Let's talk about what isn't working around the Future PharmD household, shall we?
First we have the case of excess dishes caused by the spouse working from home and me being home most days for lunch. We don't eat the same lunch so we have far more lunch dishes volume than we do for dinner, even though there's only two of us at lunch and all four of us for dinner. Breakfast tends toward the same problem. If neither of us were home much of the day, we'd have fewer dishes but we are so it's more mess to wrangle.
Second we have the chronic illness factor. I haven't talked about this much if at all but it's huge right now since it's a mystery ailment that could range from relatively benign to fatal in the coming few years. Hopefully we get a diagnosis so we can move on from the realms of limbo where we've been residing for months. Specific to our situation is that one adult can't stand for more than about 5 minutes at a time and not for more than 20-30 minutes in an hour without severe pain. It's awfully hard to clean the kitchen or move laundry from downstairs back upstairs with those limits, let alone chase children around and keep the baby from destroying all things or chewing on the window ledges where there is surely a lead layer for her to discover. Gaping hole in the system having one of us adults so impaired.
Third we need to add in the "reach factor." There are lots of things that the kid could do for herself or as part of her chores around the house but can't because we have no stepstool. She can't put dishes away from the dishwasher because they are out of her reach. She does put away the silverware and the measuring cups that are stored where she can reach, but again, since the full loop of dish use isn't visible to her, she misses the point and isn't bothered by not getting her dirty dishes where they go.
Fourth we have the case of the jammed system happening. When the trash and recycling bins are full, the trash and recycling pile up in the kitchen (often in large pans or bowls, sometimes just in heaps). Then when the dishwasher is full, the dishes pile up on the counters. Then the dishes and trash and recycling stop making it to the kitchen because we are out of room and they pile up everywhere else. It's all stuff that would be solved if the trash got taken out every day or so and if the recycling went away on a regular basis and the dishwasher were emptied before bed every night or before breakfast every morning. BUT since things get backed up, we then have to deal with the additional resulting messes, then it's exhausting to handle all that mess so it's easier to just give up and live with the chaos.
This week we have added injury to the poor insulted system of keeping order in the kitchen, in that I fell and sprained my ankle. It's my third fall this winter, second carrying Little Monster, and I'm really lucky that I didn't get hurt before but I am still very grumpy about the whole thing. I'm being responsible and icing and elevating and all that jazz. It's getting better. Nothing else around here is getting a whit better though. I can't do anything about it and it CHAFES so much.
So. It is very clear that other people need to take on more responsibility for things and actually follow through if this is going to work. The kid has to have an empty trash can in which to deposit her crusts after dinner and an empty/all dirty dishes dishwasher to put the dishes into afterward or else it just becomes a mess. These are not negotiable things anymore. Any strides I made toward getting the kitchen cleaned up last week (and they were great for us, perhaps not in the grand scheme of things) are now totally undone. I'm not totally sure where to go from here beyond just throwing out things and asking nobody about what I discard because I have had enough. Actually I have decided on ultimatums like "take out the trash, as you promised you would do daily at least once each month for the last 6 months, or the girls and I are leaving you here with the cat to fester until you get it together. It's the trash, not rocket science. Seriously." and other nasty such things. Upside: the trash all got taken out for the first time in months yesterday (here I'm including the trashcan of tissues from beside the bed upstairs and the kid's little trashcan with smashed bits of broken plastic toys as well as the primary kitchen trash that gets emptied much more often). Minor upkeep left undone becomes a big freaking problem if you ignore it too long.
I hate nagging. I hate it so much. But from my perspective, I'm in school full time and the spouse is working part time, so I should not be responsible for all of the laundry and most of the dishes and a plurality of baby care (no I don't change many diapers but I probably will once she stops nursing, no I don't do trash, clean toilets, or the cat box because they make me throw up and I hate that). This does not compute. Perhaps from any perspective, that's what makes sense. We need to do at least one load of laundry every day to keep up and have clothes/diapers for everyone. We need to do at least one load of dishes every day. I am not seeing how me doing most of the laundry and almost all of the dishes is a fair distribution and I am not in any mood to be graceful in doing more than my share. School is my share and I just can't sleep if I also need to do all the laundry and the dishes and my stuff must happen so I never slack off while we can just get a second bedroom trashcan instead of emptying the thing regularly happens. ARG! On the one hand, I hate being unpleasant but on the other hand, just letting it go in the hopes that not nagging would get things done didn't work. I am done waiting for self-reforms to kick in and about ready to start a sticker chart for adult chores too (rewards will clearly be a personal box of ice cream treats)
I did discover a sneaky kid trick yesterday though. If she wants to keep some random scrap of paper that she's made some plan for a sale we are going to have on (this is almost daily that she does this, apparently she has great hopes that selling stuff she's made will fix our lack of funds), she has to recycle 4 other random papers from around the living/dining/office area. So yesterday she kept out two quarter sheets of paper and recycled another 8 pieces of paper with various doodles on them. Victory!