Something needs to change around here. I’ve been making little changes, here and there, but the big picture is not improving. We homeschool, but I am not getting my end of the schoolwork done, and half the time the kids lie and say they have done theirs when they haven’t. Laundry piles up. The kids’ rooms are trashed. The floors are dirty, etc., etc. The yard tends toward unkempt, the gardens not fully stocked each year. The kids have a relatively short chore list that doesn’t take very long each day, but getting them to do it is like pulling a tiger’s teeth without anesthesia. I think Kender needs more 1-on-1 time with us to work on skills, but I’m not sure where to add it in.
So, I am going to provide the existing parameters of my life, and seek crowdsourced suggestions for how to run it better. The parameters I give are generally things that cannot be changed, either because of medical conditions or personal ethics, although help making them work better is always good. You can see my current daily routines on my “How We Do It” page, to reference how we are trying to do things now. It is a system that used to work wonderfully for me, but now it is in shambles. Rather than continue on in the insanity of doing the same thing and expecting different results, let’s try something completely different.
Please feel free to share this around. The more input I have to work with, the better my chances of success, I think.
Here are our parameters:
- Family of 8, including a blind husband and 6 children ages 13, 13, 13, 10, 7, 4.
- The 4-year-old is blind and autistic, and developmentally not quite 2…maybe…almost.
- Food in our home is free of modern wheat, due to mine and Kender’s sensitivities. We do use gluten-free products occasionally, but we prefer to home-make items using spelt flour to save on money. I prefer not to even buy wheat products for those who can eat them because it is too easy for Kender to get into them.
- My husband works a very difficult job with lots of overtime and working-from-home expected, in order to be the primary income provider for our family. I do not expect anything from him when he is home as far as daily chores and home maintenance, although I appreciate his help when he can. I consider the home and kids to be my job.
- My daily routine includes prayer and meditation. I would like also to include daily religious study time.
- I need daily exercise time. Currently I am cycling with light yoga on my off days. The exercise keeps my metabolism and energy up, improves my endocrine function, maintains my strength, and helps in dealing with my chronic pain issues. Saturdays are rest days because of rituals and other planned activities.
- We homeschool. Although some of our children may attend high school if they choose, for the younger ones this is non-negotiable. Currently we are using an Oak Meadow curriculum, which I really like (and already paid over $1,000 for all six kids for this year), but I am open to suggestions, including the possibility of having Oak Meadow’s teachers monitor my older kids’ work.
- Money is perpetually tight. I try to keep a close rein on the budget, but I have to balance that against the time I need to spend with the kids, etc. Ideas that are cost-neutral are much preferred, although if an expense makes my life enough easier, I can ramp up my work-from-home activities to cover it.
- The kids are difficult to motivate. They love their computers and books, several of them are on the autism spectrum, and they have a tendency to half-do jobs and then get grumpy when this is pointed out.
As responses start coming in, I will work on implementing every suggestion that I can, in the spirit of trying everything and ruling out nothing. I will report back on my results on a regular basis, posted under the new category of Run My Life, so be sure to check back!
Hey, I saw your note about how you only got one recommendation–about laundry– and I just wanted to say–I wanted to give you something, I really did, esp as I’ve been raising kids for a long time and remember a time when I was as buried as you sound here. But guess what? At that time I was still in my 20s, only had two or three kids who were neurotypical and physically healthy and able. I sent them to school. I sometimes planted a garden but sometimes not, even though gardening is a big LDS cultural thing. I didn’t have food storage, another big LDS cultural thing. I let those things go (and felt guilty). We had more money than most of our peers. Brett helped, even though he was the sole wagearner working two jobs. And I was still drowning. My house was a disaster. My life was pretty close to a disaster at times.
So I didn’t post anything. And then, today, after I read your blog alert–not the blog, just the bit about how you only got the one suggestion with the link to your post–I went to your page and read post after post that, had I seen them all together before, would have caught my attention. But because they came in between other people’s God-loves-yous and Here’s-what-I’m-doing and I-hate-the-other-party-because posts, I didn’t realize what I was seeing.
And now all I can say is, Elayne. You’ve had a lot of stuff dropped on your plate, and you fill up the edges with other things. It’s not always gonna work. Let anything go you can–I know that might not add up to much. Understand that in spite of all Brian is doing, you are possibly doing as much or more. Think closely about that. If he’s not resistant, let him help, ASK for help now and then even. Sit everyone down and explain that it’s not working, point out that they must have noticed. Not having laundry done, having messy rooms that make it hard for them to find things, having a stressed-out mom doesn’t make their lives any better; invite them to recognize how the chaos affects them negatively. Invite their suggestions–is there anything they can do to improve things? Do they have any ideas to make things work better? Do they have any ideas for you?
I hope you can find some things that work.
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