About Me

Fort Bragg, NC, United States
I'm a stay at home dad raising four beautiful children. I am the proud spouse of an Army Lieutenant Colonel. I do my best to keep up with the kids and all of their activities. I enjoy playing the bass and the occasional bass guitar building project. You can follow me on twitter if you so desire...@ArmySpouse007.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Don't get overwhelmed!

If there's one thing that I really struggle with during a deployment, it's the day to day stuff around the house. Making sure that the kids are taken care of, cooking the meals, helping with homework, TaeKwonDo, it's already a lot to do. When you add to that the laundry, vacuuming, kitchen cleaning (daily!) dusting, bathrooms (ick!), it can become downright overwhelming! Being both mom and dad while also being responsible for the day to day duties in the house... it's a lot. That said, I've started doing several things that have made a huge difference in keeping things under control and making sure we don't live in a zoo. I'd like to pass on a couple of these so that you can keep yourself from feeling overwhelmed while your soldier is gone.

The first is, quite simply, paying someone to help. Now, before you go thinking I'm referring to a maid or housecleaner, let me explain who I'm talking about. When my wife left back at the beginning of June, I sat my oldest son down (he's 10 now) and told him his responsibilities (call them chores if you want, I prefer responsibilities) around the house were going to increase quite a bit. I put him in charge of his and his siblings laundry. Every week, he was the wash, dry, and pass out (each kid folds and puts away their own laundry.
You wear it, you put it away!) all of the kids clothes. Next he was put in charge of all the dishes. He was given the duty of scrubbing the pots, pans, and dishes, putting them in the dishwasher. Then he was tasked with unloading the dishwasher and putting all of the dishes away. Finally, his job is to find out what each sibling wants to drink with their meals and serve them accordingly.

I understand this is a lot of added work for a 10 year old who also has homework. But, this is where the "pay someone to help" comes in. You see, I believe in the motto "do work, get paid". That's why in our house, there is NO ALLOWANCE. None. With all of my son's added responsibilities has come a bi weekly pay check (ok, not really a check, just a $10 bill). During pay periods when he does more than asked, which actually happens quite often, he is paid more.

So you see, not only have I divested myself of many of the duties around the house so that I don't get quite as overwhelmed, I'm teaching my oldest son about responsibility, expectations, and getting paid to do work. There are times when I will dole out some cash to the other kids when the go above and beyond the norm as well. The point, though, is to involve the whole family in the day to day operations of the home so that you and I don't get overwhelmed.

Finally, there are the things that kids really can't do, but still have to get done. Things like cleaning the bathrooms, vacuuming, dusting, and basic "straightening up". Sure, the kids can do some of it, but in truth, they don't do it well. What I have come up with (actually my wife's suggestion) is a weekly list. On that list, one of the above items gets hit once a week on a given day. Take Mondays, for instance. All of the rooms will get vacuumed on Mondays. Unless there's a "clean up on isle 4" type event, the house won't get vacuumed again until next week. On Tuesdays the whole house will get dusted. You get the drift. We can become so easily overwhelmed by the basic needs of housework when we think they all have to be done in one day. Ask yourself: does you house really need to be vacuumed or dusted more than once a week? Can the bathrooms get by with being cleaned once a week?

The point of all of this is for us to make dealing with the increased workload of a deployment situation more manageable. Because, when you think about it, nothing will bring on those deployment blues faster than feeling overwhelmed. With a little prior planning and a little greasing of the palms of the kids, we can have our homes humming right along!

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You can follow me on Twitter if you so choose... (at)Armyspouse007


  1. You're so right...when deployment rolls around and leaves you standing in the middle of a messy house wondering where to start it's easy to get overwhelmed. I can't even fathom what adding kids to the mix does. Organization is definitely key. I'm glad to see your son is contributing to the household...I think it's an important life lesson to teach.

    I hope deployment flies by for all of you!

  2. Great job dad... sounds like things are coming together and you and the group are really learning things... I am proud...

  3. Completely agree! We have a chart with rotating daily chores (the 8 and 10 can both do a lot, the 5 has his own daily jobs). I rotate the chores daily so no one gets (literally) the crappy job of kitty litter every day. On weekend, we each do a weekly job Saturday morning, and then it is goof off/family activity all day. If you take an hour to get your chore done... not my problem. Allowance has a base amount. You want more? Work for it. The only way you earn less is to shirk your responsibilities. Oh, and I don't remind the big kids. That is what the chart is for. :)