How often do I get asked “Where on earth do you find the time?” Frankly there are only twenty four hours in a day. And alas we have to sleep for some of them!!! I think what happens so easily is we try and do too much, we spread ourselves thin. And I have to say my mantra is “Slow and Steady Wins the Race…” and this is the key for us having time to do what needs to be done and then time to do a bit more as well!!! We don’t have to grasp every opportunity, we don’t have to go on every outing… We do need to be ready for whatever each day brings, predictable or unpredictable as that may be!!!
- Where do you find the time to keep up with chores…
We have a rhythm to our chores and they follow on after each other… When I get up in the morning I make the bed, as I leave the bedroom I make sure everything is picked up… as I leave the bathroom I make sure everything is as I would like to find it. I usually mop the floor for the first time as I leave the bathroom (five boys – trust me I am intimately acquainted with the bathroom floor)… As I leave the couch, we always read a few stories first thing, I make sure the lounge is picked up. We don’t start breakfast before everything is ready for visitors – even if we aren’t having any!!! Some folk like to dress up for the day, well we like to be ready for any interruptions in our day!!!
- Where do you find time for big projects like household maintenance…
There are huge projects, I try and tackle a big project a week. Most of them I can do slow and steadily, seriously fifteen minutes of focus a day is phenomenal!!! Sometimes you just have to do a project in a massive kind of a way. The best way I have found is to just start, don’t wait for “the baby” to sleep, trust me kids know you are up to something and they won’t nap for a week!!! Last week I tackled the garden, tossed a blanket in the shade and Hood #8 was content to roll about and keep an eye on me – and get totally exhausted!!! This week I am organizing school stuff on a grand scale and he has been playing with finger puppets under foot. Really just starting, trust me I would rather never start but somethings really must be done!!! Once you get rolling you can keep at it. Progress is very motivating!!! I think the secret here is to just have one BIG project going at a time, this is my fatal flaw, I really want to conquer everything in a day and need to remind myself to start one thing and not move on until it is finished!!!
- Where do you find the time to do school and projects with your kids…
This one I cannot answer, it is one of those mysteries of life. As I come to the end of any school vacation I wonder how on earth we will fit school into our days and yet we always do. Everyone has a clear idea of what they are meant to be doing for school and while I am training the little scholars that a page or two from each book is actually required my older kids know the drill and get on with it. My little little ones are happy enough to putter along beside us or sit in the middle of the table tossing markers – whatever!!! We will manage each event as it arises and plod on from meal to meal… for certain growing lads that’s all that really counts!!!
I guess if you read our blog it looks like we are always doing projects and outings and we are… but seriously not every moment of everyday!!! We post one recipe, one craft and one outing a week… that isn’t really that much. I am not spending my days making pipe-cleaner people with my kids!!! That doesn’t mean my kids aren’t doing their own projects and getting stuck into new ideas… I am a firm believer in getting things done alongside them!!! My kids know I am their mother and not the actual entertainment!!! I am still on call to fill a cup, to pass a snack, to help with toileteering, to listen to a “he said/she said”… but this is alongside the things we are actually doing.
- Where do you find the time to read a book…
Kids are watching!!! And I must practice what I preach – seriously if they never see you reading why will they think you value it!!! And I do, value reading. I really want my kids to love reading. Books are the ultimate transporter and can literally take you anywhere. So while we read hundreds of books together, my kids are quite familiar with seeing me read a book for my own self – and not just Curious George!!! Also I grew up without a TV and our kids have no idea that there is actually a picture on that grey box in the cupboard, unless the father person is home on weekends. Really even if they knew I don’t think we would have time for TV because our days are full as it is!!!
- Where do you find the time for one on one with each kid…
I like my kids and I love spending time with them. I don’t have a stop watch to check that everyone gets exactly 27 minutes of my time each day, but I do spend time with each one… It might be a reading lesson in my lap, it might be hanging washing alongside another or watering their plants with them. I don’t spend time with just one child doing something and banishing every one else. I also don’t check to see that every one has exactly the same number of minutes. Mostly my kids know that time with me means work!!! I find if we are focusing on a job together it gives us a great opportunity to talk and just hang out with them.
- Where do you find the time for friends….
I have just recently learnt a truth about visitors and friends, for years I would gasp at the thought of folk coming round – getting school done before hand, the house picked up and so on. But “Lightbulb Moment” the house is pretty much picked up (we have a quick clean-up before each meal) and, as I said, school gets done!!! The thing about having friends over is that generally you stop and have a break with them!!! Lovely, why haven’t I noticed this before!!! If we don’t have visitors I am squeezing every last possible thing in until right before a meal and zooting off straight after. It is very hard to be content if you are always dashing onto the next thing. Visitors force me to get started timeously for meals and actually just enjoy a meal in my own home and linger a bit!!!
- Where do you find the time to spend time with the father person…
There are different plains and dynamics in a family, now while our kids are young we are able to have our own time “over their heads.” Taking the kids outdoors really helps, nothing keeps kids busier than a paddle in a river or a stroll at the beach and this gives us plenty of time to spend time together. Our kids go to bed pretty early and we have evenings with each other, often we work alongside each other and chat as we go… you can get a lot said in kid-free time!!! I still get taken out – but we like going out as a family and generally take our kids along with us!!! Yup it is expensive to take me out for coffee (!!!), shows great commitment when you have to buy a number of “Little Cups of Chinno’s” (capuchino) to go with it!!! But it can be done. We need a certain amount of oneness to parent and our kids have to know we are a team. We work best when we are up-to-date and generally we catch up each evening on who did what and what their latest tricks are!!!
And the “Se7en + 1” th thing:
- Where do you find the time for yourself…
A huge chunk of my own time is spent blogging, I love it!!! If it ever feels like work I take a break from it… a blog does survive if you don’t post every moment of every day!!! Otherwise, I go to gym or run errands without kids – doesn’t sound too wild I know but lets just say the clear air and not having to listen to little voices for a stretch of time is all the break I need to feel recharged and to miss my kids and want to hurry straight back home to them!!!
I guess the secret to finding time is limiting yourself to the things that are really important to you and then getting on with them. We live in era where we must try everything, keep all our options open just in case of an opportunity!!! How many times folk say they can’t come over they are already doing four or five outings on a day – gasp!!! Slowing down has really worked for us. Starting things well in advance to prevent last minute panics… Seriously, “Less is so much More.” “Slow and Steady” really works for us!!!
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This Post was hammered out as part of The Thirty Minute Mom’s Challenge at Steady Mom. The photographs took a bit longer than usual I didn’t have any clocks in my flickr pool and couldn’t even find se7en around the house!!!
I popped this post onto the Works For Me Wednesday Site – go and have a look there for all sorts of tips on absolutely anything.