I have been struggling with my recent prescription for bed rest. I am a busy person by nature and have trouble “sitting” let alone staying in bed all day long. I want to make the most of this time and not have regrets, at the same time I want to do what is best for me and the baby… and for now that means hanging out in bed.
I also wasn’t sure what I was going to blog about (Yes, I know you want me to write more of Our Story… I will). Most of my blog is practical not philosophical. It is made up of my daily life, things I do every day and when my day is spent sitting in bed there is little to blog about. Thankfully my answer to what to write about over the next few weeks came via email today.
A reader wrote:
I am a mother of 3 kids, ages 7, 4, and 6m. I am in my 2nd year of home-schooling, but am quickly realizing that my giftedness is NOT in organization (of time, or house, or clutter, etc.) You are able to accomplish SO much with your time, would you mind sharing your schedule?? For example, what does a typical day look like for you (before bedrest, of course!!) What time did you get up? When do you have your prayer time?? When do you start school?? How many hours do you school in each day?? Is there a separate room for school?? When do you lesson plan, meal plan, grocery shop, fix meals?? When do you get to read YOUR books? When do you clean, sort through papers, file papers (DO you file papers???) Do you have certain chores that get done EACH day, if so, WHEN do you do those?? Any specific information would help me a great deal…
I was so happy to receive this email because it has given me something to write about. Over the next few weeks (or until I have the baby) I hope to publish a series of posts titled, A Day in the Life of The Happy Housewife. Hopefully these posts will shed some light on how I manage our day to day living and accomplish the things that I blog about.
I am going to start this series talking about my kids. I realize I don’t blog much about them specifically, but truly they are the key to how I manage to get as much done as possible. My kids are old. There is a big difference between having 3 children who are 7, 4, 6m and having kids ages 3, 5, 7, 8, 12 and 14.
Many years ago when I had two children ages 2 and 4 my house was never as clean as it is today, I was not as organized, we lived on chicken nuggets and Lucky Charms, and I bought all our birthday cakes at Publix. They also went to preschool a few times a week. It was only when our younger children were born that I realized the need to be more organized, neater, healthier and thriftier. It was out of necessity that my way of thinking changed. I realized I needed to do a better job of training my children, not only to be more obedient but training them to be adults.
Training kids is hard, and almost always interrupts something. Many times it seems easier to let things slide regarding discipline or to do it ourselves regarding work. Do we really want to get off the phone, computer, stop school work, put down a book, or finish up in quickly the bathroom because we need to deal with an “issue?” Usually we don’t want to be interrupted, however missing these training opportunities will cost you in the long run. A disobedient 3 year old can be cute (or not) but a disobedient 13 year old who is taller than you is dangerous. It is easier to clean the sinks yourself, and probably you do a better job than your five year old but, if you keep cleaning the sink you will end up with a 10, 15 or 20 year old that doesn’t know how to clean a bathroom.
My advice to moms of littles (and I am one myself) is to make training your children a priority. First time obedience is key and teaching them how to help around the house is very important. My kids have all provided me with different opportunities to grow as a mom. I have had some that were more compliant and helpful than others. A few were just plain difficult. None of them are perfect and we still work on cheerfulness, joy, kindness, and self control every day.
When my two oldest were about 6 and 8 I realized the need to have helpers in my house. Dh worked 70+ hours a week and I was at home with a newborn, toddler and my older two. I could not possibly get everything done each day. I realized that training them to take over certain age appropriate jobs would make everyone’s lives easier. From there it snowballed, today my now 12 and 14 year old are capable of running our house. From cooking meals to cleaning, to babysitting they can do it all, and at times they do.
This does not mean they aren’t kids, they are. Because the workload is split between so many people in our home there is plenty of free time for everyone, including me, which is why I am able to write this blog.
Enough of the philosophical and on to the practical.
Training tools I recommend:
These books have really helped me grow in my parenting.
- Shepherding a Child’s Heart
- Don’t Make Me Count to Three: a Mom’s Look at Heart-Oriented Discipline
- A Mom Just Like You
These tools have helped me get organized and have given me some great ideas on child training.
Now (although not really now because of bed rest) I use Motivated Moms to assign chores and keep our house clean. I print out the weekly chore list and assign everyone their jobs for the week. When someone finishes a job (and it had been inspected if necessary) we check the box marking that job completed. Before Motivated Moms I would print out a weekly chore list and post it on the fridge.
This is a sample of chores our children are assigned each week.
3 yo: dusting (with help), collect laundry, unload dishwasher, pick up toys, put away laundry, set table
5 yo: windex, collect laundry, unload dishwasher, pick up toys, put away laundry, match socks, dust pan, vacuum (with the little vacuum), set table, help with meal prep
7 yo: dust, windex, collect laundry, unload dishwasher, pick up toys, put away laundry, sweep, wipe counters, vacuum, set table, clear table, help with meal prep
8 yo: dust, windex, unload dishwasher, pick up toys, put away laundry, sweep, vacuum, wipe counters, wet jet, clean sinks, set table, clear table, help with meal prep
12 yo: assist younger siblings with chores, dust, windex, unload dishwasher, pick up toys, put away laundry, sweep, vacuum, wipe counters, wet jet, clean sinks, clean toilets, mop floors, set table, clear table, make meals, clean car, sweep porches, fix things around the house, assist with big projects
14 yo: assist younger siblings with chores, dust, windex, unload dishwasher, pick up toys, laundry, sweep, vacuum, wipe counters, clean sinks, clean toilets, mop floors, set table, clear table, meal plan, make meals, assist with big projects
Many of the organizing projects I write about on this site are done with the help of most if not all of my kids. I rarely work alone. I think working along side your children is a great way to build relationships and teach by example. More on that in the next post.
Other posts related to kids and chores: