Today was the start of a more scheduled life at our house. We've been needing to do it quite awhile, but I honestly resisted doing it because I knew it would mean a lot more work for me. Not a good excuse, but that's the best one I used. We had a loose schedule that required certain things to be done before school, school hours, meal times and nap times, but not a lot scheduled in between. Rather than assigning the kids more chores I'd just do them myself because it was faster. After becoming frustrated at their lack of help(totally my fault for not training them before now), I realized that I needed to ask the Lord for guidance in this area, buckle down and jump in with both feet, so to speak. We started today, because I knew that if I put it off I probably wouldn't do it. Can I just say, "hand to the forehead!" Why didn't I start this 2 years ago? The kids get into far less trouble when I keep them occupied with chores and helping with meals, etc... For most of the day they were super excited to help with everything and Elyssia, who knew I was reading "Large Family Logistics", remarked, "Mommy, the ideas you got from that book are really good, they're working to help us get along!". I just need to stop and say, "Thank you Lord, I'm sorry for now listening sooner." I know there will probably be many rough days ahead, but I can also see a lot more good days mixed in. The kids were volunteering to do dishes, because I promised to read a chapter of George Mueller and feed the baby as long as they were washing:). Elyssia didn't want me to stop reading, but I told her that it will be used as a special book for dishwashing time. We've had them help off and on with the dishes, but we haven't had them do it for all 3 meals. It was amazing not to have to wash all the dishes, even though I have to say that I do enjoy it. Trashes were emptied, the deck was cleaned, Kiersten helped wipe down the table after meals, all 3 of the older ones took turns sweeping after meals and probably did a better job than I usually do. We had time to go on a walk after lunch because the 3 older ones finished all their schoolwork by 11. Garrison got through his reading practice a lot quicker when I told him about the walk. He also helped on the walk by holding Kiersten's hand and carrying her for awhile when she got tired. It was super cute, cause she's not a petite little flower, but you could tell he was pleased to be helping. I'm not sure I can remember ever giving out so many words of thanks and praise as we did today. The older ones even helped Kiersten brush her teeth, clean her face and hands, etc... Can you tell that I'm excited about the outcome of this new schedule. Here's a sample of what our days will be like in the weeks, months and years ahead:
MONDAY:Laundry Day(all laundry will be done on this day, unless it's an emergency) School and normal chores as usual.
TUESDAY: Kitchen Day-All Baking and Extra Food Prep, plus cleaning out the fridge, organizing cupboards will be done on this day. The kids are especially excited about cleaning the fridge. They love pulling everything out, washing it down, etc...
WEDNESDAY: Office Day-All card making, letter writing, grocery list,scheduling, phone calls(hopefully) will be done on this day. We will also load the diaper bag, bottles for recycling, library books, etc will be put in the van in preparation for Thursday.
THURSDAY: Town Day-This day will be used for errands and appointments in town. Visiting a friend or just going in for a special treat. Scott is usually willing to pick up extra groceries as needed and we might not need to head in every week, but this day is going to be reserved for that.
FRIDAY: Cleaning Day: There's a long list to do this day, but the reward at the end of it is a TEA PARTY. We will have special treats that we made on Tuesday(hopefully) and a whole hour to sit and read a book together, discuss it and things about the week that went well or that we can work on. We will have one room that we focus on deep cleaning, but not be concerned about making everything spotless. Hopefully most things will already be fairly organized, due to chore times each day, but this day we'll focus on the Bathrooms and any areas that don't usually get attention.
SATURDAY: Outside Day: This means any weeding, watering, mowing, car washing, trash pick up that needs to be done is scheduled for this day. There should also be quite a bit of family fun time, including a picnic whenever possible. More reading together and walks, when the weather is nice. This will have to be tweaked a bit when it's winter, or inclement weather, but we'll see.
Many of you are probably thinking, "you're turning those kids into your little slaves!" No, actually we really just want to work better as a family so that we have more time to enjoy living, learning and reaching out to others as a family. When it's just one or two people doing all the work, the little ones are usually busy just getting into things or having disagreements. Prayerfully we'll have quite a bit more time to read and explore as a family.
Another area that I'm making changes in is computer time. I won't stop blogging, but I'm starting to limit the amount of time I give myself for it. Going on to check it after the kids are in bed for the night. It might mean a few less blog posts, but I'll still try to keep up with it as much as possible. I've already gone 15 minutes overtime, so I'm off for now.
Enjoy a wonderful Lord's Day tomorrow. I'm so thankful for all the Lord has done for me, especially giving his life, to save my soul! Praising the Lord for another day to serve HIM!