I have discovered that being a SAHM....which, I am not, about half the time....is like teaching, in how you approach it. In teaching, the way you start the year, is the way you end the year.
I find that it is the same at home....well, for me, anyway.
I have certain *big* tasks to accomplish at certain times of the year. I have a very small window to get a lot of it done. THEN, school starts. Once that starts, I am busy with SO MUCH MORE.
On top of that, I always end the summer thinking of differences I want to make. Or, I want to follow through, a bit better, on the last "great idea!"
So, without further ado, I will talk about what all I am doing.
I am only going to discuss school-related things, though other things have a direct affect on the efficiency with which I complete the other.
My preparations really started about 2 weeks ago. Clothes. We have....SO many clothes. Now, I have one momma friend who has twice (+1) as many children as I have, so I beg her to PLEASE not judge me when I feel the need to throw a little pity party.
HA....I really am joking. She and I have discussed our feelings on this. I know she won't judge. BUT, she will empathize.
ANYWAY, clothes. A few weeks ago, I started going through clothes....one. kid. at a. time.
I start with the oldest....pass down to #2, pass down to #3, pass down to #4, then out to donation.
When going through clothes, I often have to have the kids try on things, or discuss their feelings about their clothes: shirts too tight or short, shorts turning into "crotch squeezers." We also have to review the lesson in folding, hanging, and putting away their clothing.
#2 has been going through a growth spurt. I don't even know how many clothes I pulled. Add to that, the fact that he is a pack-rat. It took me...I don't know....4 hours? in his closet.
Once all of the clothes were sorted, sized, and relocated, I stated to task of uniforms.
THIS is a MAJOR undertaking. I was happy to have my hubby's help in this.
We go through all the boys' closets and pull all the uniforms. I also pull my tub of uniform pants. I pass down clothes. I don't buy new uniforms for everyone, every year. My oldest gets new uniforms, because he wears a different color AND he is the oldest. My 2nd was a *regular* vs. a *slim.* So, he often got new clothes.
WELL....after having kids in uniforms, for the last 8 years....we had 87 pairs of pants and shorts, and 85 shirts. When we go through uniforms, we sort them all out. SO, we had piles of 6 slim shorts, 6 slim pants, 6 regular shorts, and 6 regular pants ALL THE WAY THROUGH 14s....with a few 16s thrown in. (If anyone donates to me, I take them, and store them.
We then call in each child, one at a time, and have them try on the britches. Once we have the sizes, we asses if any need to be replaced. If so, I add that to my uniform shopping list. (We do the same with the shirts.) If there are pants/shirts too small for the youngest, those get donated.
Now, a lot of folks sell their used uniforms, but considering that have been "in-rotation" for a good 4 years....well, they are no longer "gently-used," but "well-worn." If someone wants them, they can have them.
OK...uniforms have been sorted, sized, then hung (when appropriate). Those that are too big/small for someone, they go into storage. (I inventory what I have in the tubs. That way, if something is outgrown or ruined during the year, I KNOW if I have it.)
Once I get the uniforms listed, we look at shoes, socks, undies, and under shirts. THEN, we go shopping. With everything (uniforms and undergarments) we spend anywhere from $350 - $600.
Whew....that took several days. :-)
This past Saturday, we had orientation for school....for all 4 grades. For the younger 3 boys, I am able to order school supplies online, and they are delivered to their classroom. Yes, I understand that I probably spend more on them this way. However, somethings are worth purchasing the *convenience.* This is one of them. I don't have an endless number of plastic sacks with supplies that have to be delivered, then sorted by myself, my kids, or by the teacher. WELL WORTH IT!
BUT, this service is not offered for the secondary. After orientation, I had 6 class lists for classes which need supplies. SO, I had to buy school supplies for 8th grade. Lots. Of supplies.
Other things: backpack check, lunch box check.....this year, we bought 3 new backpacks and 2 new lunch boxes.
SO, what now?
Well, my kids take their lunches most days. Some things, they get bored with. I also want to make them as healthy as possible. I usually try to make a menu for 1-2 weeks...just to take the thinking out of lunch prep. Because, I hate.....yes, I HATE packing sack lunches every morning. My kids do help, but I still do the *entree.*
Now, onto chore charts. We have had success, and lack of success with these. The lack of success is my fault. Truly. I forget....get too lazy...whatever...to remind my kids, AND to encourage them to use them. The success comes when we do use them diligently.
With the chore charts I print a morning M-F routine, and an afternoon M-F routine. I also print a weekend morning and afternoon routine. I put the routines in a page protector. (M-F on one side and weekend on the other.) The kids use a dry-erase marker to check off their chores.
I guess maybe "chores" could be the wrong word. I mean, I DO list chores, but "routine" probably works better, as I list EVERYTHING they need to do. As soon as I get them printed, I will share my updated lists.
I always determine to do better at things like: morning Bible study, cooking breakfast, having better snacks, using the crock pot more. And, it is always a struggle. Yet, I continue to try. I don't give up.
The thing that will help me the most, and that is the biggest obstacle for me, is my wake-up time. Often, we are scrambling out of bed at 6:45-7:00 in order to leave at 7:30. But, I usually go to bed kind of late, thus messing up my schedule. It is hard to get up at 6:45 when you only get about 5 hours of sleep.
SO, that is one of my big things this year. Bed, by 10:00 - 10:30. (As I type, it is 10:55.....but it is summer. :-) ) THEN, I want to start getting up between 5:30 - 6:00.
OK....I am now drawing a blank. I hope this helps someone. If YOU have any great tips, please leave me a comment, on the blog, and share.
I'm a full-time mom to 4 wonderful boys ages 16, 14, 12 and 10. My sweet hubby, who happens to be my best friend, is a pilot. We have been married for 24 years, but have known each other since 1st grade. I was a middle school math teacher, but began staying home with the birth of my 4th child. After being home for 8 years, I went back into teaching. I currently teach 4th grade math.