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chores teens

Get Your Teenager to Do Chores with Humor and a Checklist

(Inside: Get your teenager to do chores with this lighthearted explanation of “chores” and “maintenance.” Get a cleaning checklist that works too…)

My dear tween and teenage kids,

You know I love you beyond measure, but we must discuss something and I need you to hear me or your mom just might lose her sanity.

There’s a difference between “chores” and “maintenance.”

Why are we discussing this you ask? Well because the other day one of you sighed big and said “I didn’t know we had to do chores today” when I asked you to hang up your wet towel that was crumbled on the bathroom floor. So, I feel that we need to straighten something out.

Get your teenager to do chores by grabbing the cleaning checklist here.

Chores are when you snap on rubber gloves and dive deep into scrubbing the bathrooms. Chores are when you pull out the vacuum and make even lines across the room. Chores are when you ring out a mop and rub it all over the floor. Chores are what we do as a family once a week.

Maintenance is when you – ready for this? – hang up the towel you just used after your shower. Or put the clothes you just wore in the hamper. Or your cereal bowl into the dishwasher. (And then wipe up the dribbles of milk from the counter.) Maintenance is putting the milk back in the fridge, your shoes in the mudroom bin, and your coat on the hook. I don’t need to go on, you get it…

Know, my dear children –  I don’t expect you to be perfect. You all know I’m not! But I am asking you to shift your mindset, even if it’s only a little.

Chores = big actual cleaning

Maintenance = the small daily acts of putting the stuff you just used away

You might someday make enough money be able to hire a cleaning company to do your “chores” (dream big!), but you will FOR SURE have to do “daily maintenance” until the end of time. So, it’s important that you learn that skill set now.

Thanks for listening to my words. I love you to the moon-and-back, forever-and-ever. You are my everything and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you – except hang up your bathroom towel.

Love, Your Mom

Get your teenager to do chores by grabbing the cleaning checklist here.

Get your teenager to do chores: here was the game-changer for me!

Can you relate to my letter to my kids? Do you long for your house to remain straightened? Are you tired of the house-cleaning-drill?

And, really – it’s not so much the cleaning, it’s the unhelpfulness of the tween who apparated-Ron-Weasley-style into some unknown corner of your home in the middle of the chores (Room of Requirement, maybe?) and the turtle-pace cleaning speed of your teen. Mix that with working all week and then spending half of Saturday trying to motivate your people to scrub with purpose, and you are over it.

I hear you.

My coworker gave me life-changing advice about a tangible way to keep my house clean.

I was telling my friend from work about our cleaning as a family on the weekends. (“No one is focused. It takes forever. Saturday mornings aren’t enjoyable.”)

“First…” my coworker said to me, “You have to know how good it is for your boys to help you clean.” (She has sons, as well, and is a few clicks ahead of me in parenting.)  It teaches your sons’ life skills, to treat their mom well, to be a better future roommate and/or husband, to take ownership and pride in your family home, and to do life as part of a team. 

(Oh, dear friend – you had me at “It’s good for your boys to help you clean.”)

“But here’s the key,” she continued. “You need to clean on a Thursday.”

Then she went on to tell the pros of Thursday cleaning:

  • Everyone still has energy on a Thursday, by Friday, you’re toast.
  • You go into the weekend with a clean house and that’s so nice.


Here’s how it works:

  • You get pizza on the way home from work, and everyone eats early.
  • Everyone works together with the goal of getting the whole house clean between 1-2 hours. A family member finishes a job, then goes back to mom (or dad) to find out the next job. This continues until you are done. (Set a timer, blast some music and go.)
  • Yes, there are sometimes activities/conflicts, but you figure it out and make it happen anyway – remember, Thursday you’re strong, Friday you wilt. 

So, I tried the Thursday cleaning and experience something clicked in a new way for us – it worked far better than our weekend routine. We’ve kept this new schedule up for years with one small addition.

We’ve added that during the week we also do our best to imperfectly pick up after ourselves. After dinner, half the family cleans the kitchen and the other half does a quick house pickup. (Aim for 10-15 minutes max and no this doesn’t happen every day.)

Is it flawless? Of course not, but no parent is hidden somewhere in this world doing it all right. Motherhood is an imperfect journey by definition. The cleaning routine bounces between great to okay to meh because that’s life.

But still – the Thursday ritual is truly the best cleaning routine I’ve ever tried…and I’ve tried them all in the 15 years I’ve been a parent. 

My sons asked for a checklist so they didn’t have to constantly ask me for their next task. I dream in lists, so was happy (thrilled!) to oblige. 

Momma, I know you’re busy – so I want to save you some of your precious time, and made the family cleaning checklist available to you.

It’s in word document form so you can quickly tweak it to fit your family.  It also outlines both weekly cleaning and a few “deep cleaning” things you should do every Thursday to keep your home sparkling. Grab the checklist and as a bonus, you’ll get monthly encouraging raising tweens and teens emails. They’re free and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Read more about the cleaning checklist here.

Read the full Raising Tweens and Teens Series

My oldest son started high school last week and I’m still in a coma because of it. Even though I’ve taught high school for over two decades, I’m confused as to how I’m actually old enough to be a parent of a high schooler. 

Teaching high schoolers has always been a passion of mine, but not parenting them is as well. I could research, write, and talk about this topic until eternity. I hope you are encouraged by some of my articles.

Raising Tweens and Teens

TEACHING GRIT
The Pandemic is Shaping Kids in These 6 Powerful Ways

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TEENS
A Simple and Effective Way to Encourage Your Teen

COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR TWEEN/TEEN
How to Get Your Teen/Teen to Their “Aha Moment”
How to Get Your Tween/Teenage Son to Open Up to You

PARENTING
Parenting is Hard: This One Thought Can Help You Better Thrive
7 Reasons Why Raising Tweens & Teens is the Best
I Will Miss These Years of Raising Tweens and Teens
To the Mom of a High School Freshman

 

Get your teenager to do chores by grabbing the cleaning checklist here.

Get your teenager to do chores and more! Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens.

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community below. 

gifts for moms
free weekly planner for moms

Working Mom Planner: A Quick Fix to Getting Your Family Organized

(Inside: A working mom weekly planner for busy moms. A planner to help your entire family stay organized and get places on time. )

 

 

I write all of my three kids activities on my monthly calendar and then highlight (using three different colors) each kid’s schedule. 

And in one week, I still missed 

…an ortho appointment. 

…and one soccer practice. 

Gone. I did not remember either at all. 

No wonder the last time I was at the orthodontist and I was sitting in the waiting room right in front of the receptionist, she called me on my cell to ask where I was. “Hi!” (Me waving at her.) “Yes, I’m right here in front of you.” (Sweet lady – she’s not used to me being in the actual waiting room on time…)  

What’s a girl to do when she can’t keep it all straight?

The old-fashioned monthly calendar wasn’t working for our family.

I needed help.

Thank goodness for mom friends and all their good ideas. One of my good friends gave me a tip I’m loving. First, I switched to using a google calendar that synchs with everyone in my family’s phones. But, people don’t always daily look at their phone calendar, so that wasn’t the game-changer.

Here’s where what turned on the lights in our home…

My friend told me every Sunday her family sits down and writes out the weekly schedule. She even shared her spreadsheet with me.  

So, I copied her – and guess what…we’ve had a nice little stretch of making it to all the things…ready for this…on time!  

Weekly working mom calendar so you can see a visual of the whole week and get everyone where they need to be:

I appreciated her calendar, but I needed a little more room in the after-school squares and I wanted to make it a little prettier, so I made my own. Then, because sometimes I can be a “try-hard” (according to my kids), I made a couple more varieties of weekly calendars to best meet what we’re doing that week. 

I know moms in our community, are busy, busy, busy, and I like having time savers and parenting hacks on this site, I’m sharing my glorious weekly calendar with you.

weekly calendar

The life skills we’re teaching when we talk through this working mom planner with our families: 

Moms, when we simply do life with our families, we’re giving our kids important tools they’ll use forever. But I know we don’t think of it that way. We think we’re just doing what needs to be done – so I want to point out all the amazing life lessons you’re teaching(And how awesome you are, momma!)  

When we sit down on Sunday evenings and talk through the family schedule, we’re teaching our kids: 

  • Communication skills 
  • Organizational skills 
  • How to lead their own lives 
  • Ownership in the family 
  • How to work well with others (Team-player skills) 
  • Be intentional with their time 
  • Keep trying until you figure out what works. (Each season calls for different kinds of organization methods. We keep figuring out what works for the “right now.”)
  • And so much moe

Mommas, you’re doing a great job. Keep moving forward knowing your family needs you times a million and then some more.

 

weekly calendar

Let’s stay in touch! Join this community of moms of older kids.

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s a fantastic life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community below. 

gifts for moms

Read the full let go of the working mom guilt and thrive in working mom life series…

I went to college to get my high school teaching degree. I planned to work for a few years, then stay home with babies. My mind was made up.

Except, I didn’t factor in one thing…

I loved my career. 

Furthermore, at my workplace, there were so many working moms that daily showed me how to be great at both your job and motherhood. So, after taking six years off to be home with my kids and fulfill that dream, I chose to go back to work. 

I love being a working mom and I want to imperfectly thrive in it –  I know you to thrive too. Be encouraged through this series on being a working mom.

Thrive as a Working Mom Series

To the Mom Going Back to Work After Being a Stay-at-Home Mom
7 Ways to Thrive as a Working Mom (Let go of the guilt!)
Be a More Organized Mom: How to Care of Your Heart and Your Home

organized mom

Be a More Organized Mom: How to Take Care of Your Home and Your Heart

(Inside: Do you wonder how to be an organized working mom? Or how to be an efficient mom who keeps her family humming and also includes self-care? Read on…)

“I can’t do this anymore,” I stated matter of factly to my husband

I don’t know what made me say it; my defeated statement wasn’t planned. I just suddenly felt tired, even though my-9-months-of-the-year-working-mom-teacher-life hadn’t started yet.

But, I could feel it coming. My three boys and I had scoured Target for the last of the school supplies. We’d found a pack of pre-sharpened mustard-colored pencils here, a pair of shiny scissors there… My sons and I had sifted through their closets, purging the too-small clothes, tucking the summer clothes in the back, and bringing the fall clothes to the front. We’d marked our calendars with their soccer practices and tournament schedules.

However, instead of feeling the excitement and anticipation of the school routine, I felt like the world was closing in on me. Free time felt 9 months away. It was only August, and I felt like I was already suffocating.

I love motherhood, my teaching job, and being busy. But, I’d slipped into doing hectic life by “flying by the seat of my pants” and apparently the “seat of my pants” was done with me. A mental fog had rolled in and grounded my plane. Here I was at the end of summer, about to go back to teaching feeling overwhelmed instead of refreshed.

 

How to Be a Less Overwhelmed and More Organized Mom

13 years of parenting have taught me to listen when my body says, “Stop, I’m tired.” I reflected on exactly what I needed to reignite my zeal for life, work, and motherhood. I found I needed:

  • Daily routines for my family and me to help us all keep up with the housework, laundry, meals. (I needed my home to stay a tad bit cleaner for my sanity!)
  • Daily inspiration.


Even though I even felt too tired to put together a schedule, I knew that if I’d just get started, ultimately, I’d end up with more time and a happier heart. Even if I just got organized for a month (or a week), I knew it’d help.

A good starting point to becoming a more organized mom:

So, I played with a schedule of motivating tasks each day both for my home (organization) and my heart (inspiration.) I didn’t turn this into a rigid routine, rather it becomes my rhythm, my daily hum from about September through February. Then, when I hit March, I’m just trying to hold on to the bronco for the full 8 seconds and ride out the end-of-the-year craziness until blessed summer hits.

And because I love when other moms share what’s currently working for them, I’m sharing what’s keeping my home a little cleaner and my heart a little happier. Here’s the starting point for my routine (subject to be slightly adjusted weekly or daily)…

 

 

organized mom

Give me a printable of this schedule that I can hang on my fridge. 

Happy Home Happy Heart Free Printable!

 

 

**This blog post contains affiliate links**

Monday – Meal Day

Organized Mom Action:

Cook 2-3 meals. Make your family meal for the night and double the recipe. Or cook up a bunch of one kind of meat and make into three different meals. For example, throw chicken breasts in the crockpot in the morning, then in the evening put together these three meals:


One meal is for dinner tonight. Put the second (and possibly third) meal into the freezer to pull out on a busy mom day.


Inspiration Action:

Listen to an inspirational podcast while you cook. Need ideas? I have a list of best podcasts for moms for you here. 

 

Tuesday – Tidy One Area Day

Organized Mom Action:

Set a timer for 15 minutes and clean out one messy area:

  • sock drawer
  • junk drawer
  • mudroom closet
  • bookshelf
  • spice cabinet
  • medicine cabinet
  • straighten shoes
  • or any corner of the house that’s bugging you…

 

Inspiration Action:

During the 15 minutes and while you clean, listen to inspirational music. Take deep breaths during the mindless task and let peace pour over you. Need a recommendation? I swoon over Lauren Daigle’s music. And your kids? Don’t worry – they’ll leave you alone to mentally refuel. They know you’re cleaning and if they get too close, they’ll be asked to join. That’s not until tomorrow babies, so give momma these 15 minutes…

 

 

Wednesday – Pick Up the House Day

Organized Mom Action:

After the family dinner, everyone helps clean the dishes and tidy up the house. There are 5 members in my family, so this is how we break it down:

 

  • Mom & Dad – dishes/kitchen, pack kids’ lunches
  • Oldest Son – straighten his bedroom and the basement
  • Middle Son – straighten his bedroom, the dining room, and the mudroom
  • Youngest Son – straighten his bedroom and the main living room

Basically, every kid straightens his/her own bedroom and one other room in the house.

Inspiration Action:

During the family meal, every person says something encouraging to the family member on his/her right. Y’all  – this world can be haaaaarsh. Let’s intentionally schedule time to encourage each other. Our minds, bodies, and souls crave encouragement. Soak in the sweet words your family says about you. Then encourage them to “get going” on their after-dinner chore with enthusiastic gusto and hope they buy it.

 

Thursday – Clean the House Day

Organized Mom Action:

After dinner, everyone does 1-2 chores to clean the house. Here’s what it looks like in our home:

  • Dad – dishes, pack lunches
  • Mom – bathrooms (I’m psycho about the bathrooms! I have 3 boys – they’ve done their damage, now let me do mine. Hello, Clorox. Or – heaven help me – straight bleach.)
  • Oldest son – vacuum
  • Middle son – sweep and swiffer
  • Youngest son – dust and windex the appliances

Remember the house is already picked up, so everyone can have their choir done in 30 minutes. (Mommas, even if your children fuss, stay strong in requiring them to help. It’s so good for little ones to have chores – it gives them ownership over our home and builds their leadership skills.)

 

Related article: What Moms Can Do NOW to Raise Their Kids to be Leaders


Inspiration:

At dinner, invite your family to express sincere thanks for three “things” in their lives. Reset perspective by facilitating a verbal gratitude journal. I love this quote about gratitude:

“Going ahead in the midst of the stressful circumstances and giving thanks in that moment – you can’t simultaneously feel stress and gratitude at the same time. So as a parent, to go ahead and start to give thanks to God resets the whole family.” Ann Voskamp

Plus, your kids will need a moment to give thanks for their home, because they are about to clean it. Cowboy up, kids – let’s make our home shine.

 

moms get organized

Get a free printable of daily motivating tasks to help you take care of your home and your heart. 

Happy Home Happy Heart Free Printable!

 

 

Friday – Laundry and Refuel Day

Organized Mom Action:

By Friday, I’ve had a busy week. I’ve been responsible for 4 days in a row. And I’m so ungodly tired. Please don’t anyone expect anything out of me. I don’t want to be wise, or hard-working, and at this point don’t care if I’m an organized mom or not. So the most I can expect out of myself is getting 2 loads of laundry through the washer and dryer. And honestly, I’m a morning girl, so this chore usually gets done before I go to work. (Thank you speed wash/dry setting.)


Inspiration Action:

The inspiration is that your family has been organized all week. Your kids have been good. Or good enough. So now it’s their day – grab some pizza, let your kids binge-watch Netflix or rot their brains with video games. This is the day I refuel through blogging and drinking a caramel mocha with Friends on in the background. On YOUR Friday, find something that refuels you:

  • craft
  • movies
  • take a walk
  • take a hot bath
  • read a book
  • do whatever refuels you

 

Saturday – Laundry and Exercise Day

Organized Mom Action:

Again – the only chore I can stomach is another 2-3 loads of laundry. (That usually finishes the week’s laundry for my family.)


Inspiration Action:

Exercise. Walk your dog. Play soccer with your kids. Hike a local state park. Breathe in fresh air and release those endorphins.

 

Sunday – Rest and Reset Day

Organized Mom Action:

Take 45 minutes in the evening to with the family:

  • straighten the house (The whole family helps. Set the timer for 15-20 minutes and encourage everyone to hustle.)
  • pack school lunches
  • kids’ homework is done
  • make sure Mondays gear is ready and by the door


Inspiration:

Sunday is family day/rest day. Most of the day is restful except for the evening when we prepare for Monday. Find time to do something restful:

  • prayer
  • journaling
  • nap
  • Church
  • card game
  • reading
  • Empowered Moms and Kids Meditations for Moms exercise.  

 

How to be an Organized and Happy Mom

That’s it.

Most days, the organizational action takes 30 minutes or less.

You guys – I can waste 30 minutes trying to find a good show to watch on television. We won’t ever FEEL like being organized, so mind over matter here. Know that a little mom organization each day will give us more overall free time during the week and much more overall sanity…and dare I say…JOY!

As I imperfectly continue to work on being a more organized mom, I find that small changes make a big impact. These small daily routines move my thoughts from  “I can’t do this anymore” to “It’s not about perfect, it’s about purpose.” I’m purposefully trying to daily be more organized, and when I fall off the wagon – which OF COURSE – I do…it’s no big deal. I just get back into my routine at some point and it all turns out “good enough.”

(Also to be noted: Different seasons call for different family routines. This might work for you for a month and that’s it, perfect. Onto whatever else your family needs. Mom life is full of flexibility and grace.)

 

Your Turn

What about you? What organization or inspirational daily tasks do you do? Let me know in the comments.

 

organized mom

 

 


Read the full thriving in working mom life series…

I went to college to get my high school teaching degree. I planned to work for a few years, then stay home with babies. My mind was made up.

Except, I didn’t factor in one thing…

I loved my career. 

 Furthermore, at my workplace, there were so many working moms that daily showed me how to be great at both your job and motherhood. So, after taking six years off to be home with my kids and fulfill that dream, I chose to go back to work.

I love being a working mom and I want to imperfectly thrive in it –  I know you to thrive too. Be encouraged through this series on being a working mom.

To the Mom Going Back to Work After Being a Stay-at-Home Mom
7 Ways to Thrive as a Working Mom (Let go of the guilt!)
Working Mom Planner – Keep Track of ALL THE THINGS in style

 

organized mom

 


 

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are.

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community below.

gifts for moms