Okay, so it's more than a little ironic that it's taken me such a long time to get around to sharing a post about how I organize my time. It seems I still have a lot to learn about balance in time management.
On the last Large Family Living posts (here and here), I had several people ask questions about how on earth I manage my time, or how I give each of my children enough "quality time" each day. I want to address the time issue in two pieces: what my day looks like, and spending time with my kids.
Like most moms, I have 2 different daily schedules. No, not weekdays and weekends. In our house, it's Daddy's Home or Daddy's At Work. Let's start with a Daddy's At Work weekday.
6:15 Alarm goes off. I go wake Hannah up and lay her clothes out (if I haven't put them out the night before). Hannah takes longer than anyone to get dressed and moving, so she gets up first.
I take my shower and get dressed. After I get out of the shower, I wake up Eli & Jack, then I fix Hannah's hair and wake Brianna. Next, I open the door to the Panda Room. Katie yells, "Hi Mommy!" and Luke starts whining. I say, "Hi Katie! Take your jammies off!" and start getting Luke changed and dressed. Katie has learned to undress herself and take her night AFO off and take her laundry out to the basket in the hall. Once Luke is dressed, I dress Katie and fix her hair.
Little people go downstairs for breakfast, I run a rake through my hair and get ready to walk out the door.
7:30 Everybody in the van! One of the kids goes across the street to get the Chinese exchange student our neighbors are hosting who goes to Sam's school. I love, love, love carpooling!
We drop off Sam and V, and when Hannah is on track, we circle around and drop her off next, then we head home to get started on the day.
Jack empties the dishwasher, Eli cleans up after breakfast, Brianna usually hops on the computer (supposedly to hit XtraMath or our new foreign language program, but just as often, there's a tab with Pinterest or Tanki or Mini Clip open). Hannah brings the upstairs laundry down, and then she, Katie, and Luke play in the playroom. Often, during this time, I'm vacuuming and sprucing up downstairs and starting a load of laundry. Other times, I get sucked into the computer, and I'm dealing with the bazillion emails that stack up almost instantly.
Once the boys are done in the kitchen, we start school. School usually consists of reviewing our memory work, then reading from either the Bible or Journey Through The Bible for historical context, and then we have history/science/art/read aloud as needed. It's a flexible schedule. Somewhere in there, the kids rotate using their computer for their "math vitamin" (like online flash cards) and their foreign language program.
11:30 is lunchtime. Whatever group stuff hasn't happened by then is just going to have to wait until another day. The older kids make their own lunch, I make lunch for the littles, and after we eat, Brianna cleans up. Then we start NAP TIME.
Nap time means quiet for a couple hours. Luke sleeps. Katie is about half and half as to whether she sleeps or not, but she's quiet in her bed (for the most part) during that time. Hannah has been playing on her Leap Pad during naps, but we had to go back to napping when she was zombie-like after naps were over. Tired kids are cranky. I'm not big on cranky. She still falls asleep about half the time, so I think she needs it. When she's in school, she doesn't get to nap, so weekend naps are her "catch up" sleep.
During nap time, Jack is supposed to work on Math and Word Building (spelling). Eli has math and sometimes a journal assignment to complete, if he had writer's block earlier in the morning. Brianna has math and assigned reading. All the kids can do free reading and quiet activities when they're done with their work. For Bri, this usually means computer or knitting. For Eli, it could be making airplanes or paracord bracelets, or reading, or napping. Jack usually ends up playing cars or Legos.
After naps, Luke often has therapy, Samuel comes home from school, and the other kids play. Once the therapist leaves, I'll start dinner. The little kids get baths next, and then get ready for bed. Sometimes there's a Netflix on my computer, sometimes they play for a while, when it's been crazy, they can read in bed for a bit.
Hannah, Katie, and Luke go to bed at 8. The older kids are supposed to go to bed at 9, but some of them are horrible about actually doing so. Pretty much every night, I end up with at least 3 knocks on my bedroom door after I've gone to bed. Sometimes it's all different kids, sometimes it's the same one over and over and OVER.
Often, in the evenings, I'll watch Netflix with one or both of the teen boys as our time to unwind and laugh together and hang out after the littles are in bed. They're both good about helping me with the younger kids, and I know they need the quieter, down-time as much as I do.
That's the basic skeleton framework of my day. When Paul is at home, it's a little easier, because he does morning carpool, so I don't have to get everyone out the door at 7:30, but we're still up and moving. There are always other things that come up; park days, medical appointments, Mommy-needs-a-trip-to-Target-to-reset-her-batteries, etc, but this is pretty much how things flow.
In my next Large Family Living post, I'll address spending time with the kids, and "quality time."
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