I keep up on my laundry.
I've mastered a routine like none other. To run a larger household, that is the only way!
Menus are planned two weeks in advance. I shop every Saturday and stock my cupboards with all the ingredients needed for the upcoming week.
I bake my own bread, all-natural and wholesome. Just like my mother's. All my meals are made from fresh, basic, wholesome ingredients. Just like my mother's.
To succeed in this manner, I keep my schedule. I do the bills on the same day every week, I plan my meals on another. The fridge is scrubbed on grocery shopping day. A day for each task!
To keep the children well-behaved? Consistency is the key! Always follow up on your threats. Dole out consequences for poor choices. Always use politically-correct phrases, like,"That is not a choice!" and, "Use your inside voices!"
MY kids are well-behaved. Because they know that is what is expected of them. Because I have clearly stated my expectations to them.
Well, that was what kind of mom I used to be. Then.....I had children!
Pfffffffffft! And my bubble was burst!
Well-oiled schedules are made up. They just aren't followed. They may be put up on the fridge....or on the cork board...or in a 3-ring binder in a sheet protector with a dry-erase marker to check off each task as it's performed. Next thing I know, someone has removed the schedule from the fridge or cork board to draw very beautiful pictures on the back (or on the front), or just knocked them off and they are quickly skidded across the floor in the whirlwind of traffic. The 3-ring binder gets misplaced or the dry-erase marker gets lost, or the kids find it (the only dry-erase marker in the household that's not dried out) and use it to draw all over the big dry-erase calendar that we don't use anymore.
Bedtime? Same time every night. And always will be. Just usually not followed. Attempted, but somehow not followed.
Bedtime rituals? Got 'em. Consistently and on time, every night, like clockwork. They go something like this: "Hey, where is everyone? Outside? Tell 'em to get in. It's bedtime (big mistake. shoulda said, time for ice cream)." I lose the one I sent out as well. Another one? Like clockwork, every night, send them to don pj's, only for them to get side-tracked by the Barbies or dolls and never come back with their pj's on. Others sing the chorus of, "Oh, Mom! I forgot!!! I need a drink, my body pillow and a stack of books put together for tomorrow's read-n-feed. Can you run to the store and get me a Gatorade?" Ummm, no!
Stuck to the couch nursing the baby, I helplessly shout orders to the handful of children scampering through, here and there, "Hey! Someone! Potty those dogs!" Oh, I forgot. There is no one named "Someone" in our house! "Okay, you! Go potty and feed one of the dogs. Your choice since you are the first one to potty one tonight." A, "Why me????" nearly always follows. Of course, it would be unfair to make it sound like they never help. One of the girls always does dog duties with very few complaints, one of them nearly never does without a complaint. The complainer about the dogs though is almost a second mother to our baby. Not because I ask her to so much but because she loves to take care of her baby sister. She adores her!
The truth on the laundry? NEVER caught up! But, the kids always have clean clothes to wear to school. I make sure to run what I need, at very minimum, so I usually have at least a few days' worth of clean clothes for each of them. Well, at least the school kids. The other two might be a little short from time to time on clean laundry. But there is always, always dirty laundry waiting, unfolded laundry, and a small stack waiting for stubborn stain removal.
The truth on menu planning? I actually do make menus 1-2 weeks at a time...when I can. I just went grocery shopping on Saturday night (after running 6 miles that evening, mind you) and got everything I needed for meals and snacks for the next week...all pretty healthy and wholesome even. This system is just starting up again. It had been put on hold since I first got pregnant with my nearly one-year-old baby. We'll see how long that lasts this time.
So, you see, I did two things right this week...menu-planned pretty healthy meals and snacks, and did a 6 mile run in preparation for my upcoming 10 mile run in October. And I'm clinging to it 'cause it very well may be the only things I do right for a very, very long time! :)
When I bake my own bread, it is really pretty wholesome...it just doesn't happen often enough. I use olive oil, honey instead of sugar (and very little of it), wheat germ, flax seed, oatmeal, cornmeal, a titch of molasses, and part wheat flour along with white flour. And my family likes it. Score!!!
But, very often, they get store bought bread from the bread discount store...bought on Wednesdays, because then it's even more discounted.
Scrubbing the fridge down on grocery shopping day? My intention, yes. Usually it's more like, wash the milk shelf down every Friday 'cause that's when the milkman comes.
At least one shelf is pretty consistently washed!
Telling my kids that, "That is not a choice!" is usually met with a look like, "Oh, I knew that! It was my choice, however!" And, "Use your inside voice!"...? They do! Very loudly! I have to tell them, "Use your school voice" or "Use your school inside voice!" That works better!
So, all-in-all, I get a couple points for at least being aware of what I should be doing as a parent. These silly kids of mine just keep getting in between me and these goals. And guess what? I really don't mind so very much! I really don't! :)
*What inspired this post was, this afternoon as I was preparing our evening meal, I pulled something out of the refrigerator, brought it over to the counter, began to work with this food product..and turned around when it dawned on me...I left the fridge door open! Because I was eventually going to return this food item to the fridge! I was turning into one of my kids! What has come over me??? And the quote, "When in Rome..." came to mind. As in, my kids have done it so long, now I have begun to do it. And then my mind began to wander back to how I thought I would run a household...how my kids would turn out...even just how I used to be: I NEVER left the fridge door open. I ALWAYS rinsed my dishes right after using them. I ALWAYS put every ingredient back after I used it while making something (I even lined them up in the order I was going to use them). AND...I used to hang clothes on hangers that closest matched the color of the clothing..then lined them up in color order. I WASN'T a total neat-freak. Just a tad bit more organized than I am now!