when it comes time to do deep cleaning it’s not so horrible.
- I’m a list maker. I usually have my day’s to-do list and my week’s to-do list. So my cleaning stuff goes on there. My husband cleans as I ask him to and is usually very willing to help out. After all, he uses all our stuff too! But if I wait for him to notice how dirty the bathroom is or the carpets are – he never will! My husband does the dishes 9.5 times out of 10 – because he knows I hate doing them and he is a wonderful husband like that. haha. He eats so fast and my daughter eats so slow that he can usually have most of them finished by the time she and I are done eating and since we eat in the kitchen most nights, we are all still able to interact while he’s working on them,
- Oh my goodness, haha my husband would LOVE it if I had a chore chart (he loves charts and to-do lists!)! But it’s just not me. I keep the visible things tidy and I like the house to smell nice, but beyond that, my main motivation to clean is when we’re going to have guests! :) My husband is very organized and neat, so I try to have things tidy (with the kids help) when he comes home from work. It helps him to relax and is like a love letter from me (his love language is acts of service). This has been a big learning curve for me over the last 13 years and has been one of our big ‘issues’….how to balance my laid back attitude with his need/wish for things to be in order. It’s a work in progress on both our parts!