Saturday, August 11, 2012

Back to the Balancing Act

It's that time again. . . back to the balancing act.  I am preparing myself to start juggling homework, lunches, and after school activities.  

We have backpacks filled with new school supplies, new first day of school outfits hanging in the closet, we have signed up for fall soccer, dance, and gymnastics.  

I am starting to panic as I think about the busy schedules and all the homework that I will need to help with.  I really like easy going summer days with everyone home.

Here are a few of my ideas of how to manage and balance the busy routines of everyday life as a mother of many children. 

1.  Simplify
For years I have had a sign hanging above my kitchen sink.  It simply says, "SIMPLIFY."  I need that reminder in every aspect of life!  

When it comes to extra curricular activities.  We have decided that our kids can only do one at a time. One activity each adds up to two soccer teams on two different nights of the week, dance, gymnastics and don't forget scouts and activity days, a weekly date for Justin and I, add Family Home Evening and our schedule is pretty full!  

In our house we try to simplify by following the motto, "less is more."  Less clothes and less toys = less clutter and less stress. 

2.  Enlist Help
I have decided that I can't possibly do everything myself.  I want my kids to leave home knowing how to cook, clean, manage a home and their time.  Daily they are learning the lessons that will help them later.  

I have found that it is easiest to get them to help when they know exactly what is expected and we are consistent with our expectations!  

I have posted on their bathroom mirrors and in the kitchen a simple list of what we expect them to do each morning.  Each child has a simple morning chore that helps our family to get a jump start on the day. 

Abigail- Help make lunches
Hyrum- Help make breakfast
Spencer- Empty trash cans in bathrooms and office into large kitchen trash
Alexis-  Unload dishwasher
Tanner- Unload silverware

At dinner time each child is expected to do one thing to help set the table.

Abigail- Milk and condiments
Hyrum- Placemats and plates
Spencer- Napkins
Alexis- Cups
Tanner- Silverware 

We also do Saturday morning chores.  I wrote about that here.

The simple things they do help a lot and they are learning so much in the process!

3.  Run Ahead, Not Behind

Planning ahead for dinner is one of the biggest ways that I try to run ahead.  I plan my menus and then each morning after breakfast  I look at my plan and see what  I can do ahead.  (Just before dinner is crazy at our house!!!!)  If I can thaw meat or chop vegetables it makes preparing dinner later a lot easier!  

I try to do a little laundry each day so that we don't have disastrous morning where no one can find clean underwear or shorts!  

During the school year I also try to have a consistent shopping day so that we don't run out of bread and milk.  

4.  Focus On What Matters Most

The fourth and most important thing that I do is read my scriptures each morning.  It really does help me to be a better wife and a nicer mom.  It is a great way to fill my mind with inspiration that will help me throughout the day.  

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