Monday, April 5, 2010

Motivated Moms

Recently, I came across the Motivated Moms chore planning calendar, which is available for download for $8 here.

Here is a sample page from their website. Click on the image to see it enlarged.

I have tried quite a few chore planners in the past, and read many library books on the subject. While I always glean ideas here and there, nothing has ever been a good fit for me "as is". However, I have very much enjoyed using this planner, and recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone else who likes to have some structure and reminders without a rigid blow-by-blow daily plan. This planner is a comfortable middle-ground between rigid schedules in 15-minute increments such as Managers of Their Homes, and having no schedule at all and meeting each new day without any prior planning or forethought. To each his own, but this type seems to be working best for me.

With this planner, there is not one big cleaning day every week, as I used to have. This took some getting used to for me because I enjoy having the whole house clean at once, and getting it all over with. Of course, this often meant half or even whole Saturdays spent on chores. We now do some weekly/monthly chores every day, in addition to the daily things we have always had.

The list also serves as a handy reminder of things that only need to be done occasionally, such as wiping out a shelf in the fridge or cleaning off the dressers in our bedroom. The type of things that I know I need to do, but keep putting off until one of those "marathon" cleaning Saturdays that wipe us all out.

Finally, when I see a list in front of me of things that I want to get done, it is easier to quickly delegate it to one of the kids (as opposed to having to first figure out what needs to be done that they can do) and go on with whatever I myself am busy with. Kids are almost never too young to help. As soon as they can walk, children should be involved in the family chores, even if it is as simple as taking something to the trash can or hamper. I am working on another blog post with some age-appropriate ideas of how children can help work together as a family.

Some of the messiest and dirtiest houses I have seen in the past were those of Christians, and I think that is a poor testimony to others and a lack of care for our own families. I am thinking of a large church in particular that we once attended, where most of the houses that I saw on the inside had little more than a narrow path cleared amid all the junk and clutter where one could walk through. It always made me feel very uncomfortable and embarrassed, because I didn't know where to look (or step, or sit), or how to respond to the owners' comments excusing their mess. Interestingly, these same people would emphasize that spending quality time with their children or working in a ministry were their priorities, rather than housework. While there is certainly truth in that, invariably, these same people were some of the most uncaring parents, always looking for an opportunity to pawn their kids off, and really not very involved in any ministries, either. It's love for our families that constrains us to stay up and clean after they are all in bed, or to spend our free time cleaning out a messy closet rather than wasting time on the computer. People are lazy because they are lazy, not because they are busy working on something else. Personal time should always take third place to God and family/others.

My teacher in elementary school (where I was an excelling, but very messy student) used to tell me that people who were neat and organized (like he was) were truly lazy, because they didn't want to spend time searching for their stuff. There is a lot of truth in that - it is a lot easier to maintain a relatively tidy and clean house, rather than to have to search every day for clean clothes, dishes, school books, etc. As our family has grown, I have become more and more of a "neat freak" because it would be impossible to get by otherwise. Some chores can be neglected in an emergency, such as mopping floors. If I skip it one time, I still only have to mop once to get it all clean. But most chores pile up when neglected, such as dishes, laundry, and teaching the kids. It takes so much less effort (physical, mental, and emotional) to stay on top of things through the ups and downs of daily life than to live in a messy, dirty home.

I do not think this list is a magic bullet to transform a pigsty into a welcoming home. Nor do I think that with 7 people living under one roof, our house will ever be perfectly clean or neat. I do consider myself a very tidy and organized person already, so this is more just a tool to help finetune some details and help streamline the process. If you have been looking for something like this, you may like the planner.


  1. thank you for sharing. I was overwhelmed when I read managers of their homes. I think for some it is good but not for me!! I would feel trapped. Glad I am not the only one. However there are a lot of good tips in there that I enjoyed.


  2. Thanks for sharing this. I really enjoy and learn a lot from your "homemaking" posts.


Your KINDLY WORDED, constructive comments are welcome, whether or not they express a differing opinion. All others will be deleted without second thought.