Ami said, I have six kids. When I had 2 kids I was good at it (school/read aloud/housecleaning/meals). When I had 4 kids I was capable. Now I am decidedly not.
I love my relationship with the Lord and truly glory in my weakness. I am so grateful that I am not in a performance based relationship with him But, here, in this flesh, on this earth, I have to get things done. And Jesus is not down here holding a crying one year old while I get dinner made And I don’t remember how to educate or make meals anymore. So my question is, How do I do it? How do you redeem your days? What about when you forget how you used to function?
I find myself in the same boat, and I also wonder about the whys and wherefores of the change. How did I go from reading whole series aloud, to reading so little that finishing a chapter book is cause for celebration? Who am I, and where did the old Kim go?
I used to create a meal plan every week without fail, and now I can’t seem to do it two weeks in a row. We did 6 subjects in school every day, and my house was generally clean. I read entire series of books aloud to my children. And I had 4, 5, or 6 little ones, with no help. What happened?
I think it really does get harder in some ways because as our children get older we are pulled in different directions. It’s harder to find a book that will appeal to everyone at once, and it’s harder to find the time to sit down and read – especially if what you are reading is not universally engrossing.
With 20 years of experience and several helpers, it’s easy enough to put off planning and just wing it when it comes to meals – even though planning would save time and money.
There are enough of us to clean up after the little ones, so they don’t have to learn to clean up after themselves.
And I’m not the 20-something I used to be. A sleepless baby can put me out of commission for most of the day.
How did I used to do it? How can I do it now? I can’t by my own strength, but I never could. Just like the old days, I do my best and ask for grace and peace about the things left undone. Or I don’t do my best, and ask forgiveness and help to do better tomorrow.
I ask my husband again about priorities so that we can be on the same page. I am blessed to have a husband who cares about lightening my burden, so he offers suggestions, pitches in to help, and rallies the troops. Maybe your husband will do this if he knows enough about your struggles?
From Tanya: We have a family of 10. And my laundry pile is huge! We have more clothes than we need but I am curious how much clothes, shoes, etc per person to keep. Do you have some sort of system for that? And do you get rid of clothing when there out grown or save it for a younger sibling?…at this point we are saving a lot but it doesn’t seem to get used by the next either because the seasons are different or their body sizes are different. Also getting the kids to help with chores etc is like pulling teeth any thoughts on that also?…thanks
I strongly suspect we have too many clothes, but we do work hard to stay right on top of the dirty laundry. I hate when the washer goes out and it becomes an instant crisis because we were already operating on the cusp of disaster!
One thing that makes a big difference for us is to keep all the dirty laundry in one place, where I can see it easily. If it’s out of sight, I forget about it entirely. If it’s divided into a separate hamper for each bedroom or each person, we can be 12 loads behind before we know it! When it’s all in one place right under my nose, “behind on laundry” means we have 3 or 4 loads to do.
Another thing that helps is not allowing the little ones to have free access to their clothes. Anyone young enough to enjoy a good game of dress-up is young enough to require supervision. When the 4yo needs fresh clothes, she has to ask first and have somebody watch her get them out of the drawer – so we know she isn’t emptying her drawers onto the floor searching for her very pair of underpants.
I pass clothes directly from one child to the next whenever possible, because the “out of sight, out of mind” principle works here too. If we pack it up to save it, there’s an excellent chance we will forget about it until it’s no use to anyone. If we don’t have a very near-term use for an article of clothing, we donate it and plan to buy again later from a thrift store.
How do you organize kids clothing? Anything you especially keep or don’t keep?
Our clothes right now consist of 3 cubbies for each child, plus hanging space in the closet. The cubbies hold:
- Underclothes & pjs
- Bottoms: pants, shorts
Some of us have a few more cubbies as the system has evolved, but that is basically how it works.
When it comes to hand-me-downs, I usually only keep what I expect to use within 2 years. That means I am keeping none of our 4yo daughter’s clothes because we don’t have another little girl up-and-coming. We try not to keep anything too worn or stained, of course, which means nearly all of the boys’ clothes get pitched faster than they get passed. I keep just a few newborn outfits because they tend to receive them as gifts and use relatively few.
I also keep very few heavy coats or other winter apparel because they take so much space to store and we use them so rarely – sometimes we go the entire winter without needing more than a jacket, and most of my Texas-born children don’t even know what a snowsuit is. I don’t own anything heavier than a lightweight denim jacket myself. I just layer it with a sweater on the really “cold” days.
Ideas for healthy yet inexpensive snacks? I’ve got a boy who is 4 years old and could eat me out of house and home.
Most of our snacks are real food: anything that works for lunch works as a snack, too, and it probably has more staying power than traditional snack foods. I also lean heavily on milk as an add-on. It’s a good balance of protein, fat and carbs. Peanut butter is another versatile source of protein. Anything with protein and fat will tend to keep kids satisfied for longer.
- Animal crackers and peanut butter
- Apples and peanut butter
- Banana bread with peanut butter
- Any appealing leftovers I’m eager to get rid of
- Banana roll-ups: spread peanut butter on a tortilla and wrap around a banana. If we happen to have extra hot dogs buns, we do this and call it a banana dog.
- Cake or muffins made of leftover oatmeal or other hot cereal. Serve with a big glass of milk.
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich – heavy on the peanut butter (we keep tortillas on hand instead of bread, so ours are pbj roll-ups)
- Carrot sticks and ranch dressing
- Tortilla chips and salsa – the only chips we do in our house with any sort of regularity. We buy these in a big box from Costco, very cheap and much better for you than potato chips. Maybe it’s weird outside of Texas, but my little ones beg for salsa.
- Peanut butter and banana smoothies
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