Thursday, January 19, 2012

Part 1--The Semi-Well-Oiled Machine...Helping them help you

I am often asked, "How do you do it all?"  I think it is time to answer that question!  I'm always looking for a better way of doing things, so our schedule gets tweaked here and there.  Maybe by posting about what works best for our family will help another family become a better semi-well-oiled machine!  Oh, and by the way...don't ever expect us to be a completely well-oiled machine!  The "semi" part is the best it can be!  If you leave that part off then you will set yourself up for failure.

We are a team!  Just as Jesus served others while He lived on earth...we are to serve one another.  This is probably one of the most important concepts to get a grasp of in a family.  We are not out for ourselves, we are here to serve the whole!  This is a great concept because it teaches love, humility, and selflessness.

Our children have "jobs" to do almost every day of the week.  I help them help me.  And trust me...they are  A LOT of help!  I teach them to do different "jobs" around the house, which helps them feel as though they are really contributing to the family, it gives them a sense of accomplishment, it helps them know how they can serve our family, it teaches them discipline...and it frees up some of my time, so I have more time to have fun with them!!!!  Please understand this...children are children...they should be expected to do their very best when completing a job, but it may not completely live up to your expectations.  You must teach them to do the jobs how you would like them to be done!  Do not expect them to understand your expectations if you haven't taught them how to do the job correctly!  Sometimes I have to go back and do their jobs with them to remind them about the little things (ie take things off the counter before you wipe it down, etc).  Let me reiterate this...they should be expected to do their bestLaziness is not a good character quality!

You want specifics, right?  Here you go!
Everyone is expected to clean their own room, make their beds, brush teeth, bring me their laundry on laundry days, and the older 3 put away their own laundry
Lauren: Dishes, wipe down kitchen counters, dust when needed, sometimes helps vacuum carpets, take care of dog and cat
Franklin: vacuum under table after every meal, mop kitchen when needed, sometimes helps vacuum carpets, clean master bath (wipe down toilet, counter, sinks) daily
Ari: clean out the van each Monday, clear off and wipe off table after each meal, clean the kids bathroom upstairs (wipe down toilet, counter and sink) daily
Miles: Wipe down chairs after meals (this is more busy work than anything, and he is a little guy that needs to be kept busy), clean downstairs bathroom (toilet, counter, sink---he does a really great job!!!) daily, empty bathroom trash cans daily
Ian: he loves to clean!  He'll get wipes and wipe off the floor, cabinets, table, and just about anything he can get his hands on.  In the next year he will probably get the job of emptying trash cans and making sure each bathroom has at least one extra roll of toilet paper.
These are all little things, but they are so helpful to me!

As for me...I'm always busy!  I don't sit around and watch tv while my children work!  There is always a lot to do!  I, typically, do clothing laundry Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, sheets on Thursday, and sometimes I have to add in another day of laundry on the weekend.  I give baths to little ones, cut lots of finger nails and toenails, teach school to the older four, and a little bit to Ian, too, vacuum when needed, which is a lot since I have a baby who puts everything in her mouth, deep clean bathrooms, keep the inside of toilets clean, cook all of the meals, clean up messes, change lots of diapers, pick up after little ones.  Because my children help me I am able to do all of the other things, but still have time to play with them, and then we don't have to spend the weekend cleaning.  Doing jobs each day helps us keep up, and keeps the house almost continually clean.

I choose to do my big jobs (bathrooms, vacuuming) when I can work it in.  I used to have a schedule and try to clean one bathroom per day and choose another day to vacuum, but that didn't work for me because I need more flexibility.  And right now, I have a big pregnant belly, so deep cleaning a bathtub is next to impossible.  That is when I enlist my husbands help on the weekends or evenings!

One more thing that is really helpful is what I call "Quick cleans."  A few times during the day I can yell, "Quick Clean...10 minutes!!!"  This is great for us because during those 10 minutes everyone is expected to run around and clean up as much as possible in 10 minutes.  If we didn't do this a few times during the day then the house would be a mess by evening with little toys everywhere and big messes are much more overwhelming to clean up then a few little messes throughout the day.

So, that is pretty much how our semi-well-oiled machine works!  In the upcoming "Part 2" I will list what a typical day looks like in our house...our schedule. We have a schedule that is working very well for us right now.  At least until our next baby gets here, and then we'll have to find a new normal again!

Any questions?

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