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Why you should re-think the allocation of your household chores

Wash, Dishes, Family, Father, Son,
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Even when family members take turns, there can be resentment and arguments. But here’s a simple solution to put an end of that.

Many families work out a list of who does what chore and when. Emptying the dishwasher, setting the table, vacuuming. And yet, despite laying out the household tasks in black and white, there are still daily complaints: “It’s not my turn!” Which then leads to arguments between the kids, and sometimes even between the parents. How can you put an end to these squabbles?

While a rotating list has the merit of establishing a fair share for tasks, it can still reduce doing one’s chores to just that: a chore, instead of a selfless act of kindness.

The aim of helpfulness in daily life isn’t just about getting jobs done; it’s about learning to love, and experiencing — through a service rendered — that there’s no greater love than to give your life for those you love. But how to do that when everything is laid out in a detailed schedule of daily chores assigned to everyone? Should we just ditch the chore schedule?

No. But we can look at things the other way around. That means, as in any game, reminding ourselves what the ground rules are. So, just because it’s someone else’s turn doesn’t mean they should be the only one who does it all. On the contrary, we ought to help the one whose turn it is. He’s the one taking responsibility for the group at that time, but the group still has a responsibility to help so the individual is neither overwhelmed nor demeaned by their task.

This kind of attitude introduces some leeway into the schedule. It also helps develop a mindfulness of others and a spirit of service. Thoughtfulness for the one doing the chore can help lighten each person’s load and pay off the next time it’s your turn!

Vincent de Mello

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