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Old 01-04-2013, 02:53 PM   #1
happysmileylady
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Keepng house with several small children

I am looking for tips from those with experience having several small children. I have. 2.5 month old, a 2 yr old, a 4 yr old, & a 17 yr old. Dealing with the teen is a whole other ball of wax. She DOES help when she can, but she has a job, advanced/honors courses at school and her own responsibilities so what she can do to help is limited. Dh works 10 hrs a day, 5 days a week, plus his commute is a little over an hr each way so he is gone 60+ hrs a week. When he's home he is often repairing a vehicle sine we drive old cars.

I am just really struggling with the house and parenting. Right now for example, my 2.5 mo want to me held and rocked and that's it. He's sleepy but won't sleep. Meanwhile, my 2nd old and 4 yr old are running around like crazy people, and hacking uP their lungs because they are sick. My downstairs is a mess and it's stressing me out. But every time I put the baby down he throws a fit. Or the 2 yr old needs her diaper changed. Or the 4 yr old needs to sit in the corner for throwing something down the stairs. Or I need to make a meal. Or any of the other million things.

There are a bazillion things to do-pick up the toys downstairs, make out a menu plan, start the pizza dough for dinner, plan my shopping list for tomorrow, laundry to fold, not mention anything I might might want to do for the heck of it. But I can't get anything done if the baby won't let me put him down.

I am just tired of the chaos and looking for some tips. I sit down at night and make out a plan for the day but it always seems to get completely jacked up. It's not just the baby wanting to be rocked or nursed all day hat throws it off. It's things like DH wrecking his car on the way to work before Christmas and then we had to spent 2 weeks scrambling our budget and time trying to find a car around all the holiday gatherings. Or everyone gets sick and all the plans of getting out and about are done. Or whatever.

So how do you organize your time and household when you have a large household, little help, and your kids are mostly smaller? Or, maybe the better question is how to deal with the stress of not being able to get it all done?

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Old 01-04-2013, 03:18 PM   #2
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Re: Keepng house with several small children

I do when nap. My 20 month would sleep forever in swing. I have almost 8 yr old that would help. Other time is at night when all are sleeping if I don't conk out too. Hubby helps... I do have my mom that kinda helps but then she puts stuff in odd places & thows away other stuff we need. I just think when they are bigger all my clan will help & empty nest as neighbor said when it is just hubby & I there will be enough to be spotless house....

I do laundry throw in & changes when kids are entertained by tv shows/ toys.
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Old 01-04-2013, 03:57 PM   #3
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Re: Keepng house with several small children

Have you tried to carry the little one in a sling/wrap? It made a whole lot of difference for me.
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:10 PM   #4
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Re: Keepng house with several small children

I'm only a mama of 3....I put up all the toys with little pieces. They have to ask for those. Has helped enormously!

For laundry, we have enough of everything to go a whole week. I wash all week and fold into baskets out of the dryer, then it all gets put away on Sundays.

Dh does a lot of work and has a 'set' list of chores, though I wish his chore list was longer. He spends a lot of time handling the baby while I get other work done when he is home. He had the nerve to complain once and I listed off a ton of stuff he could do instead. He happily fed the baby and changed a couple of diapers. I made the decision to formula feed this baby for this very reason, even though many would crucify me for this decision.

I menu plan after the kids go to bed. In fact, I do a lot of things after the kids go to bed. Our littlest is 4 months old now, so he's more predictible and that's made all the difference. I do suffer from lack of sleep, though. It's part of the package. We're getting into a groove, slow but sure. I am a better mom and the kids are better kids when we stick to a really strick schedule, too.

I feel relieved that the holidays are over. Seems like we work so hard to get through them sometimes, even though they are a happy time. Things will settle down. This is a short phase and theorhetically the "hardest time of your life" until the kids grow up a bit more. It took me awhile to settle into that idea, but we're getting along alright. I'm not one to hurry the little kid stage along, but I'm sooooo looking forward to having older, more self-sufficient kids who are able to help me out.
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:46 PM   #5
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Re: Keepng house with several small children

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kandarpa View Post
Have you tried to carry the little one in a sling/wrap? It made a whole lot of difference for me.
I use my sling when I can, but honestly I have always found it difficult to do housework with the young babies in the sling. Once they are older and have a little bit better control it is a bit easier, though still not easy.
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:39 PM   #6
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Re: Keepng house with several small children

You need a woven wrap or an SSC for the baby. Throw him up on your back and you are now hands free mama. Slings are great but you still end up using your hands.
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Old 01-05-2013, 04:57 AM   #7
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Re: Keepng house with several small children

[QUOTE=badmisterkitty;16115276]I put up all the toys with little pieces. They have to ask for those. Has helped enormously!

My kiddos are 5, 4, 2-1/2, and 1 years old. I agree with the above! With the exception of duplo legos. But those stay upstairs in the boys' room (mostly).

I fold laundry only after the kids go to bed. They have a minimal number of clothes so I don't have to do tons of laundry. (7-8 outfits each). Folding when they are awake is too crazy and piles get knocked down and all that. All the dressers are downstairs so I don't have to trudge upstairs to put clothes away... easy access has helped me so much!

We don't usually pick up toys in the day, but wait till bedtime. I'm training them (the 3 oldest are boys and so bear in mind) to pick up 10 toys each to throw in our downstairs toy box. It helps! I usually clean up/tidy up the house after they go to bed. Usually. I make them clean up their room every 3 weeks or so (by then it's a natural disaster, but it's out of sight for me most of the time so I don't care too much). They get a reward for that!
-The only rooms I clean up during the day time are the kitchen and bathroom. And I sweep with a broom during the day as well.

I menu plan for the month and grocery shop for the month (with exception of produce and I can quick run in and grab that). Money Saving Mom has GREAT printouts that include breakfast, lunch, snack, supper on it. It takes awhile to do, so I put the kids down to bed one evening a month and spend a couple hours going over the month's meal plan and coordinating a grocery list with it.
I love this because then I don't have to use brain power the rest of the month and decide what to fix each meal! And then I know I have every ingredient to make meals even if I switch days around.
Also, doubling or tripling a meal ensures I have freezer meals that I can take out on crazy, busy days. Super helpful!
ONE more thing that has helped so much with meals... I don't prepare supper to be ready right at 5pm. Somedays it's too much to coordinate. I make supper WHENEVER I can in the day and if we have to reheat it, then so be it! We still have a healthy meal and DH doesn't even care. On crockpot days, it's easy to have it be ready by 5pm, but some days I make supper in the morning. If it's a casserole or a bake, I'll make it, stick in fridge, and cook it around that time; if it's not then oh well... I can reheat whenever it's supper time.

I make a to-do list for the week. Everything from working out (and I put dashes for how many days I need to do it) to homeschooling my oldest (with dashes) to mopping the bathroom, making certain phone calls, etc. Just everything. That way I can cross more stuff out! haha. But I typically don't make myself do stuff on certain days, just whenever the time presents itself. If the kids are playing happily while others are watching a cartoon, I'll make phone calls. If we get finished with school early and little ones are napping, then I'll quick do a workout. And so on.

I cherish the time when the kids go to sleep. Not in a bad way, but a productive way. I put the youngest (1 year old) to bed at 7pm. The 3 oldest kids I take upstairs at 7pm, read, pray, and sing and get downstairs at 7:30pm. If I didn't get a workout in, that is the time I'll do it. At 8pm, I'll do chores. I stop doing chores at 9pm no matter what! At 9pm, I AM DONE (even if I have 2 more dishes in the sink... don't care, I stop). At 9pm, I sew or craft while watching my show. It's some me time. Now that the baby is getting a little older, I find that my chores don't nearly take as long as they used to at night, so I get done now usually before 9pm so I try to read devotionals and more in depth Bible 5 days a week during that time gap (usually 20 minutes). The other days I get a short email sent to me with a devotional.

About the early bedtime, the kids do get up at 6am; bu it's worth it. I gradually moved up their bedtime and it's one of the best things I've done! haha.

While my daughter liked slings outside and going places, she didn't want it inside so much.

As for the stress... you just come to the realization that you can't "do it all" with multiple little ones. Yes, you become organized with your time, but sanity needs to come before the to-do list. On days when I'm bone weary, that night time routine gets thrown out the window and at 7:30pm I'll sit and sew and relax and the house stays messy. It makes me a better mama to not wipe myself out just to cross things off my list. I'm used to the house being messy in the day (I surrendered long ago... it was too much of an upstream swim!).

Okay, I'm done drinking my morning coffee (the kids know not to ask me anything until the last drop is gone)... time to make breakfast.

((hugs)). Having a new baby is a lot of change and challenge. You're still in transition time! It got easier around 4 months (when the babies started getting on a more regular schedule with night time waking and all that). It's nice to know when to expect feeding times and all that.
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Old 01-05-2013, 06:13 AM   #8
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Re: Keepng house with several small children

I second the baby wearing in a more supportive SSC or Mei Tai. I think if you could learn to put your LO on your back that would be the best because you would be hands free with no obstruction in the front. There was a time when I had a 4yo, 3yo, 1yo, and a newborn. Baby wearing kept me sane and capable. Also, put those younger kids to work! In a family of many it is crucial that all members are contributing in an age appropriate manner. By 6yo my kids can empty the dishwasher unassisted and before that the halp an older buddy. LO's can sort laundry, swiffer floors, clean up their own toys, etc. Poppy is 25mo in a few days and she likes to "help". Most importantly remember that this too shall pass. They will only be this little for such a short time. Housework lasts FOREVER
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:48 AM   #9
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Re: Keepng house with several small children

My suggestions

Babywear for the 2.5 yr old.

For the other 2--For toys we have things that are "open" and "closed" they can only play with waht is "open" then when they put that away we can "open" something else.
All of our toys have categories--legos, dinos, toy story toys, books, trains. If toy story toys are open then dinos are closed and so on. Keeps the house very clean but fun. We have a toy room area (it is suppose to be a dinning room) And toys are not allowed to leave that area. They can occasionally bring a toy or two to the living room or there bedroom but thats it. It keeps the house from being covered in toys. If your older kids do not nap then at least do a quite time when they get a book or a game that they can sit and be quite and allows you to clean up. I found when my boys were that age they liked to help--so they put there dirty clothes in the laundry and they starighten up there rooms. BC there are no toys in there bedroom and they put there clothes in the hamper I only have to make there bed.

As for menu planning I just pick a theme each day and then filling in the calender becomes easy.

for us it is
Sunday--chicken dish (usually asian or chicken parm)
Monday--mexican (tacos or burritos)
Tuesday (burgers or meatball subs)
Wed--Soup and Sand
Thurs Pizza
Friday--pasta
Sat leftovers

Just adding that I am veg and I just substitute my meat but that is basic

As far as cleaning the house. Well you are still PP if the house is not as clean as it needs to be bc you need to rest--THEN REST!!!!!! Just wipe up things when they happen and vaccuum when you can.

I hope that helps a little.
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:23 PM   #10
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Re: Keepng house with several small children

I admit I'm giggling a little because we live such parallel lives. It seems like so much of what you write, I could have been reading my own words.

I totally feel you. Obviously, I also have a 2.5 month old. But, I have 2 2.5 year olds and my 5 who turned 5 a couple weeks ago and there are 2 of those also. (two sets of twins is craziness!) Plus, my oldest is just over 7 and homeschooled.

So, I'm not really much help. My baby is the same. Wants to be held or be nursing all the time. I can't get anything done either. I'll give you a few tips though.

1. I make my kids help with the picking up. My 5 year olds and my 2.5 year olds (and my 7 year old) all have to help with picking up. If I'm nursing, I'll sit on the couch and direct them where to put things.

2. My husband does most of the laundry except for folding. He gets it clean for me by putting it in the washer and switching it to the dryer.

3. My husband does the grocery shopping. My husband works 6 days a week and is gone from 7am to 6pm each day. He goes shopping after 8pm when the kids are all in bed.

4. I try to make my dinner meals throughout the day. If I have a couple of minutes while making the older kids lunch, I will brown meat or chop veggies or whatever I can do. If I don't do this, I often can't get dinner made at all.

5. Can your 4 year old sit on the couch and hold the baby while watching TV? My 7 year old or just turned 5 year olds can all do this. It is helpful sometimes for making lunch or dinner or whatever.

6. Realize that this is a season of life. It is very frustrating. I understand. But, it won't last forever. Before long, your 4 and 2.5 year old will be a LOT more help.

(I don't wear my baby that much at home either. I do when we are out, but not too much at home.)

Anyway, I'm none of that was probably very helpful, but it is all I could think of.
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