July 20, 2015

Sharing is Caring

Am I the only one who thought that housekeeping would get easier as my kids got older? I know, I know, hilarious, because I’m learning quickly that the older everyone gets, the harder it is to maintain this house. I'm sorry to break it to you ladies, but for those of you like me, who long for the day when our children will brush their own hair without instruction... you might soon find out that the transition into independence isn't all you've imagined it to be.

Once upon a time, I had 2 babies under one roof. I’m just going to skip right to there because looking back, being a family of 3 was the easiest part of my life, so let’s talk about being a young family of 4. We had two babes needing to eat 3-5 times a day, one throwing toys around the house and requesting book reading every 20 minutes, and the other pooping and eating, sometimes simultaneously every 2-3 hours! The house was a wreck. No one tells you about that part when you’re planning your family. Fast forward to when my oldest goes to school-A sigh of relief when I have one less kid to pick up after for about 7 hours, not to mention a huge window of opportunity to think to myself without constant toddler conversations. Of course, there’s the transporting part I had to deal with in exchange. When school started, I had to adjust baby number two’s sleeping and eating schedule to allow for the 30 minutes it took to get her ready, drive to and WAIT at the elementary school behind a line of 45 cars also waiting to pick up their kids, before finally going home. It’s a hard knock life for those 2-3 years. Once the second started school though… BLISS!!! Unless you’re me and added one more baby just before that. Repeat that last life cycle for another 4 years.

It’s easy to imagine why I might have convinced myself that things will get easier as time goes on. I’m finally approaching a whole new time period as my babiest baby, Manny is 3 and a half and can get his own socks and shoes on, and run to the car as soon as he sees me grab my purse. The down side to that is that I can rarely leave the house without him, or without a screaming fit following me that I have to bribe someone else to handle in my absence. Other than that, though, BLISS!!! Exhale.

Scratch that, because when I carelessly begged and pleaded with God over a 2 year period to bless us with a house almost 4 years ago, I kind of told Him that the house wouldn’t only be for me. I told God I would use it for His Glory. “I would open the doors when someone needed help. I mean, come on, God! This is a win/win! Gimme a house!” I didn’t really think much about those words when I said them, but apparently God did because since we’ve bought the house in early 2012, we have had 12 different people live with us at different times. We’ve shared the house with others more than had the house to ourselves since we bought. Take my advice: Watch what you say when you talk to God. He will take you at your Word.

Of course, right now- just at the brink of the bliss, I have two extra people in the house, but not just normal people.. TEENAGERS. Some days, believe it or not, we think back to when we were a family of 4 in an apartment building and reminisce of how much easier things were. Yes, these teenagers can tie their own shoes, wipe their own butts, buckle their seat belts, make their dinner plates, and even cook their own food sometimes, but they definitely pull time and energy from me daily. Growing up means getting involved in things outside of home. Two trips to an elementary school became 4 trips to 2 different schools. One trip to church turned into 2 trips when the teens volunteer early. Add in work transportation, shopping, friend’s houses- basically I live in my van now. Then there’s the planning. They want to get a job? That means you’re hauling them around for applications, sitting down to fill it out, practicing interview questions, setting up bank accounts, discussing spending, all the while questioning friend choices, encouraging, talking, talking… There’s just so much more talking going on. My attention is being summoned literally sun up til sun down.

Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up

Truth is, when I’m not talking to these kids, I’m talking about them! There’s so much happening, here! Kids are getting licenses, permits, bank accounts, jobs, first paychecks, diplomas, first cars, signing up for college- the list goes on and on. I am so thankful to see these lives transform from dependent to independent. More-so because I didn’t do things this way when I was growing up. Everything in my life was backwards. I get to have a front row seat to watch these kids run their race on their own under much better circumstances. It’s just as rewarding as it is tiresome.

None-the-less, I’m realizing quickly that if I want to be successful in every area, even with the added responsibility, I’m going to have to learn to properly delegate some responsibility as much as I delegate my time to each person.

There are a million and one ways to organize a system of responsibilities, but all I needed was one way that works with this household. When it comes to adopting new habits, I always look to someone I know who’s doing it right.The world has a way of bullying us into thinking that admitting our ignorance is a negative. Don’t fall into the trap! It’s an honorable thing to recognize where we need help or direction, and to find someone to sit under and learn from. Copying uprightness is never a bad thing.

Titus 2:3-5   3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Thankfully, I have a trustworthy older woman to urge me to love my husband and children, and to teach me how to be busy at home. She doesn’t come over and point out my flaws, but she makes herself available and approachable for me to go to her for direction. I’m customizing and incorporating those things I’ve learned from her into my new plan here at home. Not everything works for every family, but I’ll be trying this on for size and making adjustments as hiccups arise.

For starters, I'm going to be focusing on ensuring that chores are being done in the same manner that they would be if I were doing it myself. To do that, I made cards that list the things that need to be done in each room. For instance, Crissy will be doing dishes twice a week-Tuesdays and Thursdays. On the calendar, the purple lines at the top of every Tuesday and Thursday box indicate her dish days. (Wednesday and Friday have green lines at the top of each box, indicating Kike's dish days.) Crissy knows based on the "dishes" card that not only do the dishes have to be washed and put away, but that job also includes wiping down all the counters, stove top, and cleaning the windows and sink and taking out the trash. Clean bedrooms are mandatory for everyone all the time, but I did write out what I expected to be maintained in the bedrooms. Laundry is scheduled ahead of time and indicated on the calendar with an L. Each person(s) has their own color across the board. So, the blue L means Myah and Natalie will be heading down to do their laundry on Tuesdays. (It's a brand new day, people.) Again, I don't know how well this will work for us yet, but I'm hoping that by sharing responsibility, I will be able to free up enough time to put more effort into making sure the girls are learning to clean effectively.

Until next time, feel free to pray for me! I have a couple grumps running around here. (Weird, everyone else isn't as excited as I am about this new process. If you don't hear from me in too long, send the police and question the kids.) ;)

How do you delegate responsibility in your home? I’m always looking for new ideas. Share them! I’ll be doing a drawing for a gift card from the names of those who are able to share!

Happy Cleaning,
Tina



*** SPECIAL UPDATE***

How many of you are like me and tend to be full of good ideas for chore charts, or general household order, but have a hard time sticking with them after about the second week? I guess I put a little more effort into putting these plans together than I do carrying them out. Look back to one of my earlier posts titled, "Dishin' out Discipline" to learn about another cool idea I had tried to incorporate concerning behavior, but was truthfully little short lived.

 Honestly, I'm so used to not following through, that I guessed I would have fallen off the wagon by now, but I surprisingly this time, (drum roll please.....) I am pleased to report that this chore schedule is STILL being followed in my house! Praise God

Yesterday was our 7th wedding anniversary. I left home just before 7am for work, went straight from work at 4:45 to dinner with my husband, and after dinner went to grab the teenagers from their jobs. I didn't get my shoes off until 9:30pm. Before this new delegation process, I would have walked in to find a long list of chores to try to accomplish before work the next morning, but this time, I found the floors vacuumed, toilets clean and dishes done!  

If you're anything like me, it's likely you are currently stuck somewhere in the cycle between brainstorming a new routine and sulking in frustration when it didn't stick, but I'm here to encourage you. There is a golden process that will work for you! 

With that being said, I wanted to go ahead at this time and draw a name for the give-away! I am thankful to be able to use this blog as an avenue to get some advice out on these issues, but to tell you the truth, I have way more questions than answers. I always enjoy discussing my point of view, but i covet your knowledge and wisdom even more. Thank you for taking the time to respond in the comments. I love hearing from you! 

 The winner of the gift card drawing goes to Amy Roudenbush! Please message me with your choice of the following gift cards options and your mailing address and I'll get it out to you quickly! 

Barnes & Nobles
Pizza Hut
Bath & Body Works
Subway

Stay Tuned. I'll be sharing soon about something that's been really pressing on my heart.

Until then,
Tina

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