Right now, all our normal schedules have gone out the door. We are adapting to a new normal. At least until things change again. In our household, between 3 teens, a child in elementary school and a newborn on the way, things can be quite busy. Then add in a mom who works full time, a dad who works full time on a different shift and 2 grandparents who also work full time and who have been living with us for about a year and a half.
Some have large families that may be busier than we are and may look at our life as something that is a piece of cake to manage. Some may not be nearly as busy, or not have as many children and may be thinking “What a nightmare”. Others may just be curious as to what we do to manage our home. In today’s post, I’m going to share with you 5 Ways I Manage My Growing Household. Many of you may already use all 5 ways, some, or none at all. I am sharing these with the hopes that this will help your family in some way. At the end of today’s post, I have modified the 5 ways we are able to manage as a family during this new season of quarantine. Let’s get started!
These are our best friend when scheduling our weeks in advance. We are not perfect in using the calendar by any means, but this has been the one thing that brings us some sense of knowing what’s ahead. We start by entering the activities we do on a weekly basis. For example, church, volunteering, date nights, family nights, sports, Bible studies, etc. Then we schedule nights or days out with friends, kids and their friends, and any other activities, meetings, or major events that don’t happen as often.
I would like to say that we are perfect at it and schedule months in advance, but we aren’t. We will schedule one week; two weeks if we are ahead. We currently use our Family Sharing plan on our iPhones to link our calendars. This allows everyone in the family to see what’s going on or coming up. Prior to this, I used a printable calendar or created one in Excel with more space to write events in and posted in a common area. We updated as needed, but that would begin to look like a mess. Therefore we have decided to stick with the calendars on our phone.
Setting schedules and sticking to them is so helpful with multiple people in the home. When our teenagers were 2, 1 and a newborn, I didn’t even have the concept of schedules down. I was a young mom who was not prepared for three kids under two years old. I look back and think, “How did I even manage?” Now I know how important it is for myself and for my family that we have a schedule. Now with 4 kids and soon to be 5, giving myself or my family, a good block or window of time helps us to stay on track without feeling so stressed. We may still have set times that we need to be at events, and we stick to those. Other things may not go exactly as planned, so having a goal with a block of time helps. It gives us some wiggle room to get those things done.
For seven years I was a stay-at-home mom. Because my kids were so little, I always did the chores around the house. Sure, I’d teach them some things here and there, but it never really bothered me to do them myself. Then there was a point when I went back to work full time, I would come home and be exhausted, try to cook, clean, help with homework and never had any downtime or time for myself. At some point I started to feel guilty about being a working mom. I didn’t want to put any burden on my children, until we were having a conversation one day and they didn’t know how to use a broom, mop and didn’t know how to dust. While most kids enjoy not having chores, they felt they were being cheated out of something. After that conversation, I realized that they would need these simple skills to be on their own someday and I hadn’t done a very good job of setting them up well for it, yet. My husband and I had discussed the responsibilities of our home and came up with a chore system that works for the whole family. Now that 3 of my 4 kids are teens, we all have different days with different responsibilities, including us parents. This has kept them motivated and I’m thankful for it. It has also given me some relief as a working mom. We feel good about a clean home, and we can enjoy our home and more family time together. See the example of our Family Chores list below.
Washing clothes for a family of 6 plus my parents who also live with us was extremely hectic back when my parents moved in last year. I was still doing all of my kids’ laundry (yes, teens and all) and all of mine and my husbands. Of course, my husband helped as well, but we both hate to fold laundry, so you can probably imagine the piles of clothes lying around waiting to be folded. Again, my husband and I sat down and assigned each of our kids their own day to wash their clothes, their towels and their bedding. They have each done an amazing job and keep up with it every week, especially because they know that if they don’t have clean clothes, it’s because they didn’t wash it. The best part is that their rooms even smell a whole lot better because they take pride in it! And thank God my husband and I no longer need to fold their clothes too! For an example of the Laundry Day schedule, see the Family Chores List above.
Rest days are not always easy to come by. It can be so easy to fill your days with things to do, until you start to feel the burnout. This was us. We would always say yes to everything and everyone for fear of either missing out or letting someone down. But then we started regretting saying yes to things because it would take all we had in us just to get out the door. We started looking at our calendars and scheduling “time off” from our regularly scheduled activities. If there was a family birthday in the household, we take that day or weekend off to celebrate. That helped us regain family time by relaxing or devoting time to activities that are building our relationships with one another.
So, now that the world has come to a screeching halt, how has this all changed or how do these things still apply for us? For one, calendars and schedules are still a big part of how we function. Working from home and homeschool is more intense with scheduling. Between Zoom meetings, online school, not enough devices (we finally had to check out laptops from the school), and having a husband who works a different shift, it’s quite the challenge. Household chores and laundry days have been much lighter these days. There are times between school and work where we will take a break and do chores or put in another load of laundry. Being done in the middle of the afternoon is great because we aren’t washing all day long. Rest days are easier now because we have so much more time to rest as a family, especially with the stay at home orders. However, my husband still works outside of the home. It’s very important to keep rest days clear for him because he works so hard to support our family. Although things have changed so drastically in the world around us, we have prioritized a part of our day to eat dinner together every night and do family devotions. We will keep this part of our new routine once things begin opening back up.
Hopefully you are already doing these 5 things in your home. If not, I hope you can implement using calendars, schedules, chores, laundry days and rest days into your daily lives. Our faith is our foundation. My hope is that you and your family’s faith, belief system, and energy, align for you and you can hold tight to that in this new season. Feel free to share the things that were helpful to you, what things you are already doing, and list any things that you think may be helpful to me and my family! I’m interested to hear what those things are too!