Thursday, January 7, 2010

A glimpse of my day

Nothing much has been going on around here. I have not had time to blog as often as I would like to just because life with five kids keeps me busy. Most of my evenings after the kids are in bed are spent straightening the house, and reading lots of different interesting books.

For lack of having the ambition to write about anything more interesting, I thought I would share about my everyday life, the way it is on most days. Some days are really easy and smooth, some days are back-to-back emergencies and unexpected events throwing me off schedule, but most days are a healthy balance of "good" and "bad". Of course, at the end of the day, as long as everyone is safe and cozy, it was a good day no matter what happened.

When I say "schedule", I don't mean a minute-by-minute plan of how I am going to spend my day. It is more of a routine, and I may get to certain points of that routine at different times each day, depending on how many unavoidable distractions come up. Each day of the week also has it's own character. Mondays and Thursdays usually end up being more dominated by laundry, because of church on Sundays and Wednesdays. Tuesday mornings the kids go to P.E., which means getting up and out of the house by 8:30 and then having less time to do what else we usually do in the mornings. Fridays is our off day - no school, just field trips, music lessons, experiments, cooking projects, library, etc. Saturday is cleaning day, and when the house is all done, the kids get their weekly allowances and we usually go somewhere fun. Sunday is obviously all about church and the related activities.

Most weekdays, I get up around 6 or 6:30, although I really should be getting up about a half hour earlier than that. In the winter, it's just too cold and dark for me. :) In the winter, the kids wake up on their own sometime between 7 and 8 - unless we have to go somewhere, I do not wake them (about an hour earlier in the summer). This gives me a chance to read my Bible and work without distractions for as much as an hour. If I am really behind on something like ironing, I will get up at 5 am and get caught up, but that only happens every once in a while.

We eat breakfast, which is mostly either eggs of some sort with toast, oatmeal, or cold cereal. Becky will play happily in her high chair while I clean up the kitchen counter where we ate and do the dishes while the other kids go about their morning chores such as getting dressed, making their beds, picking up their bedrooms, switching laundry loads, making my bed, etc. They really are big helpers, and very good at it by now. Some days I read the Bible to them while they are eating, other days I eat with them and read to them after the chores are done and we all sit down on the sofa.

Around 10-ish, the boys start their school work. My goal each day is to be done with math and the language arts (spelling, reading, penmanship, etc.) by lunchtime. Solomon and Isaac work on their own and come to me to give them their next assignments while I work with John and keep the two little girls busy, while also dealing with chores, phone calls that need to be made, and maybe getting started on dinner. Once they are done with their work, the kids do their outside chores (pick up after the dog, tidy the yard, rake leaves) and then play in the yard until I call them for lunch.

Lunch is usually leftovers from the previous night's dinner, which frees me from having to cook during the busy morning hours. We typically eat right around noon, so that Becky can eat before she inevitably dozes off for her nap around that time. This is my clue to lay Miriam down for her nap. I am not one to fuss over naptime. My rule is that anyone who is not old enough to be in school (usually the under-5 crowd) needs a nap every day. My kids all learned this and to them napping was as natural as rain.

As soon as the little ones are down, I start cleaning the kitchen and doing dishes again. Then I pick up the house, sweep the floors for the second time, and do whatever else needs to be done. This whole time, the three oldest boys are having "silent time". It's just what the name implies. They sit in the living room and can pick any of the library books that we got for that week's studies, and may read them silently. Repeat offenders of the "silent" rule go back to having naptime instead. Some days, the kids instead ask to take a nap, too, which they can always do. The chores take me somewhere from a half hour to an hour. Then I sit down on the sofa with them, and we cover subjects like science, history, geography, literature, etc. for the current week's unit study. I have learned more from homeschooling the kids than in did in all my years in school and college.

When we are all tired of that, the kids go to play outside again and blow off some steam. Whenever the girls wake up, we have an afternoon snack and then do any errands that need to be done, cook dinner, or do a special craft or science activity. Some days, we go to the park and ride our bikes, or to the library.

Dinner is usually around 6 pm. When it's over around 7, the kids wash up and get ready for bed while I again clean the kitchen and do the dishes. When everybody is ready we all sit down for story time, which is usually some more Bible and then books or stories I read to them. For several months now, we have been reading through the "Little House" series, and enjoy them tremendously. We are currently almost trough the fourth book in the series.

The four oldest kids go to bed by 8:30 pm. Becky stays up and enjoys her "reign of terror" while I straighten the house up one last time, and then sit down to nurse her until she falls asleep. By about 9 pm, all kids are tucked in and fast asleep, and my day is over. Most nights, I use this opportunity to work without anyone underfoot to do laundry, clean a bathroom, or mop a dirty floor, but by about 10 pm I am done, no matter how much else needs my attention. My main hobbies are crafts, sewing, and reading one or two books a week about issues such as natural health, pregnancy/midwifery, and history.

Being a mother of many small children means working double shift every day, year round, including weekends, holidays, and even sick days and vacations. There is little encouragement, praise, or appreciation for being a full-time mom, yet I would say that no job I ever had was more demanding or held greater responsibilities. Moms have to be cooks, nutritionists, maids, chauffeurs, purchasing agents, financial analysts, counselors, teachers, motivators, laundry maids, gardeners, nurses, nannies, and a thousand other things every single day, without taking home a paycheck or any other tangible recognition of their work. But no doubt, this is the most blessed and fulfilling occupation. There is nothing I would rather do than nurturing a young life, keeping a little soul safe and content in a world of darkness and evil.

I am so grateful for the blessing of children, and for the opportunity to spend every day with them. They grow so fast, and I want to enjoy all the time I can with them.

9 comments:

  1. I like your silent time idea. I think I'll have to initiate that with Layla and any future little blessings to help me keep my sanity!

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  2. It is sooooo busy but you are right, the greatest job in the world. THey will rise up and call you blessed!! You are such a good mother.

    Jessica

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  3. You are the most organized person I know! I really miss everyone, and I am so envious of the time you get to spend with your children. I am so sorry I missed the baby shower on Saturday. I thought I would be off of work at 2and ended up having to stay until 5 :( Things are starting to slow down, so hopefully I can get back on track and do things that create blessings and memories instead of chaos!
    Lots of love♥,
    Annette ♥

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  4. This comment is off topic but I can't figure out how to email you-pregnancy brain, i guess. Would you mind if I made a post suggestion? I noticed in an old entry you don't circumcise. I'm considering that right now and am getting a surprising amount of resistance from my family. Would you mind posting about care and why, etc? If you get a chance, that is.

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  5. that was a sweet post and i enjoyed it very much!

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  6. I'm amazed at everything that you can get done in a day. I have one toddler and I can't accomplish nearly that much.:)
    By the way, I'm still waiting on that blog about gestational diabetes.:)

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  7. Your schedule seems to have that right balance of things that must happen and wiggle room for the children's sake. You seem to really grasp the concept that you must be firm but fair with your children, and it's so beautiful. One of my biggest mistakes as a nanny is not realizing that children are more responsible and reasonable than I could have thought. Your rule of silent time or nap time for the older kids is an example of that, as in letting the older children take a nap if they feel like they need one.

    Best wishes for a happy and healthy family!
    Brookie

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  8. how about writing more about what happened at Steven's court date? You spoke of more details soon with your post from December 16th.

    Thanks

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  9. Annette,

    we miss you, too!!! I will keep praying for you. Thank you for being a faithful friend. I love your family!

    Kat,

    good question, I'll do a post on that soon. (famous last words...). In short, we don't circumcise. At first, there were some minor questions from family, but not opposition or ridicule. It's nobody's business but yours. I am glad I am a NT, gentile believer and don't have to deal with that. And, I like pork and ham! :) There is no Biblical mandate to circumcise our children any more than there is to carry out animal sacrifices or to observe other "carnal ordinances".

    I do not, however, agree with these radical anti-circumcision activists that male circumcision is child abuse and should be outlawed.

    tibbah,

    sorry to keep you waiting. My post on GD is one of those that takes a lot of research and referencing. I don't like to write something relating to science or health and not be spot on. Hang in there!

    Anonymous,

    we were waiting to receive a DVD recording of the court hearing, which we have yet to get. There really are not many more details, other than that the prosecution is of course trying to appeal the ruling, which has a very slim chance of success on their part. The case was dismissed because the prosecution had withheld crucial evidence, from what I understand. Keep watching for updates on the case on my husband's blog, you can find it in the right hand column in my blog roll.

    Everyone else, thank you for your kind and supportive words. Every single day seems to be going by faster and faster, and the kids are growing at breakneck speed. I wish I could freeze this moment in time.

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