Monday, May 12, 2008

Staying Sane and Enjoying Life during the busy years

Well it's been a rather odd year for me and I thought I'd share a few things that I've learned in hopes that other mamas of lots of little ones will benefit.
It's been almost a full year since I began dealing with postpartum hyperthyroidism
and while I've had a few good months where I thought that I was "normal" again I mostly have to judge things on a day to day basis. Some days are good, others are bad to very bad. But one of the blessings in all of this is that it has forced me to be a bit more creative than I normally would have been and it has forced me to slow down.
Two things have been absolutely key to maintaining sanity for all of us.
First, training my children to clean and help and then actually utilizing them. I don't think I would have realized how much they are really capable of and how much they enjoy helping if it hadn't been absolutely necessary for me to rely on them. My older three are amazing little cleaners! They can each clear and wipe off the table and highchair, unload and load the dishwasher, and sweep floors. All four of the older ones are very adept at emptying trash cans and carrying dirty laundry downstairs to the laundry room and then bringing clean laundry back up (some days I'm not physically able to walk the stairs). I'm currently expanding their work experience portfolio to include washing, and drying dishes by hand and wiping down counters. The other day I needed the fridge cleaned out but didn't know how I'd get it done so I assigned them to the job and they all worked like a well-oiled machine to empty, wipe down and return the food! What a blessing they all are to me:)
The second "must" has been inspired by other mama's. It is a daily "Quiet Time". Every day from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. you will hear classical music playing from the radio but no other noise except the rustling of pages. I am blessed to be able to separate each child to a different room at this point but can see it working just as well if I had to separate them in different parts of one room. For now Wesley and William lay down in their beds and 90% of the time take a nap, while Alissa, Tom and Emily take turns spending their hour at the kitchen table, the livingroom couch or my bed. I spend my time parked in the recliner with my feet up, a book in my lap, a cup of water and tea by my side and a piece of dark chocolate melting in my mouth:)
I cannot tell you how wonderful and refreshing this time is for all of us. The kids get to do their own thing during that time without having to share or take turns which means that when they come back together to play they are much more equipped to play well together. I let them choose books to read or listen to (with headphones), puzzles to put together, paper dolls to play with, coloring books and crayons to use and other "quiet toys". My only requirement is that they must return everything they use to it's proper place at the end of the hour.
Most days I spend my time reading for the first 30 mins and then napping for the remainder of the time. I have found it best to turn the ringer off on the phone so that none of us are distracted by the noise and I do require that if any of the kids do any talking that they whisper.

That's about all I have to share for nuggets of wisdom today:) Now I think I"ll follow another good piece of advice and get myself to bed!

step by step,

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My Little Corner

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