In the beginning, JD adamantly only wanted two children. I thought that four would be perfect. Once we caught God's vision of putting orphans into families, our plan was multiplied by God. We are currently blessed with 12 children; five biological, six adopted and one more waiting in Ethiopia. Our first adoption was from the U.S., the next three were from Liberia, West Africa, and our last two were from Ethiopia. We are supporting our 12th child in Ethiopia after her adoption could not pass court.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Balance Continued

Continuing with my balance post, I thought I'd share some of the practical day to day balances that I've had to strike to run a large family. When it comes to cleaning, we generally do everything only once a week. That means while I wipe down the kitchen multiple times a day and sweep the floor almost every day, we clean the appliances (stainless steel shows horrible finger prints,) clean behind all the counter clutter and mop the floor once a week. Does it really need it more? Yes, but that is adequate to keep it at a "stand able level" for me.

We also clean each bathroom once a week; I only clean the master bath and the children are designated the other bathrooms. Generally they don't do as good as a job as I do, but I don't have time to clean four bathrooms -  so again, it's the balance that we've struck.

I only dust and vacuum once a week as well. Thankfully, our Berber carpet really doesn't show dirt because I was forced to do it more frequently in other homes. I definitely know that since the vacuum canister goes from empty to full in one vacuum, I could stand to do it more; however, it takes a long time to declutter the floors for vacuuming, so it's also landed in the once a week list. 

I also make sure the kid's rooms, playroom and family room down-stairs are cleaned, swept or vacuumed once a week. Since these are all designated kid jobs, I have the found the saying, "kids do what you inspect NOT expect" to be very true. I normally check the job a few times before they are satisfactory but they do get it to that point.

I do have to do laundry every day! My oldest four completely do their own. When I do the younger kid's laundry, I put it in their designated basket and James, Ben and Tori fold and put away their own. (Tori just took over her clothes this fall.) This just leaves me four people that I have to fold and put away. Until recently, Alei did that folding for me, but I'm finding it piles up too high since she is going to school and working, so I've currently re assumed that job. Moriah is responsible for all the towels, so they go in a separate basket for her to put away. 

I also push the girl's hair to about three weeks when it really needs to be redone at two! That leaves me the rotation of Tori's one week, Julia's the next and then one week off. I usually pay Ben to take out Tori's but have to do both jobs of Julia's (she yells too loud for the kids.) Sometimes I do them the same day or split the take out and put back in over two days. 

I'm trying to focus on twice a week cooking and plan and prepare three to four days of food then. I'd love to do once a week on the weekends, but there are too many soccer games at this point. Maybe I can try that plan this winter. 

I am consciously making time for the Y right now. The kids love the twice a week homeschool PE classes, so a friend and I are working out during those two hours. My only challenge is Elijah right now because he hasn't been real excited about the playroom. I really hate to mess up our school day to leave the house, but my stress level needs the exercise even more than the kids. 

My biggest challenge is all my "town" runs that are unavoidable. At this point, there are still many doctor and therapy runs that throw off days that would otherwise be very productive. I push hard those mornings to get school done and dinner started just so I can head out in the afternoon. My favorite days are the days I don't have to leave the house but they are often few and far between.

I feel like I've rambled on for way too long, but I hope this may be of help to someone who is struggling with feeling like that can't do everything that needs to be done as well as they'd like. I don't either, but I think it's done enough that the kids don't live in a health hazard or will they remember their mother as a cleaning crazy woman (hopefully.) 

Why play in the playroom or bed room when you can drag it all into the living room? I'll miss the sweet little girl toys one day, so I just let them - but I do make them pick them up when they are done!

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