Here’s a fun fact. D and I had 12 out of 13 kids living at home 2.5 years ago. I was changing the chore wheel this morning which I do every Monday. I fill in and do any chores of kids who aren’t here and I realized I’m doing far more than the kids are doing. We’ve had a couple kids graduate high school, a couple move out and that seeming trickle of kids leaving is quickly resembling white water rapids. I looked at the names of our kids – 10 on the wheel – and realized by February-ish of next year – just six months away – we’ll be down to 4 kids and one part time. Continue reading
I’ve used a chore wheel for years. I wanted my kids to learn how to do everything chore related so when they moved out on their own, they’d know what to do. How to cook, how to clean, how to fix things, how to live on their own without depending on someone to help them. Continue reading
My house used to be spotless. Every drawer and closet was meticulously organized. You could eat off my toilet if you wanted although I hope you wouldn’t because then we couldn’t be friends…. I brought a lot of my clothes to the dry cleaner because they press them and I HATE to iron… Then I had kids.
I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone elses. But I had to let some things go and I had to get really good at some things. We have a chore wheel. Plus everyone has one trash to empty and one bathroom chore. The girls and boys each have their own bathroom and I “oversee” them. Other rules are picking up after yourself and picking up the bedrooms. THIS is where I’ve had to let things go….
I want the kids to do their best knowing that’s not the same as my best. I usually help them out with chores and picking up (because it’s more fun to do it together and then it gets done) and I know that there’s a good possibility I’ll have to do some follow up. I don’t do this in front of them or in a belittling way. I’d be an idiot if I expected a 9 year old to clean something the way I do. Plus the chore wheel isn’t to get things spotless, it’s to teach the kids skills they will use when they’re on their own. From the actual chore to skills like working as a team, sharing responsibility, having priorities, taking care of items, etc… So, my house is no longer spotless. I’d have no life with my family and no time to run if I kept it up the way I used to. So I let it go. This is still hard for me since I love order. It’s one thing I can control. My husband has taught me that it will be there waiting for me so sometimes I’ll hike the dogs first or watch a TV show. Other times I absolutely can’t relax until things get done. But I at least attempt to be balanced.
I’ve been asked with such a large family how we afford nice clothes, shoes, etc… Couple ways. Ebay, Amazon and Craigslist help with that. I’m never too prideful to accept donations from friends of clothes, etc… We hit second hand stores first to find things and I almost never buy anything that isn’t on sale. I feel better recycling items than buying new. Big 5 is where most running shoes are purchased. I don’t take all the kids at once to do clothes and shoe shopping because that would be a hefty bill. I try to rotate who needs what and get things as they come up so it’s not so overwhelming.
It’s not a punishment for the kids to get rid of things. Sometimes they have too much (stuffed animals???!!!), they’ve outgrown the age appropriateness or it’s just time to move it on. Every September I participate in Haircuts for the Homeless at a local park. The kids and I go through all the clothes and toys and bring them so less fortunate families can get things for free. The kids spend the day with me shile I’m cutting hair and will see a doll or toy they donated light up the face of another child. SO worth it.
Something else I had to let go. My kids dressing themselves. I thought it would be great to have a pin that says, “I dressed myself today” so people didn’t think I was an idiot. One rule I have is “If it isn’t physically or morally harmful, let it go.” If it’s not harming the child but it bugs me that’s my problem. I own it and move on.
I’ve gotten good at finding good deals, waiting for things I want. Prioritizing. Sifting through second hand stores and recycling. This week I attacked my own closet and dressers. Rule of thumb is Spring and Fall I go through all shoes, clothes and toys. Once a year I reorganize the kitchen and miscellaneous closets, laundry room, etc… I’ll get things given to me that I like but maybe don’t look great on. Having kids the same size as I am means we pass things back and forth. I love putting together outfits, love looking my best, love fashion. After a while things just accumulate. So I purged. The kids were right there with me checking out what I was getting rid of to see if it was anything they wanted. Some things I let them keep, a lot I didn’t. Don’t keep it just to keep it. If you’re not using it, you’re a pack rat. Have fewer items that are better quality and used regularly. I got rid of five 13 gallon bags from my bedroom. Since the purge, I’ve gone back a few times and picked out an item here and there to add to the pile. Then I make a list of things I don’t have that I’d like (none right now! Yay!) because some things just wear out.
Now, since it’s Saturday and I’m done on the computer I’m going to start cleaning up the house.