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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Perfect Job

Have you ever dreaded Monday morning?  Stupid question?  Maybe.  Ever since our trip to Michigan, I've been dreaming of being a stay-at-home-mom.  Yes, I know that I'm home every day and all day.  I'm very aware of that.  But Monday thru Friday other little ones come into my home and I'm on alert all day to make sure nothing happens to them and that they are cared for well.  I've been spiralling downward in this thought process and even trying to figure out how I can not work at home in this way.  It's been getting worse and worse.

One of the mothers was talking with me yesterday and sharing about being pregnant etc. Come to find out (horror of horrors) neither of us really enjoyed being pregnant even though we weren't super ill.  Also I was relating my panic attacks pre-delivery and the fact that people would tell me, "Oh this is your fourth.  It'll be a breeze."  I told her that my thought was "I would love to have more kids, just drop them on my doorstep." 

"Oh," she replied, "well then this job is perfect for you."  I shook my head, "I don't really like this job."  The look of shock surprised me.  I think most people think I adore babies and the care of them, and that all I want to do is sit and play with them.  I don't and I'm not that person.  I rarely spend time to play with my kids, they have each other for that, right?  I mean why else did I have so many? 

I prefer to be left alone and don't bother me with your problems. That is super selfish, but some days it's totally reality. 

I'm really working on that.  While we were watching a movie last night, I stopped to look at my little ones and nuzzle the baby (he's four) in the neck.  He giggled and it did my heart good.  I reached over and touched my little girl's face.  She smiled and looked over at me.  I said, "I love you." She said, "I know."  Does she really?  I mean I say it often but does she know? 

So after the mom left, I spent some time thinking about what if I had that perfect job.  I'd been thinking using my secretary skills would be more fun, or even cleaning like I used to.  Ah, then I would be happy.  I certainly do remember those days and I did NOT like Mondays anymore than I do now. 

So what don't I like about what I'm doing now.  Hmm, let's see.  Radar being on high all day from 8 to 5.  Now, as I think about it why is it a bad thing?  The mom told me that she wouldn't want me to treat her child any differently than I do my own, but if my radar is up when I have other kids (and I think it should be)  should it not be up when it's just my own?  Maybe not to the same degree - I don't have an almost one-year old who is walking in my home, but somewhat.  I should be looking for opportunities to teach my children how to behave properly with one another.

Another thing is always being on the look out for a scrap of paper or popcorn on the floor.  One year olds love putting things in their mouths.    And that's bad because???  Yes, it is harder, but we all love having things picked up and neat. 

The schedule that's required to make sure chores get done and consistency that comes with that?  Yeah, that discipline is something that I desire in my own life and in my children's lives. 

So as I thought about my conversation with her, I also went back to why I'm doing this job.  So that I could stay home with my kids.  Yep.  Another good thing.  Now, I'm realizing that this IS the perfect job, and it's not out there somewhere just waiting for me.  It's here in my house caring for others' children because then I do a better job caring for my own.  Not because I love children and adore them and love spending time with them, but because this is what God has called me to do today.  He's called me to a position that brings my selfishness before my eyes on a daily basis almost.  And yes, despite how much I dislike having it brought up, I want that self eradicated. 

The grass is NOT greener on the other side.  Because when you get to the other side, this grass will be greener. 

Hope that wasn't too candid for you, just some things I'm working through.  I think maybe I'll be more ready for Mondays for awhile, (oh, I don't know about excited :), but ready).  That is, until I forget.  But hopefully, my forgetter won't work for awhile.

Because His ways are higher,
Steph

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Room inspection! Attention!!!!

How do you help your children learn to keep their rooms clean, or do you?  I believe there are no wrong answers to this questions, except maybe, "I don't know.  I haven't thought about it."

In our house, I am on the fence as it were.  I could go with the thought of, "It's their room, they should be allowed to keep it how they want to."  I could also go with the idea that they learn to care for things if I teach them and expect a certain standard. 

Just last week, in an effort to "de-clutter" as FLYlady says, we pulled everything out of their rooms (or most everything) and put it back neatly.  I sorted for them and they only had to bring it downstairs so I could do so. 

So this week, I'd like to see them maintain.  Oh, and back to the question before, the reason I do have an opinion about what should happen in our house, is because dh does.  So we're gonna go with that.   Call it submission if you like.  Yes, it is, actually.  I will submit to his leadership.  How easy is that when I'm sitting on the fence anyway.  It's a real problem for me when I take a clear stand on the OTHER side of the camp.  My life-long goal in my relationship to my husband.  Anyway.....that's a TOTALLY different topic. ;)

So this week, while mothers are dropping off babies, my goal is to have my kids up in their rooms working on them.  If we're running behind, then we'll set the next available time for them to do this.  Around 8:30 or whenever they come and claim their room is clean, I go up to their room and pick up everything I find that is not in it's place or neat.  Obviously, they are the ones who've helped with these decisions.  Toys should not be stacked on books, and dirty clothes should not be behind the dresser.  These things, we (and they do too) know. 

The laundry goes in the laundry basket.  Anything I deem as trash goes in the trash can.  And the other treasures I find, yes, even books, go in a box.  That box is currently in my room.  If you are missing something, you may check said box and see if it's in there.  If it is, you must do a chore to reclaim it - something besides your normal chores.  It may be feeding a baby its bottle or watching a toddler for a few minutes.  And the other rule, you MAY NOT under any circumstances take more than one thing for one chore.  We have plenty to do around here, you may do another chore to redeem something else. 

We'll see how long this works.  But for now, the rooms are clean, and I didn't have to pick up much this morning.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Laundry Day!!! (Oh, yeah that's every day, except maybe Sunday)!

I just thought I'd share what the laundry aspect of our lives looks like.  We have been a four or five or six or seven load a day family for a long time.  Little ones and accidents in their beds made for some long days of laundry, but we're beyond that now. 

Then we moved into teaching the children to put away their clothes and Mom didn't inspect their work super often, so the clothes were on the floor with the wet/dirty clothes and I could get two loads a day per room. 

Just recently, I bought my three oldest (6th, 8th, and 9th grades) boys a laundry basket each.  I am amazed at how little laundry I have now.  They each wash their laundry when they need to, which is about once a week.   So that's three loads of laundry per week for them as opposed to what seemed like 2 per day.   It was a lot more anyway.

I make my laundry soap and I suppose that I should sit down and really crunch the numbers again to see how it works.  I've done liquid and I've done dry.  I like both.  Liquid just takes me longer, but I love the smell of my house when I'm doing it.  I will only give my recipe for powder soap because it has become my own.  I have searched the internet and read up on it, so it's similar to others you've seen on-line.   I'm a little bit of this and a little bit of that type of girl, so I change it up if I have different things on hand

Laundry detergent
1 bar Fels Naptha          $.97
1 large box (laundry aisle) baking soda        $ 2.66
1 box washing soda           $3.24
1 box Borax          $3.38
Oxyclean (I use the generic) but I'm not sure of the cost so figure  $2 as I don't use the whole thing.
Total  $12.25
Grate the bar of Fels Naptha.  And pour a bit from each box into a large bucket.  As you pour mix them together.  I use the largest size grate on a cheese grater.


That sounds like a lot to me, except when I realize that I only use 2 Tablespoons of the stuff in a huge load.  If it's a bit more dirty or greasy, then I may add another scoop.  (I use the scoop that comes in the Oxyclean container).    It takes me more than a month (maybe even two) to use this much detergent.  Before I started this, I was using Arm&Hammer ($13.??) and it was gone in less than a month. 

In the morning, everyone who is in the main laundry group has to get their laundry to the main level and a laundry basket that sits by the dryer.  It's on their chore cards so eventually it happens. :)  Then after the babies have arrived (unless my darling husband takes it down when he showers in the morning) I take  the laundry down to the basement and sort it into my tall laundry baskets (from Walmart) that have the stickers for Dark, Colors, or white. 

I usually start with White as I need my dishtowels and such.  I put a load in with a scoop of detergent.  Usually it's cold water.  Only if it's hubby's dirty work jeans do I ever use hot and then only occasionally.  Yes, the Fels Naptha does dissolve and there is no residue left when the clothes are done.  I don't ever leave the regular Tide-sized scoop in my detergent or there is NO way it would last a month.  Even I need some help making sure I don't fill it too much when I use those monsters. :)

Then I add about 1/5 of a cap of fabric softener and fill it the rest of the way with water.  I think they overkill on the amounts they tell you to use.  I should know because I have been line drying my clothes since my dryer quit last month and they're pretty soft, even with only 1/5 of wha they tell you to use. 

When the washer quits I lug it upstairs (three flights) to the attic to hang it up.  I know it sounds like a pain, but I love not having clothes sitting around waiting for their owners to show up so that I can tell them to take care of their laundry.  I like doing all the folding for the day once and then at lunch having the kids take care of their clothes before eating. 

Because my clothes are hanging in the attic, I don't have to get them in until the next day.  They get dry, but not bleached and they don't fall off the line.  I'm not in any hurry for dh to get the dryer fixed.  :)

Laundry piles are usually low in my house now, because I'm home most days and I keep it going until there is no laundry left.  And yes, usually every day there is enough laundry to do at least one load of whites, one load of coloreds and one load of darks. 

Laundry is not super fun to do or easy to keep up with  but when I do keep up with it it's not a drudgery, but more of a joy.  And believe me, I don't enjoy laundry, for years dh would ask me just to keep it going and to fold them as they came out of the dryer.  Now that I am, I realize how wise he is.   I wish I would have started a long time ago.