Sorry to make you wait for the answer to this...my fave question of all..... How do I do IT all?
And my answer is......I don't. And I don't mean someone else does it either, no maid, no butler, no laundry elf. Although I did think I had one of those, a laundry elf, that is. Clothes suddenly started appearing clean, dry and folded in a big pile on my bed to be sorted! After a few days of this, I realized Chase was making a few too many trips to the basement and the "elf" was caught.
Since I tend to do crazy things like separate white and darks, treat stains, use fabric softener, clean the dryer vent and not dry swimsuits in the dryer, I had to discourage (almost twist his arm) to get him to STOP. I made sure he knew he didn't have to do the laundry, but he wanted to, as he said he was "bored."
Then Chloe yelled at him for drying her swimsuit, and he informed me I needed to give him something else to "do" just it had to be "in the house." I started to wonder who these kids really belonged to, although not so much after that comment, then when I showed him how to dust and he said "no, you do it." I knew then he was MINE, ALL MINE.
So I am the laundry queen again. He told me he was doing the laundry because "Mother no fast enough." Meaning the plum colored shirt he LOVES was getting washed every evening so it could be worn again the next day for DAYS. He doesn't know I deliberately do not wash things too fast so they can't be re worn too often. I like to see them in different outfits(imagine that), since they DO have them. See his nice gray shirt he wore today- no purple in sight:)
The kids help with dishes, but I cheat and use foam plates as well-- yeah, my big shame of not being GREEN. I cook supper every night and we eat at the table with the kids, it's just a super way to connect with everyone. I guess many families don't do that anymore?
Once in a while hubby will grill or even just cook something I have planned to help out. He also is the "run to practice" parent. He will usually spend at least 4 nights a week taking one kid or many on bike rides, working on bikes or something in the garage with him, doing something kid oriented. So he is a big help and good Baba.
I am kinda picky, I like beds made when you get out of them, towels hung up, clothes put away, and I don't mean ME doing it all. I also do not allow one bite of food ( for the kids) to go past my dining room (dining room and kitchen) doorway. I hung a sign at that doorway when I started this and we only needed it for a week or so and even visiting kids hear "you can't take that in there." It's a HUGE no-no. This keeps SOOO much of the mess down, especially with kids who eat dry noodles that fall all over the floor! And shoes go off at the door.
I expect that the older ones help the smaller ones, not so much to do everything for them, but to make them a bowl of cereal, pour a drink, to keep them from making a mess. And really Kat will be 7 soon and she is the only one who even needs help. Everyone is potty trained, no one gets up at night, usually. I have rules against yelling or running in the house. People visit and are surprised how quiet the house is. They expect chaos. I'm not fond of chaos and know children do not thrive in chaos, so even these 2 small rules help tremendously.
Why? Well... if someone is loud, they are either laughing, which is fine and good or yelling- aka, fighting and need to be watched that it's not getting out of hand. I can keep stock of what is going on really easily. And running in the house with clumsy children who never had to respect anything equals broken stuff, hurt children.
NOT that it doesn't happen, broken things, yelling kids, but at least I feel some measure of control over the household with rules that are simple but honored. I'm baffled by parents, including ones I have babysat, fostered, that have no rules, don't want to "upset" their children. Or have the kids "not like you." HUH? I don't get this. Are they supposed to like us? Someone forgot to tell me that, because I was told to PARENT them, not be their friend.
Even though I am admitting I am "kinda" picky, I do not, will not, ever, put cleaning ahead of the kids. My house is pretty clean most of the time, but you can and will find dust if you look for it. You will also see happy kids. I don't know of anyone who has "cleanest house keeper ever" on their tombstone and it's NOT what I want to be remembered for. Had happy kids, blessed by kids, enjoyed being a mother, a wife, made a difference for someone else in this world- that's what I want to be known for. Not my dusting ability.
As far as my time goes-- I expect the kids to take down time. That is, we do NOT need to have something to do every day. I don't like having to run somewhere every day. I frankly think we, as a society fill our lives with too much noise, busyness, that we never have a minute to take time to hear GOD. He speaks to us, but in times of SILENCE. We have to listen for Him. So I want my kids to know "bored is not BAD" it's okay to be still, have quiet time and be silent. Too many of our kids today are lost somewhere in their "stuff" that they can't seem to function without. And sadly, they are. Lost to God and His word. His amazing blessings for their lives, all because they are so BUSY and too loud to hear Him. To take time for Him.
It's my quiet time, if I am reading or watching TV that I sit down and usually at least one kid is sitting on the arm of my chair, or at the very least on the floor with their feet up on ME. They come to me if they need something, even if they are just needing a snuggle, to sit next to me. I can usually tell if something is bothering them, knowing each one as well as I do. If someone is either too quiet or whiny (depends on what kid it is) it's usually my sign they need some momma time.
I am sure that some days, I come up short. I used to fret terribly, about what I did not accomplish each day for this child or that one. Now, I put God first as well as being an older mother and I get it. I am not doing anything but beating up myself by focusing on what I was not doing for my kids. Wasting time. Do I have time to waste? NO way! So I stopped stressing, and it wasn't so hard to be sure the important things get covered. And my children thrive when I am not stressed and can give them the best I have. Even though there are many of them.
I deeply believe that God gave us these last 4 that put us up from a "large" family with 6 kids to a "mega" family with 10 kids. He knows us inside and out so He knew our abilities and chose us to parent these wonderful children. We honor that by CHERISHING them as the precious children they are.
BTW, yes, the One Child Policy is in effect for people of Han descent only. I spoke of this in terms of our kids since all children being adopted from Ch*na are supposed to be of Han descent, since it is the largest group of people. Minority groups are not held to the same rule due to their group dying out if they have a one child per couple limitation. I would guess our kids are all Han, the twins are 5 ft 1 inch, Chase is 5 ft 8 in. Tall for Chase but not overly tall as Han either.
That Chloe has been cracking me up, I gotta tell you a few stories about her, but I'll save those for next time:) Leaving you hangin' AGAIN!