I am a terrible housekeeper. I’m also terrible at saving money. And talking about my feelings. And cooking (because I don’t plan ahead). And making time for my husband. At least, I WAS terrible at all of these things until… family meetings!
When I told my mom that my husband and I were going to start having family meetings every week, she laughed for about 15 minutes and then said “whatever for?” And the answer was everything I listed above.
I found a print-out somewhere in the depths of the internet called “Peek at the Week.” I showed it to my husband and he was mostly indifferent about it until I told him all of my amazing plans.
We start with food. That is the only real way to get him to pay attention for more than 10 minutes. So, I trapped him at Tim Horton’s with a small box of Tim Bits and a coffee and laid this out in front of him. I informed him that it was time for our weekly family meeting.
- There is a section at the top of the print-out that has each day sectioned off. In this portion, we write anything that’s going on (concerts, board game nights, his mom’s birthday) as well as each picking a chore that we will do that day.
- In the To-Do section, we write down things that need to (or at least ought to) happen that week (buy a present for mom, give back the blender we borrowed) that don’t have to happen on a specific day.
- The next section is for menu planning. We plan out what we want to make for the week and what we’ll need to buy in order to make it.
- The final section, the Thoughts section, is where we’ve been writing the relationship stuff. Things that are going great, things that need improvement, mostly it’s just a nice chance to pat ourselves on the back for being super awesome together. Last week’s said “Sex = Rad. Six days in a row!” “Thanks for making my lunches!” “I want more snuggles!” and “You’re my favorite person of all the persons.”
We wrap up the meeting with a big hug in the middle of the coffee shop and then head off to grocery shop for the food we’ll need for the week.
A couple weeks in to the family meetings, the chores started to fall behind, so we added some financial incentive. For every day a chore is late, you owe a dollar to the Disapproving Pig (a piggy bank who looks like he’s judging me). If the chore has not been completed by the next family meeting, that is an additional $5 on top of the late fees. I’m not sure how much of my money that rotten pig has stolen at this point, but I know that it’s going to help our vacation fund in the long run.
So, with the addition of family meetings to our week, we spend about 20-30 minutes on a mini date together (if/when we have kids, they’ll probably get to come and pick their own chores — within reason — along with us). We’re more on top of cleaning the house. We’ve saved money grocery shopping with fewer impulse buys and less time trying to guess what we can make for dinner that night. We’ve saved money towards our vacation (thanks Disapproving Pig!). And we’ve strengthened our relationship by giving ourselves a chance to appreciate each other for things that might otherwise go unsaid.
I heart family meetings.