Recently, a conversation with a friend turned to the endless list of chores that every mom deals with on a daily basis. Truthfully, the conversation was mostly about how hard it is to get everything done in a day and how frustrating it can be when you feel like you are doing the lion's share of the list.
But then she explained how she had taken her most hated chore (making lunches) and turned it into something both her and husband were happy to taking turns doing. Instead of making lunches every morning or even the night before, she makes a week worth of lunches on Sunday afternoon. When she's done, she has ten Tupperware containers filled with vegetables, ten containers filled with fruit, ten filled with crackers and cheese etc – 5 days of lunches for both kids, ready on a shelf in the fridge. Every morning, she grabs one from each pile and has lunches done in under a minute. This simple change in how she tackled this chore has been (in her words) 'life-changing'. Lunches are no longer a source of stress – she has more time in the mornings (always a plus!) and no longer dreads making lunches at the end of the day.
A quick poll of some other friends revealed some common 'hated' chores – ironing, putting laundry away, vacuuming, doing the dishes (mine). Most moms agreed that they would rather do other chores more often if they could get rid of the one that they hated. So, here are some ideas on how to reduce your stress around some of the least favourite chores:
1) Trade it away – find out what chore your spouse hates the most (hopefully its different than yours!) and agree to trade responsibilities. If they are old enough, get your kids to help out with some or all of the task.
2) Change the way you do the chore – if matching socks after they're washed makes you crazy, buy your kids multiple pairs of the same socks – no matching needed! If ironing is the thing you dread, move the ironing board in front of the TV and catch up on your favourite show while you work. Hate doing dishes? Get to know your dishwasher – its amazing how much you can put in them these days!
3) Delegate (another way of saying throw some money at the problem). If dusting and vacuuming are stressing you out, look into a cleaning service – consider the amount of time you are spending on these chores and decide if it is worth it to hire outside help. You can even send your laundry out!
4) Just stop doing it. This probably won't work for all chores but it might for some. Hate making the bed? Stop making it. Loathe ironing? Buy clothes that don't wrinkle.
In the end, it may not be practical (or possible) to stop doing your most hated chore but if you can find a way to change the way the chore gets done, it may just be life-changing.