Funny how that happens. The more life changes – the more curve balls it throws at you, the more things seem to just settle into a routine. A couple of weeks ago, our life was upset when Emily, Shane’s second eldest daughter, decided what she wanted was more important than her family and left our house. I’ll admit she did a lot around the house, but that was due to her volunteering – her putting on a face so we wouldn’t suspect her true feelings. And honestly, who would turn down a child volunteering to help out with stuff? Maybe a toddler but a teen? Very few I bet.
So due to all that she helped with, one might think that life was suddenly horrendously upset and everyone was put upon to cover her work. Surprisingly this just hasn’t been the case. It’s run a lot smoother, less fighting, quieter, more productive, just in general, awesome.
A glimpse into our daily lives may help illustrate my point.
Mondays are chore day. I really dislike having to do chores during the week so I try and get EVERYTHING done on Mondays. At least as much as can humanly be expected. I wake up at 6, same as every morning. Knowing it’s Monday and I have a full schedule, I make myself pop out of bed as soon as my alarm goes off, no matter how much or little sleep I got the night before.
I go to the bathroom and do most of the bathroom clean up while I’m in there. I get dressed, brush my hair, put on my makeup, then I windex the mirror, clean the counters, clean the toilet, and pop the towels and wash rags into the hamper. All in all this takes me less than ten minutes. Then I rouse Shane out of bed (usually Luke and/or Mark is helping me with this at this point as they often wake up while I’m getting ready in the morning). Sometimes it takes a while but lately he’s been helping me out by rousing himself out of bed fairly soon. This is a good thing because as soon as he gets up I strip the bedsheets off because I wash our sheets, and the crib sheets once a week. I head out to the mudroom, get the second set of sheets and pillow cases and quickly make the bed. Then I put the sheets, and all the items from my hamper into the laundry and start it if it’s full, or get the boys up and get them to bring me their clothes. Sometimes the girls bring their hamper downstairs at night for me and sometimes Matthew sets his laundry bag in the laundry room for me to toss in. When there’s room I put as many clothes and diapers in as possible. Since I skip laundry on Sunday, and kids are really bad about bringing me laundry until their hampers and bags are overflowing, I’m usually caught up with my one-load-a-day laundry routine by Wednesday. It works out though because they’re also really bad about folding up clothes and usually only do it once or twice a week even though they’re supposed to do it every day. Ah well, not a fight I care to pick these days unless I’m actually out of clothes.
After laundry is started I go back to my room and get my trashbag from my bathroom and toss it in the mud room bathroom. Usually one of the boys likes to go get a new grocery sack for my trashcan so I task whoever is up and in my room with that job, to which they almost without fail, eagerly hop to.
So by this time it’s about 6:30, and all of my bedroom chores for the morning are done. In fact, by this point, the only weekly cleaning left in my room is cleaning my bathtub, vacuuming my room, and vacuuming and mopping my bathroom. Then the master bedroom and bathroom are both done.
Sometimes (more often than not), I change Luke and Mark’s diaper at this point and try to get them dressed. Granted, on Mondays I don’t always do that. This morning, I just changed Luke’s diaper because he was really wet but I didn’t put a cover on him and I didn’t get him dressed so that they would notice he was wet this morning after breakfast and change him with baby powder and the whole nine yards. He has a bit of a rash going on this morning so I didn’t want to leave him wet but I didn’t have time to hunt down the baby powder either. Compromise is the name of my game.
So with the master bedroom done, laundry going, and kids dressed and/or diapered, I grab up Luke, my windows tablet and mouse, my android tablet, my purse, and, depending on weather, my jacket, and call Mark up behind me to head upstairs to the kitchen. I deposit Luke in his high chair and if I can find one nearby, give him a toy to play with. I put Mark in his high chair and give him a coloring sheet and markers so he can get started on school. I quickly scurry over to the girls’ rooms and flip their lights on and rouse them up. Then I go into the kitchen, pop a bagel into the toaster (my breakfast of choice most mornings), and get the kids breakfast started.
On Monday mornings, I sometimes do a bit of my weekly chores. For example this morning, I started the oven on its self clean cycle, I windexed the coffee maker down real quick and started to prep coffee (Shane got up there before I finished so he took over), and I windexed the trash can lid. Why kids can’t seem to avoid throwing food and nastiness on the lid is beyond me but I clean it every week. Then I sit down to work with kids on school. I know the boys won’t take very long at all so I quickly scan OneNote and print off whatever worksheets they have that morning.
Usually at this point Sierra is up so I get her started with something independent – a handwriting sheet, an audio book she’s supposed to listen to, perhaps XtraMath, whatever works for that morning. I get Jordan started on a handwriting sheet too and let David use the Windows tablet to do his math. I alternate then to the boys Easy Peasy school which usually only takes 5-10 minutes or longer if there’s a craft like there was this morning. Luckily it’s not stuff I have to hover for so I can work with the others while they’re doing crafts.
After a coloring sheet and Easy Peasy, Mark is done and he and Luke get breakfast at their high chairs. When David finishes his math and Easy Peasy, he, too, gets breakfast because his only remaining subject is Bible which I read to Sierra, Jordan, and David while they eat breakfast. Jordan finishes up his Xtra Math and math assignment if he didn’t get a chance to before and then he gets to eat and I read Bible to them. By this time it’s pretty close to 7:30 and Shane has given me a cup of coffee which I drank while doing school with the kids, he’s gathered my lunch box (prepped the day before) and my breastmilk pump bag and finished putting cream cheese on my bagel and packing it for work and set it aside for me to grab. I kiss all the kiddos and zoom off to work. Takes me about ten minutes or so to get to work so I’m there between 7:30 and 7:45 most mornings depending on when I actually make it out the door and how weather and traffic are.
While I’m at work I make myself available to my kids for answering questions about their assignments (this is just Lilly and Matthew since Sierra doesn’t yet have social media rights and the boys are already done with school by this point). I also am trying to get them caught up by pushing them with assignments because they got a bit behind when Emily was here and I wasn’t as directly running things (see another good thing about her not being here. By me HAVING to run things I’m back where I want to be – in the know with what is being done and what the quality of the work is. I felt like I was running blind when she was “helping” even if it did free up time for me.)
I get my “desk work” weekly chores done too on Mondays throughout the day, if I am able to. Do a quick meal plan, prep the baking list, quickly get the kids school work planned for the next week, etc. Having a cell phone really helps out in this regard because I can get my work done while on the go. Anyways it doesn’t take me too long and then the best part is that while this may be a gray area, once it’s done I am totally focused to getting my work done and I really think I do more work this way because I’m not distracted by a seemingly endless to do list when I get home. I justify it to myself by saying sometimes people take smoke breaks and people are ok with that. Sometimes people converse at the coffee pot and people are ok with that. So I work like a maniac and get my home stuff done on my “breaks”. It eliminates the “I’m too exhausted to think” factor for me. Perhaps this isn’t an option for everyone, but I really work more efficiently when I’m able to mark off a bunch of stuff from my to-do list. And when there is literally nothing left to do except chores I must be there for, I am able to separate myself from that and focus on my actual work.
I work through lunch and assuming I have no appointments, I’m off work by 3:30-3:45 depending on my arrival time. Sometimes if I’m in the middle of something I work a little later to try and finish my train of thought, but I try not to do this on Mondays so I can get my “cleaning frenzy” done after work and before dinner.
So I’m usually home by 4, 4:30 at the latest. I walk in the door, and head upstairs. I put up my bags, empty out the milk and my lunch dishes and get dinner started while simultaneously making lunch. Sometimes on Mondays I also get started windexing the appliances upstairs, but this depends on whether or not Luke is awake and crying or not. If he’s crying I really just try and get my lunch made but I’ve been known to delegate that if it sounds too desperate. Ideally I get my lunch made for the next day, dinner started, and I am able to windex the fridge, cabinets, counters, microwave, and dishwasher. I like to try and windex the stove too but I sometimes forget to get it done before I turn on the stove to get dinner made so sometimes I delegate that to Matthew, and while I know he doesn’t windex it I pretend he does so I can mark it off my list. I do windex the parts that aren’t hot though.
I usually only spend about twenty minutes tops upstairs getting stuff done, less on days that aren’t Monday! So I head downstairs, grab Luke if he’s made his way upstairs, or if he’s down in the den crying, and take him to the room with me. I set him down (which he often cries when I do so but I know he’ll be ok shortly). Then I quickly change out of my work clothes and set my clothes out for the next day. I put my purse up and plug up my phone. All in all this takes me less than five minutes. Usually by 4:30-4:45 I’m able to spend a few minutes with Luke, nursing him, connecting with him, and comforting him with some much needed Mommy time. A lot of times at this point, too, Mark, Jordan, and David, and sometimes Sierra and Lilly come in and hang out with me around this time. On Mondays I usually send them out to go clean their rooms. The boys are responsible for picking their room so I can vacuum as well as getting any sheets and pillowcases into the laundry hamper for washing. The girls are responsible for their individual bedrooms, picking them up, sweeping or vacuuming (they have hardwood floors), and swiffer mopping their rooms. Lilly is also responsible for cleaning the girls’ bathroom and Matthew is responsible for cleaning the boys’ bathroom. They are also supposed to change out sheets and pillow cases. We’re kind of low on those things in the household right now so a lot of that gets bypassed but it’s in the plan to get more sheets and such finances permitting. I think it’s important.
After a few minutes, Luke will either pass out because he really needed a nap, or he’ll be in a good mood again and wanting to play. At this point I get up and begin my downstairs cleaning frenzy. “Boys clean up your room I’m almost there” is a mantra I repeat throughout the tasks. I vacuum my room and bathroom, then the den and mudroom. Usually the boys still aren’t done picking up their room by this point so with Shane threatening to spank them if they don’t stop playing, I take this time to swap laundry over to the dryer and windex the appliances and counters in the mudroom – the washer and dryer (changing the lint filter and emptying my lint bucket first), the deep freeze, the counter, and the trash can lid. Then I mop my bathroom and the mudroom.
At this point it’s about fifty fifty. Sometimes the boys are done cleaning sometimes not. So I might check on dinner, and then vacuum their room, or the stairs, but usually I sew my nine squares for the week. I’m slowly working on a king size quilt for our bed because ours is falling apart. It’s my first quilt and I picked a monumental project for the first quilting project ever. I have to sew an 8′ by 8′ square top and my squares are all 3″ x 3″… so it’s taking a bit of time. I’ve done a lot already but I’ve probably been working on it for a year or close to it now. I’ve got all the pieces cut out (I calculated I’d need 1024 squares!) and I’ve sewn up a lot of them. Each week my pile of squares gets a little smaller. I could probably find time to do more and get the quilt done faster but to me, slow and steady is good. I like doing little tiny pieces of a project at a time, even if it means I’m working on ten projects at once. Keeps me from getting bored.
After this the boys FINALLY have their room clean, often after a threat of not getting dinner until they finish picking it up. Being very food-motivated boys, this tends to get the fire going under them. I vacuum their room, and then up the stairs and the landing, up the second stairs (yay split level houses!) and then the top carpeted landing. A quick vacuum over the dining room and kitchen and I’m done vacuuming. It’s usually 5:30 or closer to 6 by now, just depending on interruptions and I’m starting to feel the anxiety of needing dinner on the table but not being done with my chores. I get dinner on its last stages and straighten up the school shelves. I finish any kitchen windexing I didn’t get done and I give the chairs and high chairs a good scrub down. At this point the only job left is mopping the kitchen and dining room and often I delegate that though this week I think I shall have to do it because the floors have been getting kind of gross which tells me kiddies haven’t been doing a job up to snuff. I could fight about it but I’d rather just do it myself this week so I don’t feel like stabbing myself in the eye when I walk on the floor (I have sensitivity issues related to touch lol…)
Dinner is on the table by 7 at the latest, usually between 6 and 6:30 though, sometimes earlier on non-Mondays. So we eat dinner in our nicely cleaned house, and Lilly and Matthew are responsible for after-dinner cleanup.
Normally after work I help Sierra finish up her school, but on Mondays I do what I can after dinner and then catch up the rest on Tuesday (sometimes Wednesday if we were really having issues getting done). By Friday she’s always caught up, and very rarely ever has any more work to do.
After dinner we get kids in the shower, one after the other, then teeth brushing, and kids in bed by 8. Luke usually conks out between 6 and 8 for the night so he doesn’t always make it to the dinner table. Just depends on the flow of the day. I try and get him to stay up for dinner but it doesn’t always work out. I kind of have to go with the flow on that one.
After kids are in bed (mostly after Luke is asleep), I get a quick bath, and then after all kids are in bed, Shane and I watch TV (or eventually we will be playing computer games together when we are able to get some gaming computers for ourselves! It’s in the plan!), and I work on crafts. Right now I’m working on making all the kids Christmas stockings. I had a crocheted granny squares Christmas stocking growing up and I loved it. I loved it much more than the store-bought “traditional” stockings so I’m making my kids a handmade stocking each so they, too, can have that feeling. I have assigned myself one a week to do and they really don’t take too long. Just sixteen granny squares put together.
And that is a look into my life during the week – mostly Mondays lol. The rest of the week is very similar but minus the chores so there’s more time to work with Sierra on school, doctors appointments if necessary, being lazy lol… More time for crafts and gaming and tv too! I try to be in bed by 10 but sometimes I’m up until almost midnight. While six hours of sleep isn’t enough, even eight isn’t enough but I just can’t get into bed by 9 and still get everything I need to get done finished so I muscle through sleep deprivation during the week and catch up on the weekends with sleeping late and napping. It’s another one of those compromise areas. I evaluated what was important to me (having a tidy house, homeschooling my kids, making them things etc) and I adjusted things and made sacrifices to make it happen. I sacrifice “me time”, exercise time, and sleep in order to get all this done but I think it’s ok… this is just a phase of life. It will eventually calm down and then I’ll have plenty of time to get these other things done.
The main theme of my week is to work like the busy ant and then have Sundays to rest. I still do crafts on Sunday but not work-intensive. And once I get a gaming laptop it will probably be goofing off playing games on Sunday instead lol. It’s just I need something to do with my hands while watching tv…. lol. It’s hard for me to JUST watch tv. I very rarely do JUST watch.
It’s a busy life, but it’s a very very satisfying one.