Wednesday, 26 October 2011
In the eye of Hurricane Life
Life keeps going by at a dizzying speed. Clean, school, cook, activities, making time for husband & each child, reading -it’s a hurricane, but one I am slowly learning to manage. I am The Queen of Unfulfilled Schedules. I don’t know how many chore, allowance, homeschool or other types of charts, schedules & Excel spreadsheets I have made in the past few years. I want something that works, so I am constantly improving, seeing what doesn’t work, what does & trying to make those changes. Unfortunately that makes for a lot of failed attempts. Although I have tried quite a few good ideas, I have found that their doom lies in the inconsistency I get sleep-wise. Now that Jana is 19 mos. & sleeping through the night, I feel like I am finally making headway & able to try again –for real this time :)
My biggest challenge has always been keeping things clean. This is compounded by living in 40yr. old house (that has been under constant renovation since we moved in 5 years ago), having 1 decrepit bathroom that never looks like you clean it even if you do & the fact that I really wasn’t taught how to keep house in my younger years. Keep house?? What, are you from the 40’s? Well no -maybe the title of Home Manager sounds a little more modern -& applicable too. I recently read the book “Large Family Logistics” by Kim Brenneman. Although I disagree with some of what she has said, I have found a lot of wisdom in this book. One of the things said that struck me was that during the launch of the feminine movement women were so busy exploring their new freedoms that they never learned how to do the basics –keep a household running smoothly, particularly with a large family. I tend to think that there is an element of truth to this. Mind you a lot more women work outside the home now, therefore creating a whole new dynamic in the division of labour & expectations. That being said, I also know a number of women who really do seem to be on the ball and have a handle on the whole home management thing. I know for myself, I feel like I am forever playing a loosing game of whack-a-mole. My goal isn’t to have a clean house all the time or laundry that’s ironed to a tee or bookshelves that are dust free. My goals lie in what having a house that is somewhat managed allow me to do –it frees me of some stress, wasting time, bugging my kids & husband to do things, allows me to have people over more frequently & hopefully get out of the house more often! I also hope it serves in an unspoken way to let my husband know I love him & appreciate how he gets up early every morning and busts his tail at work for us as well as to give him a place he can relax..
Back to the book. I have been roughly what Kim Brenneman suggests, but in her book she just defined things for me. She assigns each day a major task, breaking it down into manageable little tasks. Sounds simple. It really worked for me thus far –all of 3 days! The key is not to get distracted, something I think we all struggle with. It’s been good, because being wired to be task oriented as I am I am so busy trying to check off this list that I don’t have time to spend checking my emails excessively, or FB-ing or even snacking….
The way I tend to implement things in our home is that I have an expectation that everyone will be involved, I have a plan of attack so to speak & I delegate & talk with both the kids and John about things (You can see on the chore list below there are things even Ally -5- can do). It’s unreasonable to expect that I alone will be responsible for everything. I have also found meal planning (particularly crockpots!) SO helpful & cost effective. Menu planning as well. I know a lot of these things are common, but they really do work!
Something else that this book hit home with was the way I interact and teach my kids. Is my short words, my temper honoring to God & my family? If I am lazy, slovenly or disrespectful to my kids or their dad they will see that & emulate that behaviour. Well, the book doesn’t actually say that but it got me thinking Most of the time, no. I really got off track with teaching them, my goals need to be character development primarily, knowledge second.
It was really motivating to hear that she can get all her kids up & going & helping! Surely I can do it with mine! As a Christian women, I recognize that my husband is the leader in our household (although we are equals) but just as important is that I am a leader in the area of home management; of my kids during the day, of finances, of things getting done. I set the tone for the day & when he gets home. In the past week and a half I've started getting up early with John so I can be properly prepared for the day and am finding it's making a huge difference. Anyways, it is Wednesday, & I started on Monday, so we’ll see how things go for the next couple of weeks!
Here are some of websites that I have found to be resourceful in a number of areas: