Do you ever feel like this would solve your problems? Just add six more hours to your day. This is definitely me. Why six hours you ask? I don’t know, it just sounds like a nice round number.
I feel like I wake up every morning and set myself up for a great day. I have my list of “To Do” items in my mind. I know where I have go and what I need to do that day and then I try to mentally fill in the “extra time” with chores or projects that need done around the house or around town.
Did I mention that I almost never get the “To Do” items done? Why? Four kids is why. I know that sounds like a pity me statement. You may ask, why did you have four kids then. So, let me preface by saying I enjoy each of my kids and would not trade them for anything in the world. That does not mean that I would not like to get just a little more done in a day.
I know all you families that have two working adults can relate. It is hard to work, take care of the kids and get house tasks done. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. I am a stay at home mom that works. I home school my kids which is a full time job in itself. I co-run a produce cooperative, am a Juice Plus partner, teach childbirth education classes and work as a birth doula. Besides that I help with finances for two separate organizations that I am involved with as well as help with the children’s ministry at my church.
I spend hours planning out the curriculum for my kids’ school year and then at the beginning of each week as we go along. Just as teachers in schools do, we have to adjust weekly schedules according to what was actually accomplished in a given week. Unlike school teachers, we have multiply grades that we are teaching at once. For me, I have a high school student (9th grade), a 5th grade student, a kindergartner and a preschooler. Unfortunately, for my preschooler, she is kind of left to her own entertainment while I do school with the kindergartner. The 5th grader is in a learning center two days a week to give me a brake and him the opportunity to hang out with his friends. The high school student prefers to do his work on his own unless he is having difficulty understanding something or needs his work graded. Thankfully, we have found a system that works for us…for now.
Grading…that is a whole other beast of its own. As if planning all the work to be done isn’t enough, I have to keep up on the grading. Especially for the high school student. If he gets lost, it could be detrimental to his future. Grade school and middle school you have a little play time to get grading done.
On a weekly basis, I probably spend 25-30 hours a week on just planning and teaching. Another 5-10 hours on grading. That means roughly 40 hours a week is dedicated to just schooling my children. This equates to a full time job with no pay. In fact, we have to pay for the curriculum that I took many hours to sort and work for the age group I’m using it for.
My husband is great about not doing this but I do it to myself. I think, I am home all day yet the floor is nasty, toys are everywhere, dust is inches thick, the fridge needs cleaned out, rooms are a mess, dishes are piled up and I look a hot mess. I am not sitting around doing nothing but I feel like I accomplished little in a day. Do you ever feel this way?
Sometimes it helps me to sit back and break this down. Yes, adding six more hours to the day would help me feel like I accomplished more but I did accomplish a lot in the hours I have. Moms, it is easy to beat ourselves up about what we do not get done and maybe we have family that gives us a hard time about the condition of our houses. The facts are, they do not live our lives and they do not see what we ARE able to accomplish in a given day.
Is it realistic to make a huge “To Do” list for ourselves every day? No! What is realistic is to make a weekly “To Do” list and see what we can reasonably get checked off that list in a week. Also, for those of us with older children, we can give them tasks that they can do to help out around the house.
Each of my kids, ages 5 and up, have their own chore charts. One of the chores on the chart is “One Thing”. This used to be that the kids would have to ask me what one thing I needed them to do right then. Something house chore that I wanted to see accomplished. This became a daunting thing for me. I started having trouble thinking of one thing on the fly. I then decided to make a “calendar” style chart that had one task that would be nice to have done for the month. I print this list and put it on the refrigerator. When the kids get to their “one thing” chore, they look on the chart and pick one item to do. Once this item is done, they initial it and that task is done for the month. With three kids working through this list, the items get done in a timely manner. There may be some grumbling when all the “easy” things for the month are done and the harder tasks are left but they get done. Once the chart is completely checked off, I pick a different area of the house that needs attention and make a brand new chart. The kids have enjoyed picking their own tasks and I enjoy seeing them complete what they have chosen to do.
Do these extra tasks get done in the manner that I would do them? For instance, would the dusting be perfect? No, a six year old will not do the same job at dusting that I would but the task is getting attention. I feel like things in the house are not getting neglected when I do not have the time to accomplish everything and it gives the kids some sense of involvement in the condition of their living space. My teenager at times will just clean up an area because he realizes that area is getting neglected. He will do it and then tell me for recognition but HE DOES IT without be asked or told! No complaints there and I will give him the recognition he seeks. I am sure that someday, he will do extra tasks and seek no recognition, he will just do them to help pull his weight in the family. I believe this is teaching him how to manage a home effectively.
Do you find yourself down in the dumps about this? Do you feel like adding extra hours in your day would be a help or would it not matter? How have you managed your household with busy lives? Do you have your kids pull their weight in the home? I would love to hear your solutions to some of these things. It takes a village so be mine in the comments below!