Monday, December 6, 2010

Something I love...and a confession

If you know me well, you know that I manage a household with 3 small children, a husband, and a black lab.  You also know that on a daily basis, right after I drop my oldest off at kindergarten, 3 more munchkins show up at my doorstep.  So, in effect, I manage a household with 6 kids, ages 5, 5, 3, 2, 9 months, and 6 months, a husband, and a black lab.  It gets a little crazy around here!

Up until February 25th of this year I was a "working" mom.  I had a full time job teaching preschool, and in the evenings I managed a family with 2 kids, a man, and a dog.  I was content (mostly) to get done what I could get done before bedtime (which was consistently 11pm or later) and then start again tomorrow. 

And then February 25th happened.  I don't think I will ever forget that day.  It was a busy one!  I had a First Steps transition meeting for Bugsy at 8 that morning, before work.  Bugs was 2 1/2 and was transitioning out of early intervention and into (potentially) the hands of the public schools.  So, we got up early, I rallied the troops, and we made our way, through a snowstorm, to the meeting.  I worked a full 8 hours.  I went to the store on my lunch break because the baby was due in 3 more weeks and I didn't have any hats.  I had promised Thing 1 we'd go to the "Getting Ready for Kindergarten" program at the public library, so after work we rushed home and in 30 minutes I made and fed them mac-n-cheese and loaded them back into the car and headed toward the library.

On the way to the library I made the fateful phone call.  "Hey, it's me.  Just so you know, I have been having contractions ever 4-5 minutes since I woke up this morning, and as soon as this program is over I am headed to the hospital."

Yep...I had been in labor (and had known I was in labor) all that day but had been too busy to stop and go to the hospital.  That's just the way I am! 

When we finally got to the hospital that night, I was dilated to 6 cm.  Long story...long night...but Stinky was born at 3:11 the next afternoon.  He was a little peanut (7 pounds, 19 1/2 inches long).  A big personality in a tiny little package, though!

So, that day I went from the working mom with two kids, a husband, and a dog, to a stay at home mom with 3 kids, a husband, and a dog...and we survived on a wing and a prayer for 6 months until I started caring for the three little boys I have the pleasure of keeping each day!

Anyway, that's a lot of kids...a lot of people...and I am pretty well exhausted most of the time.  I hadn't been home long before I decided I needed to get my house in order, and at about the same time a friend posted on facebook about being a "motivated mom" and loving their daily planner.  I was intrigued, so I looked it up.  Here's a link to their site...  It was $8 for a year's worth of "chore charts" for moms.  Being all about coupons, I looked up a coupon code, whch made it $7.  I figured that even if it helped me to get on the "right track" it was worth it, right?

I paid my $7 and printed out my full year, full sized sheet per week, with Bible reading.  And I LOVE it!  I post it on the end of my cabinet each week so I know exactly what I need to get done.  The pages are great!  The weekly lists look like this:

On the left there's a box with the "daily" chores.  These are things like "start a load of laundry" and "take vitamins" and "make your bed."  On the right are the weekly chores.  These are things like "dust master bedroom" and clip kids' fingernails" and "take lawnmower in for servicing."  (Okay, I don't know if that last one is on the list, but there are things that make you think, "Wow, I wouldn't have remembered to do that!")  The way it's set up, you end up, over the course of time, giving your house a pretty thorough deep cleaning on a consistent basis.  It's always clean on the surface.

It was really easy for someone like me to fall in love with this system.  I love having a schedule.  If I don't have a plan, I don't get anything done.  I also love checking things off as I go.  It makes me feel like I've accomplished SOMETHING...even if it is "refill toilet paper" every Monday.  The Motivated Mom calendar is GLORIOUS for motivating someone like me!

On the very first day, I had to dust my bedroom.  REALLY?!?  You're supposed to DUST in there?!?  I mean, I know there IS dust in there...under all my stuff...  So, I had to clean my room the first day.  It took ALL day to clean the room, and then I still had to dust it and do about 30 other things (or so it felt).  The next day I had to dust the kids' rooms.  Okay, so I know some people have surfaces in their rooms that are dusty, but ours just aren't...because there's too much stuff on there to collect the dust.  It was a full day project AGAIN.  And so it went from there, for  the first two weeks or so.  And then after that, something amazing happened.  It was time to dust my bedroom again, and it took 2 minutes because everything was put away.  It was time to vacuum the livingroom again, and it took 5 minutes because everything was put away.  It was time to clean the toilet and I didn't trip over a single pair of blue jeans or tennis shoes on the bathroom floor because they were put away!  My house was clean almost all the time!  THAT is what Motivated Moms does to you!

And then it happened.  Yep.  Always does.  I had been chugging along, happily completing my daily and weekly chores each and every day for several months.  Then there was a glitch in the system.  Did you notice the date at the top of that page in the picture?  Here, I'll show you again:

Do you see it up there at the top?  October 17 - October 23, 2010.  It MUST have been a good week...because yesterday, December 5, I took a picture of that calendar page hanging on the side of my cabinet.  YIKES!  Can you believe it?!?  It's been almost 2 months since I turned the page!  Here's the thing, though.  I'd been doing this for long enough that I just sort of "knew" what to do.  "Oh, it's Monday?  Guess I'd better clean the toilet and replenish the toilet paper."  "Tuesday again already?  Gotta clean out my purse."  "My plants can't need's not Saturday yet."  You see, what Motivated Moms has done to me is create a routine.  I LOVE the calendar (I am updating it today!) and I LOVE the way it functions to remind me of even everyday things like "exercise" and sweep the kitchen floor" and weekly things like "plan meals around leftovers" and "clip kids' nails." 

So, yeah, I will be transitioning to December.  While the routine things have really become routine, some of the more obscure things have dropped off, leaving my house relatively clean most of the time, but not the kid of clean I want to see.

You see, when you are responsible for managing a household with 3 kids, a husband, and a black lab, you've got to be pretty picky about how and when you get things done.  Thank you, Motivated Moms, for giving me a little bit of sanity in this otherwise insane life!  :)


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