Updating our chore chart, and protecting Relaxation time

Our new schedule, as I mentioned a few days ago, included needed to re-arrange our chore schedule. I'm sure I could have sat down and worked it out myself, but part of being a team means it's important that we are BOTH included in the work that shapes our lives. It's important to both of us that even if we do each have skills and responsibilities consistent with traditional gender roles, we are making our choices together and mindfully. It's one thing to have me typing up our decisions that we make together and helping him stick to them; it's another thing altogether for me to make decisions for him when they primarily impact his schedule and responsibilities as if he has no information or opinion to contribute.

It was a perfect opportunity to discuss as well what parts of our current/now-previous system were in need of improvement, and what new habits or skills we want to be incorporating. For example, we've had a bad habit of going grocery shopping and leaving just enough time to get home, put away the perishables, and jet off to work or appointments or what have you. While that itself might not be entirely avoidable, being mindful to take the time to actually put the groceries away and not leave bags and piles of non-perishables in the dining room is critical. As is not buying the 5 lb bag of shredded cheese with the intention of freezing it into 1 lb bags and then leaving it in the fridge until it molds not long after getting into the second pound of cheese. We either need to spend more money by buying these items in smaller packaging, or spend more time dealing with them in an appropriate timeframe (which would of course be right after we get home from shopping if at all possible).

Part of our chore system is building in time to make sure those things are happening. Ideally, it might only take 10 minutes once a week to tidy the dining room and even dust it. However, we have some re-organization projects going on in every room of the house, and in case for example we didn't get to putting all the groceries away, the dining room is on the list twice a week for 30 minutes of attention. Should we find that after tidying, dusting, maybe even vacuuming, there is in fact nothing to organize or clean, we can at that point start looking at reducing the timer for that room. So while our system now has about 90 minutes of chores each day on top of cooking largely from scratch and the resulting dishes, that includes any and all such projects as cleaning out the storage/office, building a can caddy storage system for the pantry, or alphabetizing the wayward pile of DVDs. It's our attempt at building good habits and keeping everything in manageable chunks of time that also allow for hobbies and relaxation. Because it doesn't matter if you spent 2 hours chatting with friends and reading today if you did it standing in the kitchen/laundry room feeling like you've spent all day cleaning with no time to yourself while being nagged about how long it takes you to do simple tasks. Especially when you could have spent 2 hours playing classic video games or going to see a movie instead.

Here's hoping it works!


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