For some, especially in the over-40 generation, housework is not considered “manly” or something that men can (or should) do. That’s a load of horse manure. Not only is housework necessary, but it’s not difficult if it’s done regularly.
I currently work from home, do laundry for five, and am responsible for most of the meal preparation and cleanup. I don’t mind that. I’ve learned a few things about housework that I wish I’d known earlier in my life, though. Foremost of which is “keep up with it and it’s not hard to do.” Whether you work from home or have a regular 9-5 day job, housework is not the tedious labor it’s often made out to be.
The Dishwasher Is Your Friend
I use the dishwasher. A lot. I also avoid using it. A lot. Sound complicated? Well, my relationship with the dishwasher is sort of like what you’d have with a new girlfriend that you’re still a bit unsure of, but who’s totally hot. You see, before moving to this house, I didn’t have a dishwasher. So washing dishes was me in front of a double sink scrubbing. Usually unhappily. Which generally meant that dishes tended to pile up. Because I hate doing that.
Enter the dishwasher. All curvy and ready for action. But not always ready and not always predictable. The dishwasher is hot, but comes with some quirks that could become maintenance issues if they aren’t held at arm’s length. So my relationship is tenuous.
What it comes down to is that I use the dishwasher for everyday things like silverware, plates, bowls, cups, and so on. I do not put sharp knives, cookware, or specialized equipment in there. Basically, I put just enough in there to keep from being wasteful when she’s run, but not so much that she gets overloaded and rebels, making me miserable, alone in front of the sink again.
Another trick? Paper. Paper plates and plastic utensils are your friends. Paper plates and bowls can be recycled, so simply rinsing them into the disposal and dropping them into the recycle bin is a win-win. You get to not have dishes and the plates go on to become toilet paper or car tires or whatever it is they do with recycled paper. Perfect!
Plastic utensils, on the other hand, are cheap and easy to re-use and can be washed in said dishwasher. Which likely has a utensil rack that’s way bigger than the number of real, steel utensils you own. Plus there are cool plastics available that are shaped like Star Wars characters, Pokemon, or whatever else your kids are into. Trust me, cereal might look boring by itself, but throw in a green Chewbacca spoon and it’s suddenly the greatest food ever made for a 7 year old.
Laundry Isn’t Difficult, Just Annoying
Like most chores, doing laundry is more of an annoyance than it is actual work. It’s about setting up a system and using that system to make it easier. Consistency is the key to laundry. Doing it on a regular schedule so that you don’t fall behind makes it an easy task. I wrote some pro tips to get you started on the road towards becoming every woman’s dreamboat.
Cooking Is Easy
Most cooking is about Googling a recipe and then putting that together as directed. I put a lot of recipes here, most of them geared towards dads who are either in a hurry and want good food or are big fans of cooking. Since I’m either and both of those, depending on the day.
Teach Your Kids To Help
From an early age, kids are able to do a lot of things. This empowerment teaches them to become more self-reliant. Because I’m a lazy parent, I tend to get my kids to do things for themselves as often as possible. They fold laundry, clean up dishes, get their own juice boxes or water, and so forth.
Most chores are do-able by kids to some degree. The trick is not making the chore even harder because you had the kids do it first. Set up some kind of incentive program too and they’ll happily* fold laundry, put away dishes, clean up the dinner table, and empty litter boxes.
*Happily is relative terminology.
Farm It Out?
Other housework tasks, such as cleaning toilets and so forth, can be made easy as well. It’s worth considering spending a few bucks a month on a cleaning service, though, so that those non-daily, more scrub-intensive items are “farmed out” to professionals. Having a service come in weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly can save a lot of effort and increase your time with the kids. The cost is definitely worth it.