4 Moms Q&A

4moms35kids 4 Moms Q&A

When time is short and you know you can’t get it all done, what things are at the top of your list? What’s the most important things in your day/week?

My mantra each morning is, “Jobs, Bible, School!”  I don’t usually command breakfast because I know it will happen.  I concern myself more with the items that are important but prone to procrastination.  Basically, we have a flexible schedule that focuses more on the order of operation than the time of day, and these are the items at the top of the list for us.

Things that can wait on busy days: deep cleaning, decluttering, school subjects outside the 3 R’s, projects of any sort, baking sweets.  Well, except brownies.  Those are on my list of priorities, especially on a busy day.


How do you deal with lying when there is no hard proof of who didn’t it, though you strongly suspect who did it?

When there is no hard proof, I follow the Biblical rule that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses a thing is confirmed.” [Deut. 19:15, I Cor. 13:1] If we don’t have witnesses, we don’t have a conviction, i.e. no punishment.  But if I have strong suspicions, I will often have a private word with the suspect, choosing my words carefully to avoid the possibility of false accusations.  I say something like, “You know that we have no witnesses to tell us what happened, but God knows.  If you didn’t do it, I’m very glad.  If you did, you need to confess because the Bible says that a hidden sin eats away at us, and God hates lying lips.  We should be more afraid of displeasing God, who knows all of our sins, than of confessing that sin.”

After that, I don’t stress about it.  I have a feeling that too often accusing a child of lying without solid proof can discourage them and leave them feeling that they might as well lie, since they are already thought of as a liar.  I have also learned that when a child begins to lie, he/she will keep it up until the sin is caught and dealt with.  You’ll have another chance, so just keep both eyes open and you will soon have another opportunity to instruct.

At what age do you start talking with your girls about puberty/periods etc and how do you do it?! (my 3 year old already notices sometimes when i’m using sanitary pads, given that i’m rarely able to go to the loo by myself!)

Of course this depends a lot on your own comfort level with the subject, but I’m very open with our children about puberty and sex.  If our kids are old enough to ask questions, I just try to give them answers they will understand.  I usually try to not to volunteer a lot of extra information and unnecessary details, being careful to answer only the specific question.  We have 5 teens now – one of them married – and this approach seems to have worked very well for our family.

Shoes!! How do you store every day shoes?

Ditto on the shoes! I have just two little ones (a toddler and a newborn) but shoes seem to take over!

With the younger children, I try not to have too many pairs.  I know wee little shoes are adorable, but somehow the more shoes your child owns the harder it is to find two that match!  When we nothing but littles they usually had just two pairs: dress shoes and play shoes.  Now that I have more help, we can handle a little more: church, sneakers, sandals or flip flops.  This is Texas, so they like to have boots too. 🙂

As they get old enough to take care of their own shoes, the collection tends to expand.  Our new house has built-in shoe racks in each closet, which helps immensely with storage.

Once they are old enough to buy their own shoes, all bets are off.  Some of my teens owned over 20 pairs of shoes at one time, though most try to keep their collections a little more manageable.

Laundry : what are the logistics of getting it done and back in the closet/drawer? We don’t have a family closet and only 1 ‘big’ to help with this task (with the excepting of putting away, which they all help with )….. thank you !!!

I would love to hear how other big families handle laundry!  We are always tinkering with our laundry system, but here is what works for us right now:  Everyone is responsible to get their laundry to the laundry room, where they sort it into either the Light/White bin or the Dark/Bright bin.  Then one person is responsible to wash/dry 2-3 loads each day, sorting clean laundry into baskets as it comes out of the dryer.  Clean laundry is sorted by bedroom, so it’s just 4 baskets plus one for linens.  Then the residents of each bedroom sort and put away their own clothes from their room’s basket.  Each of the younger children has an older one assigned to help make sure laundry is put away properly, but they do most of the work themselves.

How do you teach your 2yr old to obey the first time every time and how long does it take? Mine has started throwing fits and when I tell him to do something he says “It’s FINE!” or “No”. He obeys when I move but not before I do.

We teach by requiring first time obedience, every time.  The key is consistency.  If you want your little one to obey the first time, you need to correct each time he waits.  If he doesn’t get corrected when waits for you to move, then he’ll keep waiting.  It is human nature to test the boundaries, and if he has learned that you don’t really mean it until you move, then that is when he will obey.  If my 2yo waits until he sees me heading his way and then obeys, I still correct and say, “No, you didn’t obey quickly.”  Sometimes it’s helpful to do a quick replay.  It may feel a little silly to you, but tell him “Let’s try again so you can obey quickly.”  Then go back to where you were and repeat your command.  This helps him to be very clear in his mind about what is acceptable and what is not, and gives you the opportunity to praise him for obeying promptly.

Verbally refusing to obey is an instant swat in our house, so it almost never happens.  I often say something like, “God tells you to obey your parents.  Did you obey?  God says I have to swat you when you disobey, and I’m going to obey God because I love God and I love you.”

Throwing fits is never acceptable in our house.  I correct with a firm swat and say, “No, you obey happily.”  If he doesn’t calm down right away, you might want to put him in his bed until he is done so he doesn’t have an audience.  If your little guy is already in the habit of throwing fits, it may take a while to break the habit, just as it can take an an adult with a bad temper some time to learn to manage his temper.

You might not be comfortable swatting a 2yo, but regardless of how you discipline or correct him, the more consistent you are the sooner he’ll believe you mean it.

It may sound like we give a lot of spankings, but that’s not true at all.  Generally speaking the more consistent you are, the less often your children will need them and they are relatively rare in our house.  When I find myself having to discipline more often, the first question I ask is, “Have I been less consistent lately?”  Inconsistency and letting bad behavior slide produce unpleasant children who test every boundary far too often, because they have learned that the standard is different from day to day and hour to hour.  Our children are far from perfect, but they are usually pleasant and well-behaved, and I think this is largely because we have worked hard to consistently train them to God’s standard over the years.

How would you answer the questions above?

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  1. Elizabeth says:

    Great idea about sorting/folding laundry into separate baskets for each room. Totally going to start doing that. Usually I make them put away anyway, but I love the basket separation.

    AND…. I completely agree about a child who may have started a habit of lying… if you don’t catch them the first time, you WILL have another time(s) to address this issue if you can’t prove one time. I remind kids that God loves them too much to allow them to continue into sin.

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