Saturday, September 19, 2009
Keys to Family of Four: Constant Motion
A long time ago my friend Ann, said casually that she was certain I could do something or other as we're moms and we just keeping in going until it is done. My Grandma Dotter certainly thought so as I think she possibly forgot how to rest at some point. Brent and I are finding one of our keys to transitioning to a family of four is to remaining in constant motion (you know, things in motion tend to remain moving etc...), but reserving a little bit of wind-down time for things we enjoy at the end of the day.
We've switched from zone to man-to-man defense with the kids as Eric might say. We switch assignments as necessary, but usually have one primary kid we're watching and just backing up on the other. This, of course, only applies when we're both here. There are still some tasks that belong more to one of us- for instance Brent is the king of bathtime for both kids while I do primarily do prep and follow-up. We're flexible, but it seems to work.
The second key is that we have to be cleaning, neatening, organizing, picking up all the time. We tended to do this in more spurt-like fashion before. Now, if one load of dishes and two loads of laundry aren't completed every 36 hours things fall behind and playing catching up is something we can't face. We're committed to our kids and their stuff being clean. Part of the increase is due to the number of bottles involved and some extra laundry is B related. Whatever the cause, the extra laundry and dishes are find with us to keep everyone clean, dry and fed.
We're much more systematic about chores now. B is helping pick up more and with much less struggle. He puts his dishes in the sink, his toys away, and his clothes in the hamper on near- autopilot now. Brent and I just as automatically make four bottles before going to sleep, and start a load of laundry first thing each day. We have a tendency towards stacks and clutter, but we're trying to learn to clean them each day rather than when the table has been overcome.
Don't mistake me, with the chaos and kids currently going on all this cleaning, organizing, helping, and working together does not make our house pristine, a show piece or in some rooms even organized. However, we're all working as a team and working consistently towards a common goal. It feels good and hopefully our system will continue to evolve as our needs and challenges change. For now, it just feels like maybe we're finding some overall rhythm which is a relief. B is pulling up too. Not quite normal, but getting closer and a happier boy definitely helps as much as our new strategies, or perhaps they its a circle with each helping the other.