Friday, February 24, 2012

What's working now- Mondays

I'm starting this post on a Monday...who knows when I'll actually be able to post it though?! Ah well...I really need a laptop. Really. Need a laptop.

One of the principles in the Large Family Logistics book that was new to me was assigning a certain work to each day of the week...a laundry day, a kitchen day, etc. When I first read the book, I dismissed it as not workable for us for a variety of reasons. But eventually I came around and decided to try it. It's working really well! I think one reason is that I can kind of hyperfocus on one particular set of chores each day and use those little moments that crop up here and there to work on them. And another reason is that it let's me assign more work-intensive chores to days that I am mostly home, which helps that kind of work to happen more easily, and save lighter/less crucial chores for days that need more flexibility.

So...Mondays...Monday is my kitchen day. I try to get an earlier start than the kids because mornings are my best opportunity to work fairly uninterrupted....on a good day! Today was not a good one...Henry and Tess have been sick for several days and woke up unhappy and wanting Momma on the couch. But I got done what I could. I get up, start some coffee, and transfer laundry around. Laundry goes on every day, whenever I can get in there and get another load going. Then I start that day's work, beginning with whatever is done best without company of children. On kitchen day, that means a good scrub of the floor. I damp mop every day, but its not enough, not for my floor. (Note to kitchen remodelers...off white tiles is a stupid choice for anyone with small children. Think gray. Or dirt colored. Or the color of petrified ketchup.) I despair of ever finding a good mop that can really clean a week's worth of grime off the floor, even when the worst has been daily swept and damp mopped...anyone try one of those steam mops? For now, I have taken to just getting down on my hands and knees and scrubbing the floor. Yes, even while pregnant. It's not that hard. My kitchen is pretty small. The hard part is getting back up again! ha! Once done, I dry it with a couple of old prefold dipes and switch on the ceiling fan to get it dry quickly in case little feet appear. When the floor is.done and dry, I throw down clean rag rugs and check the time. If I have any time left, and if I am lucky enough that everyone is still asleep, or at least happy in front of an episode of Little Einsteins, I will take a crack at more chores. I start with the most important ones first. Any that don't get done in the morning will have to be fitted into small moments of time here and there during the day. Or they might get assigned to a child that needs a consequence assigned for something or other. :) If something towards the end doesn't get done, it's no biggie...they will keep until next time. The remaining kitchen chores are...
...check out the menu for the week and remove meat to defrost
...doing a good, soapy scrub of the counters, stove top, and small appliances
...cleaning the trashcan lid, and the trashcan/recycling can when needed
...cleaning the kitchen window (this can be done weekly..it is over the sink and gets pretty splattery), a pantry shelf, a kitchen cabinet and drawer, and a shelf or drawer in the fridge.
...pre-cooking and freezing some ground beef for various recipes, and now hoping to make some freezer meals to have after baby arrives. I'm thinking this will probably not happen though. I will likely have to just plan a project day for this instead...

At 7:30, it's time to wake up any remaining sleepers (i.e., Maria and Kain). We have breakfast, Maria has her PE time followed by a shower, and the rest of us start moving through our morning lists...meal chores, getting dressed, straightening bathrooms and beds...this takes a good 45 minutes now. Kain needs a lot of prompting, and Jack needs almost as much help as Tess and Henry. I am actively trying to teach him to do these things more independently but it is slow-going.

Hopefully by 9, I can put Kain in charge of entertaining Tess and Henry in the playroom while I do math with Jack. This will be the only school for Jack on Mondays because he will also have two hours of therapy. Then, weather permitting, I send all the younger kids outside and meet with Maria for grammar/Latin, spelling, math corrections, and to make sure she knows where to go with the rest of her day. Then I do math with Kain while Maria takes charge of the little kids. Usually they are ready to come in by then and she will set them up at the table with some play dough or puzzles or whatever she feels like taking on. She will also give them a snack during this time.

At 11:30, it's time for therapy for both boys. I drop Jack off at noon, then Kain's appointment is in another clinic at 12:30. When Kain is done, we pick up Jack. Jack and Kain and I all eat lunch in the car while Maria feeds the littles at home and has rest time.

We get home by 2:30 and Maria goes off to finish her school work in her room. I work with Kain on anything else we need to do, then he does his independent work. Jack usually goes outside to unwind after therapy. Tess might be napping, or might not be...if not, she will at least lay on the couch and watch something. If she wanders to the table, then I will set her up with something to do there.

At 4, I need to be starting dinner. We eat early. Tess and Henry go outside when Henry is up. Jack will usually watch something or continue playing, and Kain will do the same when his work is done. We eat dinner at 5.

When dinner is done, I fill up a tub and put Tess and Henry in it. Then we all pitch in and clean up the main living areas of the house, including doing a quick sweep of the floors and cleaning up the kitchen. One of us, John (if he's home), myself, or Maria, will take charge of shampooing and dressing Tess and Henry in PJ's, joining in the cleaning while they are playing in the tub. Even Jack joins in the pick up, if briefly and in a very directed way. Half the time John is still at work during the evenings, so we need a flexible routine with big kids help so that we can function with or without him. But it's definitely easier with. :)

At 7, done or not, we stop. If the house is getting trashed, we may not have finished, but we've made a good improvement. Maria takes Tess into their bedroom and coaches her through any straightening that needs done there, and Kain does the same with Jack if Jack can tolerate it. We don't keep toys in the bedrooms, so pick ups there are quick. I fill up another tub and put Jack in it. Jack does not bathe with anyone else. Ever. lol... I help him wash and then go read aloud to Tess and Henry. Kain is taking his shower during this time. Then we gather back around the table for dessert and prayers, and if I have any gumption and time left, maybe a liturgical year read aloud.

Hopefully by 8 we have brushed teeth, Maria is free to do what she wants, the little kids are settled down on the couch with something relaxing to watch, and I read aloud to Kain and Jack. Once the boys are in bed, I wrap up my day. John, if he's worked, is home by now and will visit with the littles if they are still awake. They usually are! I check the calendar for the next day, pack John's lunch if he is working in the morning, make sure the animals got fed,,,I spend a good 45 minutes in the laundry room sorting the day's dirties, loading the machines up with them or maybe with a load of diapers, laying out clothes for everyone (except Maria and John) for the next day, and then working on putting clean laundry away until 9:30 or until some little person gets cranky. We keep no clothing in the bedrooms anymore. All of it is in the laundry room. Clean, dirty, all of it except the linens in the hall closet, it all lives in the laundry room, so it all gets washed, dried, and put away in the same place. Awesome system for big families!

At 9:30 I go upstairs to my room with Tess and Henry and tuck them in where they may or may not stay. I take a shower, have my prayer time and reading time, and basically just try to settle them down to sleep. This needs to change with the baby coming. Tess needs to start sleeping downstairs with Maria. We have a bed for her there. She is being resistant and I haven't had the evening energy to get serious about it, but it needs to happen very soon. Henry will stay upstairs for a while yet. I have a toddler bed up there, but mostly he will probably just sleep in our big king sized bed while the baby sleeps next to me in the co-sleeper.

Ok, that's Monday! I'm sure the rest of these posts will be much shorter now that I've laid out the whole day already. The early mornings and evenings usually stay the same. Finally finishing this post on Friday.

2 comments:

Lisa said...

Wow, Mel, it sounds like a well-oiled machine! I am SO impressed. I need to take some lessons from you! :-)

mel said...

Ha! Yes, it sounds that way. :) that's just how it is supposed to go. There are plenty of wrenches thrown in...but its going better.