What is my everyday life like with 6 and 5 year old boys and 3 and 19 month old girls? Oh, and I’m 2 weeks away from adding a newborn to the mix too! Well…messy, of course, but organised. It’s organised mess. Messy because small children get about the house like sticky tornadoes and organised because, I have a plan. I love our household. I adore every one of my children and feel so incredibly blessed to have them in my life. Having this many children in such a small space of time has forced me to learn about organisation (I’m naturally a relaxed – go-with-the-flow messy person) It has forced me to learn about homemaking and how to master skills like doing laundry and cooking (when I left home I didn’t even know how to use a washing machine.) It has forced me to learn how to ignore what I know I can’t get done. And has taught me to surrender my to do list to the Lord then just breathe and rely on him for wisdom in many situations I thought I couldn’t possibly handle.
Ultimately because of these four (soon to be five) precious little people the Lord has given me to care for – I am becoming a better person. The Lord is using many small children to help shape me more into the likeness of Christ. I am truly humbled.
A few years ago when I was pregnant with my first baby I read an article about keeping house when you have small children. I soaked up all the wisdom and experience from this mum of 6 and her words have helped me greatly in the last few years. The mess in the house can get overwhelming if you let it get to you. Only people who have lived with a curious toddler can understand just how quickly a house can go from spotless clean to a chaotic disaster just in one morning alone. The more children you have – the more the mess also multiplies. And I don’t just mean toys…there are all kinds off mess. Just tonight I walked into the bathroom after my 3 year old had used it. There was a trail of toilet paper across the floor, soap covering the entire sink and dripping onto the floor and some suspicious brown stuff all over the sink.
“Is that poo all over the sink” I called out…
“Yep.” a little voice called back, obviously feeling quite proud of themselves for how thoroughly they washed their hands.
Young children don’t mean to be so messy – they just are, they can’t help it. Our job is to love them anyway, don’t get upset, just get in there and clean it up. They will learn, they will grow.
Back to the article I was saying about – the advice this lady gave me was that while you have small children and no older children the best way to keep up with the housework is to focus on three main areas that are necessities to keeping a household functioning.
If you can learn to keep up with these three household tasks and learn to do them well then your busy house full of little people will survive and thrive through this time. If we can do these three things then we’re laughing. All the other things will get done at some point or another. Just let go and try to stop fretting.
- Meals are important and top of my list because we all need to eat. I like to prioritise meals and everything to do with making them. Like meal planning, shopping, writing lists and I have a set time everyday – 4pm- where I stop whatever I’m doing and I devote that time to cooking a healthy meal for my family.
- Dishes are important because we need clean plates, bowls and utensils to eat with and clean pots and pans to cook with. So I try to do the dishes after every meal before I move on to the next activity we have planned for our day. My husband is the BEST dish washer in the world. When I’ve been having one of those days where it feels like I’ve been running around the house putting out fires, he will come home and wash ‘Mount Dishmore’ until every last one is clean. I love that guy.
- Laundry is up there in the important list because we all wear clothes. Like everyday. Six people wearing clothes everyday, plus toilet trainers who go through multiple sets of clothes a day, not to mention wet beds = washing piling up quickly! The best thing I have learned; is to do 2 (often more) loads of washing everyday – except Sunday. That is my rest day. I fold a basket of laundry and put it away every afternoon that I’m home when my toddler is napping and my other children are doing their maths or reading lesson on the computers. That way the laundry monster never gets too huge and scary. It’s rarely completely finished. But seriously, it’s not even possible to have the laundry completely caught up unless we all walked around naked for a day. So I just work on it a bit each day and this seems to work best for me at the moment.
If you are a mum to one small child or have a three story shoe rack at the back door like I do – be encouraged. Your house doesn’t have to look like an article from ‘House Beautiful.’ That is a set up photo shoot. And this is real life. Real life with small children is messy. Lets embrace the mess, love our children and try our best to enjoy this stage of our lives because little kids are so cute and so much fun!