Clarifying Expectations: Remedial Chores for Mama’s Boys

Many of my friends and youth ministry colleagues know that I often speak about the importance of clarifying expectations. I learned this concept when I attended a Mike Patin workshop a few years ago and it’s stuck with me ever since.

Simply put, setting clear expectations up front saves a whole lot of trouble, confusion, and hurt later. The importance of clarifying expectations is evident in all aspects of life: in relationships, in friendships, at work, and in ministry.

I will expand on this a bit more in my next blog that I’ll write later on this weekend. But for now…and as a prelude to “Clarifying Expectations…Part 2”, I would like to share what my lovely wife left for me to ponder as she went with Kayla to New York for 2 weeks.

As I write this, it’s been a whopping 60 hours since the Imoo boys said good-bye to their 2 lovely ladies at Sea-Tac Airport. Amazingly we are eating healthy and eating well, and the house is not in complete chaos…yet.

My extended family and friends have been awesome: checking up on us, taking us out, cooking for us, and most importantly, praying for us. Unsurprisingly, the majority of concerns have been regarding what we will eat. Now, I can make a mean bowl of Ichiban, but even the most hardcore noodle-lover would get sick of eating it every day after a while. Thankfully, my lovely wife left me a notebook full of instructions, tips and reminders for me so I won’t lose my way. Think of it as “GPS by Gail.”

Page 2 is titled “Food Choices available at home” and reads as a who’s-who of pre-pared and packaged food. My lovely wife spent all of Monday cooking for us, freezing stuff for us, and packaging stuff for us. Thanks to her list, I will never forget that adobo and salsa chicken is in the freezer, Kraft Dinner is in the garage, and Spam is in the pantry.

Page 3 is “Food to Buy” and lists things that Gail didn’t get a chance to purchase before she left. This page was hardly a challenge, as we took care of it Tuesday night after returning home to Richmond.

Pages 4 through 11 contain detailed, hand-written recipes and instructions ranging from the easy (rice and hot dogs…separately of course), to the challenging (bacon pasta and longanisa).

And as for Page 1…it’s simply titled “Reminders”:

1. Make sure Sean and Jacob brush their teeth
2. Feed them fruits every day
3. Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink; load the dishwasher
4. Clean up and keep the house tidy
5. Vacuum the house at least once while I’m gone
6. Do laundry at least once at least once while I’m gone
7. Don’t spend too much money (eat at home, go to the park, have friends over, find free entertainment)

For the average person, most (if not all) of these things seem like common-sense…or perhaps Remedial Chores for Mama’s Boys. Remember this when you read my next blog.

For now, I’m proud to say that we’re all over #1, #2, #3, #4 and #6. #5 is still unaccomplished, and the jury’s out on #7.

As I told my friends…we will not refuse any reasonable offer for dinner…we’ll even provide the entertainment!


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