First of all, a mom of four doesn’t get.it.all.done. She selectively neglects things. Then she employs strategies to take care of things she doesn’t neglect, all the while monitoring those strategies to make sure they remain needed and effective.
Some of my strategies:
- use a planner/calendar system – I’ve been using Lotus Organizer on the computer for years. I don’t have to rewrite my tasks daily. I can move them on the computer if I realize that I’ve overscheduled myself. My only complaint is that I can’t get the daily page to print in the format that I really want. In addition, I make up pages in Word and Excel and print them out for my 8×10 planner that sits in the kitchen. Another part of my system are the free monthly calendar pages that I found at www.donnayoung.org
- I keep my house relatively clutter free. When you have four kids, particularly little kids, things can get spread out through the house. Little kids love to get into Mommy and Daddy’s stuff if it’s accessible. We do keep a fair amount of stuff in the basement and attic, but the daily living spaces remain as open as possible. I try to tidy as I go because given Murphy’s Law, if I think someone will make a mess of my papers, it will happen.
- I stay home most of the time with only a few well-chosen activities outside the house. This keeps me and the kids relatively sane. We can keep a nap schedule. I can spend time cooking and working with the kids and doing other stuff.
- I am training the kids to do chores. Right now it takes time, but I’m focused on the payoff. They learn how to take care of a house and I get help. After all, we all helped make the house dirty; we can all work to clean it up.
- I do something creative almost daily. Right now, it’s knitting. I keep my projects small, like socks, or simple, like the red sweater that I’m knitting for my oldest son. I work in the evening when the demands of the day are mostly over.
- I exercise. Up until my fourth baby, I walked around the neighborhood using a double jogging stroller for the two little guys. Now, I’m using a treadmill in the basement. I can hop on it when I have time and the kids can play with their toys nearby. I have the baby set up in a wind-up baby swing next to the treadmill. I keep my weights nearby.
- And finally, I see my husband as my partner. We’re a team. We’re not a perfect team and we still have a lot to learn about communicating, but we’re willing to work at it.