I decided to stay in my pjs all day today. I read a book and spent some time sewing. The kids spent most of the day playing upstairs. Tonight I go up to tuck them all in and I can't walk. Not only have they made a mess in their rooms, they've drug toys out of the rooms and onto the landing and loft. Seriously, I'm praying our house doesn't catch on fire tonight because I don't think we'd all get out safely. I wasn't sure I was going to make it back downstairs because of all the toys on the stairs. Two of the four know how to clean up behind themselves but when they're playing, they just don't do it. I know the little two get a free pass, at least for another year or so, but I'm tired of giving free passes to everyone. I can't do it all. I can't spend all day every day cleaning. I have to have down time for fun too. Today I've enjoyed my laziness but it's counterproductive because it creates more work for me tomorrow.
There are a few other things going on with the kids too. They're watching way too much television and playing way too many video games this summer. They fight way too much. They don't seem to hear when asked to do something simple like setting the table for dinner. I'm at my wits end. I'm frustrated and just not happy with things at home lately. I yell in order to get things accomplished and then get comments from my husband about the yelling. Something has got to give and I don't know how to do it. I'm not really sure how life got like this. My kids are typically great at helping. They're typically pleasant to be around. They have great imaginations and love to play. When did they become lazy and hateful? When did I become lazy and hateful? At some point I stopped staying on top of them and then I started yelling when things didn't get done.
I am one of those moms that reads anything I can on parenting, relationships, etc. Not sure if this is because I studied child development, psychology and sociology so extensively in school or if it's just because my life is so crazy and I need the help. I suspect it's a little of both. Anyway, all of our books are currently packed in boxes due to all of the summer remodeling (I suspect this is where my parenting laziness came in to play) and I don't think I have anything that applies to us currently. I decided that I'd read some Mommy Blogs both to remind me that I am not alone and to also encourage me to make some changes that will turn this family around.
I've come to a few conclusions on my own before reading these blogs. First, this week we are going back on our school schedule of bedtimes and no electronics during the week. It worked great through out the day but Dad let them watch tv for a bit this evening. Oh well, we're working on this. Second, we've got to actually spend more time at home because they aren't going to learn these lessons and routines while riding around in the van and bouncing from place to place. This one is much easier said than done though. I'm working to reduce our outside obligations but there are a few things that I don't have a choice on. Third, I know that our home needs to be better organized and free of clutter. I am working on this but it does take time. With four kids and about to have a baby, clutter-free isn't exactly a reality. With remodeling projects going on all over the house, total organization isn't really possible either. We are working on it though. After these, I draw a blank! I need help!
Here are some links with some great articles and blog posts that I found helpful and encouraging. Be sure to leave links in the comments if you have any others that you would like to add. I love reading Mommy Blogs!
25 Ways to Simplify Your Life With Kids
Drastic Toy Decluttering
Getting Kids to Clean Their Room
How I Get My Kids to Clean Their Room This one is exactly what I need to be doing. I need to put all other things aside and spend each day teaching them to clean up behind themselves. I need to get rid of more toys or pack them up to rotate so that there isn't much in their rooms to mess up. I need to label bins with pictures for the younger two that can't yet read. I need to work on keeping the rest of the house picked up daily and having the kids help. Once this habit is established, then I can find time to do little things that I enjoy again. Until they get this habit, me trying to do things for myself are just going to continue to cause more frustration.