For a lot of first years, this week will be the your first time home since the summer. And while you may have gotten used to having your only mug, which you drank tea from once at the beginning of the semester, unwashed, gross and chilling on your desk, your parents are not. You won’t only have to clean up after yourself (what does a bed look like when it’s been made, anyway?), but you can probably count on being asked to “help out around the house.” For the laziest of us, to whom the simplest chores may seem as difficult as running a marathon, here’s a guide to (dealing with) getting out of them.
- Play the Friends Card
Always, always, always have plans. When your dad asks you if you can rake the yard, say “Oh, but Sheila and I were going to catch up over coffee and my guess is it’s going to be a looooooong chat.” Emphasize how much you’ve missed your hometown friends, and how, because the break is so short, you want to pack as much time in as you can with as many people as possible. Don’t forget to throw in some long bit about how sad it is that the times when you are home will become rarer and rarer.
- Or Play the Sibling Card. It’s Even Better
Parents are suckers for seeing their kids spend quality time together. If you have brothers or sisters, pay attention to them. Watch movies, give them lots of hugs, take your younger sister to lunch, etc. Pull at your parents’ heartstrings until they are afraid to ask you for help because it would disrupt your wonderful newfound fondness for your brother. And actually, sibling time can be really fantastic anyway– don’t take it for granted.
- Be one with the P-Set
So a lot of us may actually have a significant amount of work this Thanksgiving. Every time you are home and sense your mom might be about to allot you a chore, make sure you are working intensely on your APMA problem set. Take on the homework and take out the home work.
- Go for long runs
It’s hard for your parents to ask you to vacuum the house if you’re not there. And, if you’ve already been told to vacuum, you can put it off by saying, “I’m just going to go for a run first. If I don’t go now, I’m afraid I’ll lose motivation or it’ll get too dark.” Then, go for a nice long jog (you don’t even have to be jogging the whole time; Personally, I am a big fan of the power walk). If you’re lucky, they’ll forget that the house needed vacuuming in the first place, or dinner will be ready by the time you’re home from your productive, healthy activity.
- Do the Small Things
Want to avoid doing dishes? Then perform an easier task, like setting the table, BEFORE dinner. That way, when the end of the meal rolls around, your mom will remember you helped out already and let you off the hook. This is especially effective if you have siblings to dump the worst jobs on.
- And, my personal favorite: Strategic Napping
During my first college Thanksgiving, I lounged around on the couch a lot. Every time I knew a request for help was coming up, I’d plant my face into a pillow and pretend to nap– and I’ll admit, in most cases I did actually end up napping. After mastering the ditch-and-nap you explain yourself: “I’m so sorry mom, it’s just that I’ve been up so late every night (partying) studying that I guess I really need to catch up on sleep.”
NOTE: There is an excellent depiction of strategic napping in SNL’s “Back Home Ballers” video.
Alright guys, I just want to point out I’m not advocating you actually take any of the above advice. The transition to being back home over the holidays can be tough, especially early on in college. But now, instead of carrying out these strategies, I find it much easier to just help out around the house– it makes for happier parents and thus for a happier you. And are chores really that bad? (“Yes.”) You probably did them in high school, after all. Happy Thanksgiving, and good luck with the fam!