Hello There Beloved Houtz House Party People, my name is Noël and I blog over at Noelsbeautifulife.
I'm so honored and excited to be with you all today, and I would like to take this time to say thank you to Kelly for asking me to write about one of my favorite topics, family,kids,and household management.
I thought it might be nice for you all to know a bit more about me than my name before I jump right into our topic today. One thing I always want to know before I pick up any parenting book is if the author is in FACT a parent themselves, and so let me just tell you I AM in FACT a parent, 4 times over actually.
I am also a wife to a Giant man named Moses for almost 18 years now, and I have been a momma for almost 15 years now. Our Fab 4 amazing children; Emma 14, Chloe, 12, Solomon 11, and Isaiah 8, well they are the bomb diggity and keep us both so very busy, but we wouldn't want it any other way. In fact children are what I went to school for. That's right, I also have my Early Childhood Education degree and taught Pre K for many years before retiring just last year.
So some might say, I should be an expert in this topic of household management, that Kelly asked me to write about today, but sadly I do not execute, a perfectly managed household on a 24/7 basis. I mean, Who Does? I do however try my best. I know that each family is dynamically different and that what might work for some, would never work for others. That being said I'm excited to share with you a typical day in the life of my house with teens and tweens, in hopes that maybe some of the things we have come up with will help work for you.
Let's start with when my kids were lils. I am a very pro-independence momma. By that I mean, as soon as I could get my kids to tie their own shoes or wipe their own butts I was on it!! That might sound harsh to some, but I think this approach came about from a lot of years of teaching children whose mommas did everything for them, and when they finally got to stand on their own two feet it was a wobbly experience. I knew when I had children of my own I would want them to be fully prepared to enter this world with all the life tools I could place in their box.I'm pretty sure that is the goal of every parent, right? Or, at least it should be. But, many times that meant that the shoe laces weren't perfect, or the outfit they picked out was a scary version of Punky Brewster(please tell me you young mommas know who that is so I don't feel so OLD) or maybe the hair on their head wasn't so adorable, but HEY they did it themselves!! And that was what was so important. The value for self accomplished tasks cannot be overrated with little ones. They fight you on it around every corner anyways, so where I could say yes I would.
Ya, know within reason. I wasn't going to let them slice up an apple with a sharp knife just because they wanted to. With safety always first and a whole lotta of patience and extra time though, I would try as much as I could to let them learn by trial and error.
What really helped in this was having a chore chart. I bought these chore charts from a company called Accountable Kids, but I'm sure once you got the idea a homemade one, it could be easily reproduced.
These charts came in the form of pegs with little cards on each one and every hour or half hour had a task. As they accomplished each task they got to turn over each card. In the morning it looked like this, Make Bed, Eat Breakfast, Get Dressed, Brush Teeth, and so and so forth.
When they did all of their chores and without having to be reminded or redirected at the end of the day they would earn a star, and at the end of every week if they had earned 7 stars they would get to choose a special date with someone they loved. This was my favorite part about this program, because it wasn't a materialistic item that they won, but rather a memory made with another person.
We still have these cards and recently we were looking back on the dates that each of the kids chose to go on and with WHO they chose to go on them with. We were laughing and reminiscing about the fact that these chores were not something they begrudgingly did, but rather something they looked forward to because they knew at the end of the week a special date was waiting for them.
Now, that my kids are much older in the mornings I have 3 different schedules going so our mornings can be quite hectic, but because the kids are all now so independent and mostly very responsible it runs like a well oiled machine. My girls set their own alarm and are up first. Remember the time when you were in HS and JR. High and could spend 2 hours primping each morning?Yep, that's them. Oh to be young again.
Here's what those 3 schedules look like;
I take my oldest to her bus stop at 6:50 and then get my second oldest to her stop by 7:20. I don't wake my boys until 7:30 when I return from dropping off the second cab ride ;). The boys then don't have to be at their bus stop until 8:20 so that gives me some breathing room. Now, a rule I established early on was no T.V. or technology in the mornings because it's just too distracting and really not necessary. And I also have the kids do their own dishes, but now that I am home I tell them to at least bring the dish to the sink and I can get it later. From the time they were little they cleared their plates and brought them to the sink so this is nothing new. Yes, there was many a broken dish because of this rule but now I have very thoughtful kids who show off well at dinner parties ;) wink wink!!
We have lunch bags on the counter the night before and backpacks go right by the door once homework is done the afternoon before. It helps them to know where everything is in the morning. I'm pro-independence remember so they all make their own lunches, even my 8 year old. Now... this doesn't mean that he gets to put in chocolate pudding snack packs and string cheese and call it good. They have options to choose from, and always have to have 1 fruit, 1 veggie, a sandwich and something to drink. But, they do all make their own lunches. I used to have snack backs of veggies and fruit chopped and ready in the fridge when they were little but now they can all do that themselves.
That is our morning schedule.
Once they are out the door for the day I come home and clean up anything that might have been missed. OH cleaning!! That brings me to another thing I do that I think has helped me stay sane all these years of being a stay at home momma. On the weekends when everyone is off duty, so AM I!! That means I don't mop, sweep, wipe down, deep clean ANYTHING on the weekends(unless of course Barely our Yellow lab makes a big mess on the floor.. Eek!) I take the weekends off. This has helped me so much to not constantly feel on duty. But I must warn you if you implement this one that Monday mornings can be quite the doozy for a work day. I just figured that I would rather relax and enjoy on the weekends and pay for that relaxing and enjoying come Monday morning. And I do pay. Fortunately, I am now able to get all my deep cleaning done on Monday, because my kids are all in school, but when they were little I would choose one area a day in the house to clean while they were napping or having quiet time in the afternoon. Kitchen-Monday, Bathroom-Tuesday and so on and so forth.
Our evening schedule is really different each day now because my girls have Choir, Volleyball, Youth Worship Team, Hip Hop, etc.. and my boys have Baseball, Band, and Student Council Meetings so it gets pretty crazy.
I try to keep snacks in the car and then there is no technology in our house until all homework is done, and rooms are clean.
Can you tell that I have a no technology theme going on here?
That schedule is what it looks like now, but
I remember when they were little the hours from when they woke from naps until Moses would get home sometimes would seem the longest. I mean, I remember all too well how a beautiful, perfect day with the kids could all fall apart the half hour before Mo got home and I would look like the frazzled crazy lady who I swore I would never be by the time my honey stepped inside.
I feel your pain mommas, I do.
But on a good day I would try to plan ahead with dinners. While they were napping if I had time after cleaning I would prep for dinner and also make sure I had some idea of busy work ready for them like coloring or stickers that would keep them occupied while I tried to make a nice dinner.
Often times though, no matter how well I prepped for the future my best laid plans could go to waste with a cranky teething baby who just needed to be held. Or a sneaky toddler who decided to color on the walls. Trust me, I remember oh so well how hard it would seem to organize and STAY organized, but hang in there mommas of lils, it does get easier. Really, the busy just turns into taxi cab driving your kids all over Tim-Buck-Two and when you finally get to clock out at 9 o'clock you do get a solid 8 before it all starts again. Well, that is if you go to bed when they do but...Psh... I'm a blogger that NEVER happens!!
I sure do hope something of a Day in My Life as a Momma was helpful to you, and thank you so much for sharing this time with me.