How Do You Do It?

When others find out we have four children and we are homeschooling, their next comment is often..."How Do You Do It All?" My answer...I don't. Well, I don't do it ALL. I don't have a job outside the home, I don't keep my house spic-n-span clean, I don't cook a 5-course meal every evening. I do, however, try to do my best at following the Lord, raising our children, and managing our home. And besides, I know of plenty other mothers who have more children than I do - four really isn't a lot of kids you know.

I have learned so many great tips over the years that help in keeping our chaotic lives running smoothly. Most of the tips I've learned are from the MOMYS Digests.

Here are some tips....please share yours with me too!

*Laundry always seems to be the straw that broke the camel's now, I get it all done on one day...We have one day designated as laundry day. Everyone in our house knows it. We don't go anywhere on that day, I camp out in the laundry room, divide the clothes into baskets and when they are clean the children put them where they go. It's done and no one has to think about it for 7 more days : ) Another tip...what to do w/ all those mis-matched socks? Have a stash of safety pins in the laundry room. Pin matching socks together as you throw them in the washer, when they come out of the dryer, take the pin out and fold them together. It helps if you instruct your family members to be sure and fold dirty socks together instead of throwing them in the basket separately, that way you don't have to search for them.

*SAY NO - just b/c someone asks you to do something (teach Sunday School, drive the church van, babysit their children, volunteer at school, coach t-ball...) doesn't mean you have to say yes. My family and I are much happier when I say YES to what the Lord asks of me, instead of what someone else thinks I should do.

*Stretch out your grocery shopping trips to once every 2 weeks or even once a month. I save a lot of money this way by eating what's in the cupboard, and I save a lot of time instead of going to the store for 2 hours every week.

*Go Pajama-less. It took my husband about 3 years of convincing before I finally caved in and decided to do away with the kids' pajamas. He'd always ask me why I was making our bedtime routine harder than it had to be. With 3 of our kids born in less than 3 years, bedtime was a little crazy for a few years. So now, the kids go to bed in what they wore during the day, or put on some clean play clothes to wear the next day. Sure, we have a few p.j.s for special times, but for the most part - we're pj-free and bedtime is much easier (so is laundry.)

*Take some hints from FlyLady and tackle your house one zone at a time. You can do it. Focus on the cabinets one week, then maybe filter through toys the next week. One job at a time adds up to an organized home.

*Find out what's important to your husband and focus on those things. If your husband would prefer to come home to a warm meal rather than an empty laundry basket then try to change your priorities. If your husband is irritated when he finds you still in your pajamas, but doesn't mind if the floor isn't mopped - then try to put on clean clothes and forget the floor! It'll make your evening more peaceful.

*Put your kids to work! I have found that children as little as 3 years old can begin to really contribute with chores. Some moms have a scheduled chore chart that works well for them, others use the MOTH system to schedule chores throughout the day. I have found that designating a certain time of the day for everyone to work together on chores works best for us. While I'm preparing dinner, each of the kids is working on whatever chores I give them. When they are finished w/ one job, they come to me and get another. I try to pair up 2 children on a hard job, and allow an older one to teach a younger one how to complete a job. Works for us.

*Homeschooling. This is one of the most misunderstood genres of our time. When a non-homeschooler sees me they think I must be out of my mind trying to teach all these kids. When, in reality, it's because we are all home together that our life is simpler than it used to be when we were going to and from school and pre-school and to and from PTA meetings and ballgames. We lived in the van. Now we live at home and have tons of down time and we aren't dead tired at the end of the day. (By the way, we still go to and from ballgames!)

Let me know what works for you....


Corrie said...

Hi Kristin,

I am enjoying your blog. Thanks for your great ideas! Anything I can do to "de-stress" my life and simplify it is great. I always have to re-evaluate what I am doing and get rid of things that distract me from my goals. Sometimes it is the "good" things that are distracting me. I like the idea of having "zones" and taking small steps. They all add up. I have assigned my children each a zone and they are responsible for it. That way when the realtor wants to show our home, then all we have to do is go to our "zone" and get busy making sure it is ready for a showing. I can't wait until I can "live" in my home again! :-)

Spunky said...

Great list. I especially like the just say no advice. That is so important. Sometimes we sacrifice the best for the good. Over commitment can destroy a home.

Just in Jesus said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and taking the time to email me. I loved your last post. It's a great list. I've heard of the sock trick before but I admit, I haven't tried it yet. Homeschooling is SO much easier than all the carting around. We even opted out of a co-op this year because it would put us on the road and out the door three mornings a week. Gosh, they might as well be in public school. I have a friend who's child began public school K5 this year. There are over 2000 people in the school and she waits 1.5 hours to pick her son up each day. UGH. I'd go nuts. I love having my kids at home (most days). And I look forward to lots of outdoor activities once the weather begins to cool off in SC. Today has been a little nicer with that hurricane off the coast.
Anyway...stop by anytime