Sunday, March 20, 2011

Creating calm out of chaos

As a family of six, I find myself running around like a chicken with it's head cut off, often. This was not my vision when accepting two foster babies. But, the fact is, they are active and needy! They are toddling around now, into everything, eating everything, climbing on everything, and doing everything I'm not ready for them to do yet! Add to that changing diapers all day long, feeding them, dressing them, putting them down for naps, taking them to numerous appts, and playing with them, and you have an enormously busy schedule! But what about my 9 and 4 year old?? I definately didn't want this foster care journey to make them feel left out. Then there is DH and I. There are days when we are spent, done, throughly exhausted and needing a serious break. We had to make some changes. As the mother of the house, I know it is my job to create a calm and peaceful environment. That was my goal, as I just couldn't allow our lifestyle to get out of control and feel that there was always too much to do and too little time. Here are some of the things we implemented to make some positive lifestyle changes:

1. First thing in the morning, I turn on calming and uplifting music. Usually classical or christian. We have morning devotions and prayer time. We all eat breakfast together, and then do chores. The babies then go down for naps, and the older girls then have one on one school time.

2. The girls are encouraged to play together in the afternoons, and it is explained to them that God has blessed them with each other, and they are enjoying coming up with new games to play together (all 4 of them!)

3. Once a month we now have someone watch the babies while we take the girls out for a special night out just for them! The last time, we took them to dinner and then bowling. They loved it!

4. DH and I get one-two "free" days a month! So, we will each watch the kids all day while the other does whatever they want to do all day long. This is so needed, and so wonderful. I can go off shopping, or go meet with friends, or just go take a nap if I need it. It's been great.

5. We stick to a regular bedtime and bedtime routine. The 3 youngest all go to bed at 7:30pm. Miranda then reads for an hour and goes to bed at 8:30pm. This way we have the evening to relax, or get housework done that we weren't able to work on during the day.

6. We limit outside activities. We attend two homeschool co-ops once a month. Our oldest is involved in only one outside activity a month, and right now she is taking a break until pony riding classes start up again. If everyone is healthy, we attend homeschool gymnastics and Awana once a week. There are tons of other homeschool groups and activities I would love to be a part of. They are things the girls would love, and we have thought about joining them, but it came down to looking at our life, and the time we had, and it just wouldn't work. There will always be time to try new things, and each year we will evaluate what that will be. The most important thing is that we are not overly scheduled, but that we have a balanced, simple life, where there is always time to learn about the Lord, and spend quality time with family and friends.


Scrappy quilter said...

Very smart!! We did many of the same things. We found #6 helped us tremendously. One activity outside the home was all we could manage...we made it music, something they would have for a lifetime. We've never regretted it. Hugs

Michelle said...

We've been in the same boat- we have fostered for over 10 years, and have 7 bio children of our own, so schedules are juggled and I was always so exhausted!! I've learned that saying NO was the best tool I could use, and we got better at prioritizing what we wanted to do as a family. Good for you!!
Another Michelle :-)

Tereasa said...

All very wise choices. Peace is so important in such a chaotic world.