Life Without Mrs. Hughes: The Cost of Getting Things Done with Kids in the House

If I were a character on Downton Abbey, I would most likely be a servant.

But I like to imagine being surrounded by servants who do lots of things for me — even dress me. Honestly, sometimes it's a chore. 

Being the lords and ladies of our own castles has its benefits, but there is a price to pay when the lady of the house wants to sit down and read for thirty minutes, or look at a magazine, sew, or — since we're being honest — cut some fruit up while listening to a podcast, or fold laundry with your door shut so you can finish a load.

I'm no Grantham and I have no Mrs. Hughes — or Daisy or Carson or Mr. Bates.

So what is the actual price of plopping down and somewhat tuning out? There's a sliding scale. Here are a few of the consequences I've experienced:

  • half a watermelon and some frozen chicken nuggets sitting on my couch;
  • three jubiliant girls covering each other's naked bodies with tempura paint;
  • a mess of a cracked egg and poor cleanup, with paper towels solidifying to my floor;
  • a thirty-minute-old poopy diaper that actually requires a bath to remedy; and
  • a front door wide open and a three-year-old riding around the block with a chicken in her bike basket. 

Now, taking those things in right now inspires laughter. I assure you that at the moment of discovery most of those things inspired audible sighing, shrieking, or mumbling curses under my breath. The chicken in a basket actually inspired an Instagram photo. (Right this moment, I can hear a child rifling through the refrigerator.)

Is it still worth it to steal away from your tasks for the day and pursue something you enjoy? Yes! I believe without a doubt it's good for the whole family.

Should you plan on the children sitting on the couch watching Little Einsteins and obediently growing in intelligence? Definitely not.

What you should plan on is fifteen to forty-five minutes of clean up after you've indulged in your cultured leisure or finished a different chore.

But the recreation you enjoyed will be worth it!