Dubai's Desperate Housewife

Trials and traumas of a full-time mum in Dubai

Posts Tagged ‘chores

The division of labour

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There’s a strict division of labour in our house. I’m not going to beat about the bush and pretend it’s anything it isn’t: DH earns the money, does the odd jobs / dirty work and drops the kids at school every morning, and I do everything else.

Of course that's me: note the waspish waist

Of course that’s me: note the waspish waist

And, in our household, “everything else” catches a lot of stuff, from meal-planning and cooking to managing the finances, maintaining the house and garden, planning the holidays, making sure the family paperwork is all up to date (passports, visas, alcohol licence, ID cards and so on), trying to make sure we have some form of social life – oh, and looking after the children with all that that entails. I’m sure you all know the score.

Usually, we all bob along nicely: we both know our place and our system works for us.

But this week there’s been a hiccup. DH’s car developed a flat tyre. In my job as sorter of “everything else” I took the tyre to the tyre place: it’s not a puncture, it’s a cracked wheel rim that’s causing the tyre to lose air.

So, in my role of sorter of “everything else” I searched for new rims for DH and presented him with a few options, which he – in his role of boss of “dirty work” – rejected. He found a place that mends rims. I took the rim in to be mended… and DH was left with no car.

As you can imagine, this lack of car has had a profound effect on DH’s ability to drop the children at school every morning, so the division of labour has shifted: I’ve added morning drop-off to my list of daily chores while DH has enjoyed an altogether more leisurely start to his days.

‘Mmm,’ he said this morning as he lay in bed with his coffee and I galloped about the house gathering children, lunches, homework and swimming kits while making sure I had two contact lenses in and at least some knickers on. ‘I could get used to this… and… you seem to be enjoying doing morning drop-off?’

If looks could kill, my friends, if looks could kill.

Written by mrsdubai

November 19, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Teaching the value of money

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So we decided that, at six years old, it was high time DD learned about the value of money. We agreed that, along with her tooth fairy money, she would be given some sort of cash from DH and I so that she could learn about saving and spending.

But how to give her money without her thinking it grows on trees? (this is the child who, aged three, asked me to “buy” her a baby sister and then, by nursery pick-up, wondered why I hadn’t).

The obvious answer is to get her to do chores around the house, like I did when I was young.

“I don’t want to pay her to do things she should do routinely, like tidy her room,” said DH.

He’s got a point. So how about washing up? Might break stuff. Washing the cars? Too hot outside, cars too big (two 4WDs in 44 degrees is hardly like me wrapped in an anorak running a sponge over my mum’s Vauxhall Nova, is it?) Ironing? Too dodgy – she’s only six. Gathering leaves (I used to get 50p a bucket at my granny’s)? The gardener does it. Cleaning the pool? She might drown.

I ran out of housework ideas. Really, I pay Gerlie to do all that stuff – I don’t want to pay my daughter to do it, too.

So then we hit on the idea that we would just ask her to do her best at school; to work as hard as she could and to do her homework nicely and read her school books every day and, if she was doing that, we’d give her money now and then, no matter what her scores were in class (it’s important to encourage the effort, not the results, I feel).

“Cool,” she said.

So today she’d saved the sum total of Dhs 45 and she wanted to go and spend it. I took her to the local shops, where there’s a small ELC. She wanted an electric guitar, price Dhs 189. What do I do, I wondered? Tell her she doesn’t have enough money, or silently stump up the difference?

“It’s not a very good toy,” I said diplomatically. “All you can do is press the buttons. You’ll get bored with it really quickly.”

So we rejected everything in ELC and headed to the local bookshop. There, DD decided she wanted a new pencil case, which her Dhs 45 easily covered.

“Yep,” she said, having scoured the entire shop. “I’ll buy this. It’s what I want more than anything.” She clutched it to her chest like it was a pair of 10-carat diamond earrings.

I took her to the till but could I let her pay for it? Could I hell!

“Darling, how about I get this for you and you save your money?” I said. How’s she ever going to learn?

Written by mrsdubai

September 14, 2011 at 9:59 pm