Household chores drive me nuts. As the only woman in a household of men – even the cats are male – I seem to be not only endlessly, single-handedly doing everything around the house, but also endlessly nagging 'the boys' to just try and do their fair share. The reason it bugs me so much is that all my "free" time is taken up with housework instead of doing the things I want to do, like, say, spending some time on my career. I know I'm not the only woman in this situation. Up until recently, all of my nagging about chores has fallen on deaf ears.
Then I discovered Chorewars.
Chorewars is a free Dungeons and Dragons-like online role playing game which "lets you claim experience points for household chores. By getting other people in your house or workplace to sign up to the site, you can assign experience point rewards to individual tasks and chores, and see how quickly each of you levels up." For each "adventure" (ie chore), you not only win points, but also may end up having a battle with a monster and winning prizes such as gold coins. It turns housework into a game.
You can use the game in almost any way you want to. Perhaps you want to make a rule that the person with the highest number of points at the end of the week gets to choose the film you all watch on Saturday night. Perhaps the one with the lowest number of points at the end of the week has to clean the litterbox. Perhaps you want to link the points or the prizes to real world rewards. Or maybe you just want to use it to keep track of what chores everyone does.I've started a game which includes my husband and 13-year-old son, as well as my sister and her daughter who live in the States. Whilst my sister and I are already very quickly in the lead, the others have been keen to rack up their own points. My son is particularly keen as I've told him that each time he "levels up" – that is, each time he earns 200 points and rises up to the next character level – I will give him £5.
I've also decided to use Chorewars as a way of him working off punishments. At the moment if, for example, he gets into trouble at school, he gets his computer game time taken away for a certain number of days. I've now made the rule that he can do housework and earn a certain number of points in Chorewars in order to lessen the number of days his games are taken away. That is, as soon as he earns the designated number of points, he will get his game back. He agreed to that with no arguing.
This evening, I pointed out to my son that his cousin has more points than he does and that if he takes out the rubbish he'll easily earn 15 points and my husband cut in, "I'll do that! I need to catch up." My jaw hit the floor.
If getting your family to do chores is a real chore for you, perhaps Chorewars will help.