A Moan of Chores


40 tangled befores

Urgency Day 136

500 Things Items 360-64: Clothes

  • History: Previously hung with care
  • Value: Routine, nothing special
  • Parting Pain: None: Out with the less than cherished
  • Un-possessing: Donations

What a mess.

If I had simply aligned the hangars with each addition to the hangar pile, I wouldn’t be facing the ridiculous, time-consuming task of detangling the hangars in order to recycle the hangars. I am definitely hung up on these hangars.

I’m going to time how long it takes me to untangle them. Okay, go:

6 mins. 53 secs.

Hmmm, in the scheme of things, maybe not worth all my moaning, except… How many time-wasting tasks such as this do equal a Moan of Chores? How many minutes a day are you willing to lose to inefficiency?

For me, 6 mins. 53 secs. might be my upper limit.

I am such a bossy pants about preemptive efficiency. Some of my non-negotiable Befores:

  • Getting laundry out of the dryer before wrinkles can set it;
  • Rinsing dishes before food can adhere;
  • Sorting out junk mail before bills can be ignored;
  • Drinking coffee and clutching the newspaper before mother can be expected to be Mom.

To be completely precise about that last rule, it should read, “Add two glugs of non-dairy creamer to the mug before filling 2/3 with coffee and drinking etc…” And my sweetie already conforms to this preemptive happy-mom-maker completely.

Happiness is a two-way street.

Or one intersection:

Preemption and Compromise.

I love efficiency, but for all my non-negotiable talk, things really aren’t that fanatical in our house. I am no Tiger Mom, I assure you. First of all, I don’t think She is either, really. Second of all, I prefer a more peaceful life. And by “peaceful” I mean quiet. I can’t imagine the battles that have raged in that house. Not every thing is a test, or preparation for the test of Life.

For example, I was trolling one of my favorite organization and decluttering websites this morning, reading about one mom’s methods for “Establishing Kitchen Routines,” when this stopped me in my mid non-dairy-creamered sip:

“If you have teenage children, they could easily make lunch while parents make dinner.”

First I should point out, this mom does not have teenage children; she has one still-in-a-high-chair baby. Possibly she will be surprised by teenage behavior. But still, several! points in her breezy suggestion jumped out at me:

  • Both parents are in the kitchen;
  • Both parents are in the kitchen making dinner;
  • Both parents are in the kitchen making dinner and the teenage children are in the kitchen with both parents, not in the car on the way to soccer or swimming or SAT prep-class, or simply elsewhere on-line;
  • Both parents are in the kitchen making dinner and the teenage children are in the kitchen with both parents, willingly making the next day’s lunch.


I’m sorry to be the efficiency-skeptic here, but this whole picture just seems a tad unrealistic to me. And I’m a person who makes dinner every day, with a husband either en route from work at a reasonable hour or seated nearby, and with a terrific kid—really, just a keeper—who, if asked to make his lunch the night before at the same time I am making dinner, would not moan or throw a fit… and he certainly would not make his lunch either.

He’d buy it. Skittles are fruit, right?

If you are scolding me right now for my lax parental expectations, I applaud your apparent success and hope you will continue to work and play efficiently. I also hope you won’t get hung up on my hang-ups.

Yes indeed,  because those hangars are already still messing with me.


5 Responses to “A Moan of Chores”

  1. boysgonewild Says:

    Matthew’s lunch would consist entirely of chips and oreos.
    On the plus side, he has learned how to brew me a cup of coffee in the Keurig. Now THAT is efficiency at its best. Or not. Who cares when you have a full cup of coffee?

  2. sthibeault Says:

    At least chips were once vegetables and oreos suggest milk for dunking. Skittles could be little alien poops for all I know. 🙂 And that new skill of Matthew’s? Genius-level efficiency! Really, kudos.

  3. melanie Says:

    Such a funny post.
    1)I agree with all of your bullet points.
    2) All of them.
    3)Skittles ARE an acceptable fruit group according to the well-known MDMRA standar(mom’s daily minimal required amount)
    4) Doritos are an acceptable choice from the vegetable group. Refer to reason #3.

  4. sthibeault Says:

    I am so grateful to my dear friends for holding me to parenting expectations I could actually meet, i.e. low ones. Excuse me, I have to go feed my son his recommended daily allowance of Doritos.

  5. sthibeault Says:

    I completely loved this message I got from my cousin, Emily, whose dad is my first cousin:

    “I thought I got most of my OCD from my mom (hospital corners on the bed an all), but after reading your blog today, I’ve discovered how alike we are. Your “bossy-pants” bullets are all me. With the exception of milk in the coffee :-)”

    Still waiting to hear how she takes her coffee, so someday I can treat her to one. Thanks, Em.

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