Men of the House: midweek update

It’s now Day 3 of our Men of the House experiment. I thought I’d better check in, lest you all think we’ve been buried under a mountain of dirty laundry (or worse, thrown in the towel). The truth is, they’re doing alright…ish. Monday got off to a rocky start, when upon waking with a severe head cold, Nate assumed we’d postpone his entrance into servitude. (Last I checked, I continue to cook dinner, fold soccer uniforms, and drive myself to work and back when I’m sick, so no dice, son.) He stayed home from school, and mustered through two loads of dishes, made lunch for his brother, and moved some clothes from the washer to the dryer, but upon getting off the bus at the end of his day, Calvin still wondered aloud what exactly he’d done all day. I thought Nate’s head was going to explode.

Yes, the social implications of this experiment should be presented to women’s studies programs everywhere from Brown to Sarah Lawrence. They’re that profound.

Calvin came home to two loads of laundry waiting for him on the bed on Day 1, and believe it or not, began to cry at the very sight of it. Cry. Please. My heart is made of stone. Nate made hot dogs and tater tots for dinner, and then, after a brief round of bickering over dishes, Calvin learned how to load plates.

Day 2 ran a bit more smoothly. Both boys remembered to pack their lunches (although Calvin lamented the fact that he had to wake up earlier than usual to do so) and Toby attempted to master the Swiffer (unsuccessfully). Nate started baked potatoes in the Crock Pot after a tutorial of the ‘plug in, press start’ variety, and everyone cleared their plates after breakfast. Nate came up with a truly insightful and innovative solution to household chores that I know you’ll all want to jot down: if everyone just cleans up after themselves, none of us will have to do much. Wow, kind of feels like I’ve been saying that since his birth, but whatever.

The baked potatoes (served with bagged salad) went over well enough, but Nate had to feed the group before his five pm practice, so everyone was hungry again before bedtime. The solution was the same that they’d come up with during after school snack period: a bowl of cereal for all. The milk supply was getting mighty low by this point, however, and as I suspected, they did not have a Plan B for breakfast.

No one was happy with the ‘regular’ flavor instant oat meal this am, but Day 3 has just begun, so stay tuned. By Day 5, I plan to have photos and maybe a video or two to post. Right now, I can’t find my camera beneath the laundry.

Continue to the conclusion!

26 thoughts on “Men of the House: midweek update

  1. Ha! Planning ahead? WHAT? I love that he actually began to cry at the sight of two loads of laundry to be folded. Yeah, kiddo, it DOES suck that much!
    Sounds like things are going according to plan!

  2. My 6yo would cry if he had to fold laundry. LOL

    I’m on the edge of my seat to see how this goes, Amy! Between you and a parent of a music student last night, I am feeling the nudge to start working my kids toward independence …pronto.

    • As soon as that came out of his mouth, I told him that’s nearly as bad as asking a woman her age or weight. Maybe he won’t someday ask his wife what she’s been doing all day…

  3. ROFL! I’m so enjoying this! Good for you for sticking to your guns (even if they are orange and yellow)! Love your writing BTW! So good, so good. I think for my boys, letting them know how much I really appreciate their help (and a regular allowance and computer privileges when they do their chores) keeps them going. WTG Amy!

    • I’ve found myself automatically reaching to clean stuff up, then have stopped myself. The best part is not having to plan and make dinner! I’m telling you, that’s a time sucker, right there.

    • The way I’m making them is the hard-core rule (for this week) that if they don’t make their meals, they won’t eat. As for laundry, cleaning, and the like, any jobs that they do substandard to what they’re used to enjoying in this house, they retain that job after the week is over (until they’ve ‘mastered’ it, so to speak). Working like a charm so far, with only passive-aggressive reminders from me here and there.

  4. This is great Amy!!!! I so need to do it. We re-assigned jobs and attitudes when I went to work full time, but it doesn’t seem to be sticking, because I always bail them out. I like the way your kids seem to be working together. I’m afraid mine would just go for every boy/girl for himself. Love it, keep us posted!

  5. Love it, love it, love it! Baked potatoes in the crock pot followed by cereal for a snack. Brilliant! Kudos to you for not stepping in, even though you can’t see past the laundry piled up around you. How will we find you by week’s end? Hold a flag or carry flares…we don’t want to lose you in the rubble. 😉

    • The house isn’t looking perfect, to be sure, but I’m happily surprised by how decent they’re keeping it! It’s not too bad! We’re on Day 4 now, and the novelty has definitely worn off, though, so we’ll see how everything looks by Friday!

  6. I agree with all the other posts. This is wonderful. I am so anal that I’m pretty sure I would have caved in with the cleaning. I do think that my kids are pretty good at helping (when asked – never because they just see the work to be done) and I use the “I have lupus” card whenever I can.

    • As you should! As for the cleaning, it’s definitely been more work to explain how to do everything (and remind them) than it would be to do it myself. But surely they’re smart enough to retain this simple info for next time? We’ll see!

  7. I LOVE this! can you make sure to save two of your boys to marry my two girls? I would to have a son-in-law that was raised right by his mama!

  8. I loved reading about your family’s experiment! What a great lesson you are teaching your boys! I have to know how the week ended so please share!

    • The final update is up now, Sam! This experiment was part fun, part pain in the butt, but a very good lesson. And the boys will be continuing to fold their own laundry and do the evening dishes, now that I know they’re perfectly capable!

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