Now, now… I have said this to my friends before, as a matter of thinking aloud and the kind of response that I got, man! One would think that I was NUTS to even be thinking about it. It’s just that, it is now that time of the year in the office, where we have our 1 to 1s with our bosses, go through our achievements for the year, and talk about how we are going to improve our performance in the office. Undoubtedly we get paid for the work that we do in the office, while housework is seen as a thankless job. But come on! I happen to think that running our household and being a wife to our husbands, and a mum to our kids are important enough tasks that it is worth looking at our objectives for each role, form a strategy to meet those objectives, and then have clear, measurable and agreed Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each of those roles. To me, it is only logical!
We have all been through those 1 to 1s with our boss, right? How does it normally go? Mine usually constitutes 2 adults speaking honestly and frankly, constructively, in a neutral surrounding in an objective, non-emotional manner. We look at the objectives first, and then go through my list of achievements, which support the meeting of those objectives. My boss will then either concur or give constructive comments to which, I will listen appreciatively or voice my own concern if there is any. Then, we proceed to the details of my KPIs and how I did against those. At the end of that, we look at how we can better perform for the next half of the year, thank each other for the work done and then voice our appreciation of the role that each of us play in the team, followed by coffee.
Funny how in matter of work, we get to be real adults, open and mature – but when it comes to relationships, feelings and emotions come into play. What usually starts with … “Maybe you could help a little more…” statement, turns into the accusatory “you are never around, and I have to raise the kids (or insert whatever is appropriate here) ALL BY MYSELF!” – the man either goes into defensive mode, or shuts down, and it all. gets. ugly.
Last year, (yes, while I was working in the financial institution that must never be named,) I took a whole 2 weeks off (core leave, mandatory, that’s why I got to take it in that 1 long stretch!) – became a stay-at-home mum. This was also during the time when we were maidless for 8 months. I realised that I needed to look at being a mum and wife in a different manner – professionalise it. By putting in measures similar to how I grade myself at the job I do in the office! This was what I came up with. I divided my responsibilities into the 4 quadrants deemed to be the most significant aspects of my work as mum and wife and listed the KPIs.
- cleanliness of living room, kitchen, dining area (all public areas)
- cleanliness of all bathrooms
- cleanliness of each bedroom
- state of laundry
2. Meal Preparation:
- variety / nutritional value of meals prepared
- compliments received from clients (son and husband)
3. Customer Service – Motherly duties:
- level of quality / fun had with son (planned outings)
- Fortnightly library visits
- Fortnightly outing of son’s choice (park, zoo, skating rink, visit to grandma’s, etc)
- 1 half/day or full/day family outing for the family (no shopping / shopping centre allowed)
- level of quality time spent with son (at home) – schedules planned and met + fun time.
- Son’s reading progress
4. Customer Service – Wifely Duties:
- Quality time spent with hubby
- The state of hubby’s clothes / general well-being
- companionship (incl. time spent doing things that he likes doing which aren’t necessarily things that I like doing!)
- His family
obviously for each item in each quadrant there were quantifiable activities to fulfill the requirement of the item (e.g. – for level of quality / fun had with son (planned outings) – the items have been outlined.) If you do all that is stated there, then you can give yourself a “3” for that month (meets expectations). If you do more than planned, and that month was a stupendous month for your family and you, then you can get a 2 (Exceeds Expectation). If you get a 2 for 3-6 months running in this area, – hey, your family may just give you a 1 (Consistently exceeds expectations!)Best thing would be to agree on the quadrants and KPIs with hubby and son and work on Service Level Agreements so that everyone will be on the same page (e.g. I will be able to provide this, this and that… if you do this, this and that… otherwise, we will experience some delay or quality of items delivered will not be of the standard expected / agreed upon.)Hey, if nothing else, you get to work on the same page as to the level of responsibilities that you have taken on, and you get to manage everyone’s expectations. Obviously my 4 quadrants will not be the same as anyone else’s – and how I quantify each of my KPI will not be the same as how you would do yours. But I would say, do sit down and think about it. Talk to the stakeholders of your life (hubby, kids are the key stakeholders…) and work on this system.Sigh! Hubby and I and son, we still have our moments, spats, periods of giving each other the “evil eye” – but there has been little of the… “I wish someone would do more…” statement in the house since the onset of the above!