Even though we have so many schedules and routines it takes a lot of work for things to run smoothly around here. Just so you know….I do not do it all myself. There’s no way I could. I would be a) completely and totally exhausted 24/7 and 2) a mean person. To save us all from the heartache everybody pulls their own weight around our house. There are too many people in this house for one person to take care of everything. And everyone in this house is capable of helping out. This is our home and everyone is responsible for helping to take care of it.
So instead of a chore chart we have a RESPONSIBILITY BOARD. I’m not fond of the word chore because it implies that you are going to get paid for doing it and we don’t do allowance. I’m not going to pay you to pick your underwear up and put it in the dirty clothes because it’s something you should do anyway. It’s your responsibility. Now if you want to pick up dog poop or wash the car then yeah, I may give you a little something. But don’t tell the kids that…I won’t be able to afford it. Our responsibility board has the bath schedule on it as well. Their names are magnetic so we can switch them around at the beginning of each week. There is a list of daily responsibilities for morning, afternoon and evening and each child has a weekly responsibility as well. One lucky kid gets a ‘bye’ week. Only because we couldn’t think of a fifth thing for them to do. Leave your suggestions in the comments below. And don’t say vacuuming. I thought about that but I like my vacuum lines to be a certain way and I know the kids won’t do it right. Wait…when I actually say these things out loud it does seem very obsessive compulsive. Anyway, the weekly ‘responsibility’ is also magnetic and we’re thinking about adding more but I can’t let any of the kids do anything else around the house without going behind them and doing it over again. There it is again, did you hear it? Anyway, the board comes in really handy. And it’s super cute too, which as we all know, is what matters the most. Am I right? We also have a reward system to help motivate them to take care of their daily responsibilities. They each have their own jar and they receive puff balls for completed tasks, when they do something super nice for someone or help with something that’s not their responsibility. They’ve all set goals and when they reach said goal they receive their chosen reward. Gary and I had to give them guidelines on what a reasonable reward is. Chalon’s first goal was 20 puff balls for a PlayStation 3. Try again buddy! In the end, they did pretty well.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter how many schedules or responsibility boards we have. If we don’t work together it just doesn’t work. I am only one person and there are 7 living here. It’s just not possible for me to do it all by myself. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m not Super Woman. Thankfully I have a husband who knows that. Gary sees what I do for our family and he values that and appreciates it.
My job in this house is to submit to my husband. I am to put his needs above mine and serve him. Ephesians 5:22-24 says 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. It continues on saying 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.t28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
As I submit to Gary and act as a servant to him he in turn desires for my happiness and loves me with the same sacrificial love that Christ has for the church. He also puts my needs ahead of his own and longs to serve me. It’s this kind of love and obedience that keeps things running smoothly around here. As I said before, the reason why it works for us is we put God first.
I am not the most organized person on the planet. If I were, my closet would look like this and not what it really looks like. In order for a family this large to run smoothly you must have at least a little bit of structure and organization. Otherwise it will be a circus. For real. Our home life is very structured and we have lots of routines and schedules at our house. Partly because if we don’t there would be perpetual arguing, which we have enough of already thank you very much. Also because a couple of the kids function better if they have reminders and daily routines. Gary may argue it’s because I’m OCD and a little kooky. I think it’s a combination of all of it. Well, except for the ‘ocd-kooky’ part maybe. Every body knows that if you have organization and a routine things run a lot more smoothly. We have several systems in place to help with bath time, bed time, dinner time and xBox time. Unfortunately the schedules and routines do not guarantee complete peace and harmony. But at least they keep the kids from killing each other.
I think we’re fairly organized but I would love to be more organized. I just don’t have the time or the money to do it. I have lots of big plans though. I’m slowly working on different areas of the house and hopefully one day I will have a basket and shelf for everything!! A couple of areas that I already have nice and organized are the laundry room, the refrigerator, the pantries and homework room. I’ll talk all about laundry, how we organize it and how much of it we do, another day. It’ll surprise you I bet! The pantries and refrigerator don’t have baskets and such [yet] but they are organized. I have everything sorted by like items. One pantry has all canned goods, dry goods and baking goods. Each having their own shelves. The other pantry has the kids snacks, cereals, breads and chips, tea and sugar. It also houses mine and Gary’s lunch boxes, a ‘junk’ box, trash bags, and paper towels and napkins. The refrigerator is organized the same way. Like items together. And just like in the pantries everything has its own assigned spot. So when you put it back in the fridge it goes right back where you took it from. None of that “just stick it anywhere”. Oh no…not in my fridge. If it stays in the same spot you won’t have to search for it the next time you want it. And you know when you’re out too. I’m a genius. PS…if you want me to organize your refrigerator I would love too!! The homework room has five hooks on the wall, each labeled with a child’s name, for book bags and jackets. We have a Rubbermaid 4 drawer cart for supplies. Each drawer is labeled with the contents that are in the drawer. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I love labels. I think it’s a residual teacher attribute that hasn’t worn off yet. As is my love of sharpies. Wait, I just love sharpies. That has nothing to do with teaching. And the cutest thing in the homework room is the ‘accomplishment rope’ we have hung on the wall. It ever so slightly droops and has old fashioned clothes pins on it to hang the kids’ artwork, awards and other cute things. I love it!!
I’m not an expert on organization but I do what works for us. If I had the money I would so have somebody come do it for me. But that’s not gonna happen. I’d rather spend my money on something else. Like a new wardrobe, ten pairs of Danskos and a boat. Organization is not the key to happiness but I have found from experience, and heard from the experts, that clutter causes stress and anxiety. A clean, organized home is just peaceful. I absolutely love to have a clean house. Getting it clean is another story. And post.
A house with 7 people in it can get a little crazy. Ok, a lot crazy. There, I said it. My house is crazy. At any given moment there’s at least one kid running around for no apparent reason [although they usually do that in pairs and it’s almost always 20 minutes before bedtime], a tv blaring with no one even in the room, a dog howling because there’s a train going by [or the ice cream truck which oddly enough is still making it’s rounds in January], one kid singing on her karaoke microphone stand that Santa was
dumb generous enough to get her, two to four kids involved in a dart war, one kid practicing her violin, a kid on the xBox, and someone saying “Mom/Alecia!!!” or “Dad/Gary!!!” over and over and over….and over. For us it’s nothing out of the ordinary. For outsiders it’s total chaos. And a form of birth control. Some even leave with a twitch.
I’ll be the first to admit that our house can get a little chaotic-ish. It’s not quite like this but close. Really close some days. For a while I would hear people compare our family or home to a circus or zoo. My feelings would get hurt! On the outside I would smile and chuckle and go along with it but on the inside I was thinking “Our house is NOT a circus. Why would they say that?” I imagined them coming over and thinking “Good Lord, here we go again. I can not wait to get out of here.” But then I realized, with a little help from Gary, that to other people it only seems like a circus because it’s not what they are used to. Chaos is defined as a state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization or order according to dictionary.com. That is so not the case at our house. We’re more like organized chaos which Urban Dictionary defines as a situation or place that seems to be in chaos, but has an underlying organization and pattern which is evident to those involved in the situation. This describes us much more accurately I believe. What other people see is chaos, what we see is organization.
Over the next few days I’ll be sharing with you all the things we do around here to make our daily lives seem a little less chaotic. In the meantime go to the Circus. No really! It’s in town! Go!