I am always asked “How do you do it?” The answer is always God. But if you are looking for a practical guide how my household works well, I have not created such nor do I think it's remotely possible. In all fairness though, its not a ME situation its a WE. We operate off a schedule during the school year because our home is pretty multifaceted. Maintaining some sense of a schedule helps with those unpredictable situations. Sounds almost counterintuitive but its not. Operating off a schedule makes me fully aware of how I need to shift things around when emergencies happen, instead of scrambling around in dismay.
This past school year we tried something a bit different. My husband was responsible for getting our son dressed in the morning and getting him off to the bus. Thereafter, depending on the day either he drops the teen girls off to school or I will do it. Most often he does it and then he prepares to head to work.
Your thoughts: Why does he does he do all of that before work?
Answer: I was a stickler for dressing our son. I felt I do it better and quicker in the mornings. However, things shifted when the youngest baby arrived. Jay grew and picking him up had become a little bit more difficult for me. With this, my husband handling him in the morning gives my back a break. Also, my sleep is still disrupted at night due to breastfeeding so, it's kind of a rest thing as well. In regards to taking the girls to school, around the time the teens head to school, the two little ones wake up. When they wake up, the floodgates have opened and it's time to have on your laser vision. If you can imagine, it's easier to drop kids off to school rather than jumpstart breakfast for two toddlers who wake up in a frenzy. We found this is what works for us.
During The Day Until 7pm
These are the hours I am put to work. During the day, I have toddlers and I am on standby for any surprise situations with my teens at school (believe me it happens more than desired). Along with that though, I am teaching them, dismantling fights (yes they have them!), picking up spills, changing diapers and running three of my businesses. Its challenging. Between tantrums, emails and phone calls, I am depleted and sometimes feel defeated two to three hours into the day. Courageously though, I pick myself up by the bootstraps and keep pushing.
Well into the afternoon, I begin preparing to receive the older kids and plan out the rest of the evening. Insert cocktails here. I cook, I do a couple pick ups and drop offs to dance, I prepare our son for the beginning steps for bed. To be honest, I am in full autopilot at this time of day and I just like to get things done.
No, this is not exactly like an Usher Video with sexy dancing and feelings of lust perse. When my husband makes it home the toddlers literally charge at him as if he is a matador and they are bulls, it's the most insane scene you have ever laid your eyes on! His first stop is sitting to the kitchen table where his food waits(Disclaimer: This is what I want to do because I was raised this way and its deserving) for him. We debrief at this time, I get him caught up to speed with what has happened during the past ten hours. Thereafter, he caters to our son and dibble and dabble with the toddlers. They tend to enjoy hanging at his pants leg when he arrives home, this means they hang out in the room with our son.
Burning The Midnight Oil
Once the kids are off to bed, my husband and I are still up. We catch up on other stuff that is more serious and fun. We discuss adulting, business, gossip and we talk. It is also during this time, I send emails, I do a lot of research (because I can't when the babies are awake too much) and I work on finishing touches for blog posts as well. Although it's late, this is the time I am the most productive and uninterrupted. It works for me.
Cleaning is hard mamas. I am not an OCD person because it doesn't work for this season of life for me. I am more interested in raising children in a healthy environment and not one that is filled with OCD nuances. However, I am a stickler for a clean kitchen and family room. Now that I have teenagers (Insert bells, whistles and horns), the load has been lightened in many areas. My children do the dishes and clean the family room. Recently, I have started a new method which is cleaning while the baby is napping. Initially, this time was sucked up by doing my work stuff but I began to feel my time for cleaning had seemed to dissipate, so change was needed.
My husband LOVES to do laundry! However, I wash my own clothing (we use separate laundry baskets) and the girls wash their own clothes as well. This leaves my husband with linens, his clothing, our sons clothing and sometimes the babies. Here is the gag...he doesn’t fold them, instead he places them in laundry baskets. The girls and I gather the clean clothes and host a “folding party” where we fold clothes and watch some of our favorite reality TV shows. Again, this works for us.
What Doesn't Work
We are a pretty progressive(ish) family, we will try new things to see if it can fit in with our family. We do this because we are a large bunch and trying new methods is being progressive, there is always room to learn. With this, we have tried some things that just doesn't work.
Making one person responsible for one task daily. Nope. We have too many things happening and sometimes we need someone to step in to help. Besides trash though. That's my husbands wheelhouse.
Depending on others. Ouch. I know its a gut punch but we don't and we can't. We have tried and the results have been unfavorable. (BESIDES MY MOM SHE IS ALWAYS A SURE THING!)
Compiling all laundry and myself or my husband do it. NOPE. Didn't work.
Me washing dishes. Nope, I am on a sabbatical for a couple more years.
We do what meshes well with the rhythm to our lifestyle because it brings us the most peace. It's not a perfect melody though, trust me!
Not creating unrealistic expectations.
Not living vicariously through other families and households.
Now that you have gotten a glimpse into our world, I hope it makes you feel comfortable with how you keep things rolling in your house. The overall message here is do what works for your family. All households have various dynamics and its okay! Don't be afraid to adopt new methods to create the results you would like see. Whether you wash dishes or do laundry, just be happy and live intentional.