Do you ever wonder why your home feels chaotic and disordered? Here’s a very common sense (but not obvious) reason your homemaking efforts feel like failures. Great read for stay at home moms.
It started around 7:30 am in the morning. All the kids get up around this time, including the baby. I wanted to feed him in solitude with nice cuddles. You know, ease into the morning.
Then one child would come out to say good morning and go back in to make their bed and clean their room.
Then another, then they’d get to chatting, then the third child would start screaming from his crib for mama and by this time the baby was loose finding expensive things to throw into the toilet.
I had no makeup, whack hair, and didn’t get out of my pajamas.
I went from room to room and made sure things were in order as the kids ran around and laughed and played and got distracted from their task. Then I got breakfast ready as the baby whined and fussed for food and I still had on pajamas.
And then I needed a Diet Coke before I went any further and from then on.. until everyone had breakfast in front of them… it was utter chaos.
At least, it felt like chaos to me.
The kids weren’t being disobedient and I wasn’t yelling or super frustrated… but it was clear what was lacking in my morning routine and our morning routine. It felt out of control and it was taking its toll on me.
If your home feels chaotic and out of control, what you are missing is good working systems.
I knew what I was doing was Not Cutting the Mustard so I read some books, thought about what worked and didn’t, and started making changes. For the past week, things have been exponentially calmer and more peaceful in the mornings. I’m not as frazzled and things just work better.
Room By Room Chore Checklist
These checklists include all the tasks that need to be done in various rooms so that your little one can use pictures or text to help them complete a group of chores in one area.Learn More
How to Get Good Systems That Work
It won’t happen overnight. In fact, it shouldn’t happen overnight. You need more than 24 hours to find and fix the disordered times of your day.
Pinpoint what is Just Not Working
You probably don’t have to think too long and hard about this. Is it dinner time? Bedtime? Naptime (or fighting naptime)? Breakfast, the hour after nap, etc. Take a few days and really think about the times of day your blood pressure goes up and you start to feel stressed.
These are the times you are lacking in good systems or routines. You probably already have a routine going, it just isn’t working for you.
Pinpoint the reason it isn’t working
After you realize which times are stressful, figure out why. My mornings were stressful because all of the kids had a few things they needed to do and they all had to do them independently. That is great in theory but they were 4, 3, and 2 years of age.
This means there was a lot of “checking up” and while that happened they got off task and it was chaos.
Since then I’ve started doing two kids at a time and leaving the other two in their rooms to wait. I’ll get two up, cleanup supervised, and then at the breakfast table with food and drink. Then I go back for the other two.
In that middle time while the second two are doing their tasks, I get dressed, do hair, put on BB cream, and feel more presentable.
We’re still all at the table at the same time but without the chaos.
In just 15 minutes a night (while you’re in your pajamas!) take your home (and heart and mind) from stressed out to organized.
Brainstorm Ways to Minimize the Confusion and Chaos
I knew I needed some inspiration out of my own head since my own plan was not working. I Googled and read readers comments and just prayed God would help me clear a path that would cut out the crazy.
Brainstorm yourself then ask friends or more experienced moms for some input. It’s amazing what things seem “common sense” when someone else tells us that we’d never thought of on our own.
Get organized and make a plan
Now, you don’t have to go creating a moment by moment spreadsheet and tacking it to every room in the home. But by identifying what isn’t working you’ll be able to create a system that does. Then, organize your area for success.
I realized I needed to move some things from some places in the home to other places to prevent the kids from running from one end to the other.
Small changes make a big difference.
Make the plan have a fighting chance
If you aim too high you won’t reach it. If you feel like things are not working at all, you can just tweak a few routines or make baby step changes. Also, give your children an overview of changes that will happen.
For example, if you are making the dinnertime routine different, explain very clearly and very often what you expect now. If they don’t know what you expect you’ll all end up frustrated and throw out the system before it has a chance to shine.
Work it (if it works) or change it (if it doesn’t)
Give the new system time to settle in. See what parts work and what parts don’t. You may find just a small change makes a huge difference. Getting up 15 minutes before the kids, say. Or you may find a change makes things worse.
Giving an hour of play before homework time. Realize that having an efficient system is always a process and it’ll take some trial and error.