Saturday, July 16, 2011

10 things I do (or don't do) to make my life a little easier.

I (still for whatever reason) have people tell me how I must be SOOOooooOOOOooo patient...
or that I must be SOOOoooOOOooo organized...
or that I must be on some form of medication...
just because I can keep track of 7 kids while my hubby travels a great portion of the week, and not wind up on the news, in jail, or being hauled away by men in white jackets.

Uh huh... the 4 of you who actually KNOW me are laughing because:
A. You never know if you WILL see me on the news.
B. You have the men in white jackets on speed dial.
C. Jail sounds an awful lot like a spa vacation some days.

Well, truth is...
I have a few "tricks" ("cheats" actually) that help (in my opinion) A LOT when you have more kids than hands.

1. (this is where the FlyLady will have a coronary) Stop obsessing about the floors/walls/whatever being spotless while the kids are little still living at home. Know why? It is a NEVER ENDING CYCLE. You will wipe those handprints today, and probably again within the next 48-72 hours. Or... if you don't wipe them today... you'll probably wipe them in the next 48-72 hours. See where I'm going with this? Don't beat yourself up because you close the door to a kids' bedroom when company is coming over instead of making yourself nuts either forcing him/her/them to clean or WORSE - doing it yourself. If company shows up unexpectedly... a trick I learned from my grandmother... pull the vacuum out, plug it in and have it in hand when you answer the door. "Whew! If you stopped by an hour from now, you'd get the "after" shot!" AND... might I add... ANY friend who would stop by unexpectedly when you have multiple littles at home deserves whatever goo they happen to step into.

2. Figure out what your kids WILL eat without MUCH complaining and feed it to them. Yeah, yeah, yeah.. I hear you with your food pyramid/plate thingy... I know you are pureeing beets to put into your muffins...WHATEVER. Do what works when you need something that works! My kids eat cheeri0s (generic brand bought in bulk), 6-week muffins ala Family Feasts for $75 a week by Mary Ostyn, pancakes, or oatmeal PRETTY MUCH for breakfast. I throw some eggs in there every once in awhile... but they fuss and moan and part of each serving winds up in the dog bowl... so I figure, I will catch them up at another meal. I know what you are saying... "But Chrissy, my kids would eat mac and cheese every day, for lunch AND dinner and I just can't do that!!" Breathe.... first of all, I'm not saying become a short-order chef. I'm all for kids trying things that are new, but don't "die on that hill". There are a few battles with children that you will NEVER be able to win by force: eating, when they fall asleep, and potty training. So just RELAX a little. Kids taste buds are less mature than adults anyway, then add to that the whole new-texture thing and it's a disaster waiting to happen if you decide to do snails for dinner.

3. If you are a stay-at-home mom, by all means... try staying mostly at home. Sheesh. I know some SAHM's who rack up more miles than the UPS guy. Why do you do that to yourself? Find a day when you can run errands with either no kids or less kids in tow, and get them ALL done that day. Hire a teenager to just ride around with you and sit in the car with the kids while you run in to the post office, dry cleaners, and all the other places you need to run in for 5 seconds. It's WELL worth $10 and a Value Meal in my opinion not to have to un-buckle and re-buckle 800 times just to run a few errands.

4. I don't make beds. There. I said it. I just don't. Maybe someday this will become important to me... but for the past (almost) 35 years, it hasn't hit my important-o-meter.

5. I don't bathe my littles every night. I count playing in the sprinkler as a decent rinse-off after a hot summer day. I have an extensive hair-care routine with the littlest three and the bigger four can wash themselves... so I do group baths with the littles probably once a week, but I can assembly line wash them in the shower in less than 10 minutes. Hmm... which do I choose more often... hmmm...

6. I pay every.single.bill online. I hate stamps, I hate needing to mail bills and not knowing what checks are "out there". So I pay everything online. I have one Dr. bill I keep forgetting to pay... and ya know why? I have to mail the payment. They don't even do checks or debit cards over the PHONE! Ugh. The nerve.

7. I don't have guilt about not being Martha Stewart. I don't. I'm not going to grow and/or harvest/grind/sift my wheat in order to make bread that's as fresh as it can possibly be. I buy bread when it's 10/$10 (I do buy wheat...even if it's just colored brown with food dye... humor me) and I freeze loaves. I don't try to make all my kids clothes, I don't darn socks or patch knee holes. Sure... I'd like to do some crafty stuff here and there, but I am not going to EVER compare my house to a magazine spread and start feeling guilty because we have fur and toys and socks and whatever-the-heck-else-someone-left-on-the-floor instead of handmade throw pillows made from leftover men's neckties and stuffed with recycled dryer lint. Nope.

8. I don't cloth diaper. Granted, baby boy is (please, Lord) nearing the end of his diaper/potty training escapades... but seriously?? I tried it. I was miserable. It created more laundry and more stress and I HATED it. Sorry, green-police... but there's a disposable diaper landfill somewhere with my name on it.

9. Laundry. Okay... My big 3 can do their own laundry. The older two can do the whole thing, but I start the washer for #3's clothes. She can do the dryer and they can all fold and put away. #4 shares a room/laundry bin with baby boy, so I wash all their stuff together and fold it then send it back to his room to sit in those baskets until I lose my mind and go lecture about how much easier it would be to find socks if they were in a drawer instead of at the bottom of a stack of shirts. The little 3 of course, I wash their stuff. I recently started taking hubby's stuff - almost all of his shirts and all work pants- to the dry cleaners. It's just a good thing. I HATE to iron. HATE it. I hate laundry in general, but I especially detest ironing. He hates it when I hang up shirts without ironing them, so the alternative was a giant pile of shirts folded in half in a basket near the ironing board, which I also hated. So, the dry cleaner is a marriage AND time saver. Win/Win.

10. I try, try, try to go to bed with an empty kitchen sink and the coffee pre-set to start at 5:45am. For the MOST part, that's the time the first of the littles wakes up 7 days a week. Coffee brewing in the kitchen seems to make it less painful to drag my sleepy butt out of bed and down the stairs at 6am on a Saturday. The  empty sink just makes me happy. It means this day is over and we start fresh tomorrow. I hate soaking dishes or if I forget to run the dishwasher after lunch and all the dinner stuff won't fit... I wind up doing dishes at 6am because it makes me crazy, and THAT is not fun.

Okay... that's me...
Any confessions on stuff YOU just DON'T do?
Any additional tips for me??


  1. I am all over the not cleaning things unless they need it. My bathrooms get "cleaned" like once a month maybe. Yes that is gross but I clean up the boys pee as I see it with a rag and spritz disinfectent when I need to. My bathroom I wipe the counter when it grosses me out and its swept after hair cuts. Our kids are 7, 5, 4, 3, 1, and 1 so when I don't have stuff to do all day long I'm asleep or vegging. I clean in 5-10 minute spurts a few times a day bit its normally dishes. Dishes are the big thing to me, I don't hate them anymore and would rather they be done then staring at me. I'm on board with most of what you said. Oh I only have 4-5 days of clothes in the kids drawers....then I HAVE to do laundry wed/sat or they don't have clothes. And I no longer fold the kids clothes, I throw them in their drawers sorted.

  2. There will be plenty of time later in your life to have your house all clean and organized all the time when you kids are grown. I agree with the bath thing too! Why do kids need a bath every night? I could never leave dishes in the sink over night...simply because I didn't want to have to look at them first thing in the morning! I would stay up and make sure all the dishes were done before I went to bed no matter what! Enjoy your days and time with your babies while they are with you! They grow up way, way too fast!

  3. I cloth diaper my one kid. But it has NOTHING to do with the green police and everything to do with saving money. :)
    I doubt I'd do it if I were doing laundry for 6 people though. I hate doing it for 3.

  4. Oh, Chrissy, we are kindred spirits. Thanks for sharing.

  5. 1. I love your stuff, truly! 2. I feel guilty with these admissions because I only have two children. 3. I don't make beds. I don't even make our bed unless company is coming. 4. Your grandmother's tip about the vacuum is pure brilliance and I intend to use it liberally. 5. I often let our pool "bathe" the kids. 6. I'm fairly good about cleaning the house when I'm NOT on vacation...I try to clean weekly. I'm on vacation now, and just recently realized what a sty I'd let our home become. Went through two mop heads yesterday, just for our bathroom and the kid's bathroom. Eeeeuw. Had to wash them before I do the kitchen...which I still haven't done. 7. I have the pickiest eater known to man in my 6 year old son, and I've just about given up. He'll eat something one day.

    Cheers to you, Chrissy!!!


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