The Chore List Game, with Kids

I have utilized almost every form of chore list or motivational cleaning list ever created. My computer is full of e-Books and pdfs and downloads galore. I finally developed a method that worked for me, and then modified it into a “version 2” because I get bored easily and we get super busy so there needed to be a way to do the same thing in a different order.  It’s been mentioned it before, but I call it “Basically Clean”.  Our house will never been magazine ready, but it can be basically clean.

The best aspect of this list are the time limits. Every item has a time limit. For example, “Bathroom Sinks and Mirrors – 10 mins.” If the house were consistently tidy, then 10 minutes is ample time to swipe out the sinks and get the spots off the mirrors. My house, unfortunately, is rarely consistently tidy. This means that cleaning the sinks and mirrors could potentially be a 30-45 minute journey into decluttering and sorting.

The time limit means that the goal is to spend ONLY that much time on that spot, then move on. The next day, theoretically, it won’t take as long to do the quick swipe and the rest of the ten minutes could be spent tackling more of the sink that didn’t get finished the day before. Eventually, it will all get handled.

The time limits also give me an opportunity to add up all the allotted times so I know exactly how much TOTAL time I am spending on house work on any given day. When I know I have 10 hours in the day, but the actual house stuff is only going to take 3 of those hours, it seems less daunting. That’s an hour after coffee, and hour after lunch, and an hour before dinner.

My issue has always been my children constantly interrupting me (I’m on a timer!) and then things don’t get done or they take forever to get done.

It finally hit me, how to get them to stop and let me work! Bonus: sometimes they actually HELP me work. YES!

Day One of my week (which is typically Monday) has 200 minutes of work. That’s 3 hours and 20 minutes, if I did my math correctly. At the bottom of my printed list is a space for “Helpers”. ANYONE who helps me do any of the items on the list OR goes beyond their regular responsibilities to help elsewhere, gets their name put on the Helpers list.

When the day is over, I’ll add up all the time it ACTUALLY took me to get it all done, and if it’s less than the expected time, the helpers get the extra minutes banked for one on one time with Mom.

For example, yesterday had 200 minutes allotted to it. Because of other appointments, and some health issues, I only actually worked on about 140 minutes worth of chores. Those chores only took me 105 minutes to complete. That left me with 35 extra minutes. The kid who voluntarily cleaned her room while I was at the doctor gets that 35 minutes as one on one time with me!

Today, I already have two names under my Helpers. News is spreading fast. For years, they had been told that if I finished my work I could spend time with them, but now they see it, in print.

 

In case you’re wondering, here’s my Version Two list. It is specific to us, but you can see how I have it laid out.

Basically Clean Version Two (Day one through five) Printable List

Let's not focus on this.

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Good things happened today.

My girls prayed. Out loud. Because they asked to pray.
That alone made today awesome.

Blogging from my Android….probably from the bathroom.

In 1942…

Today we learned about Columbus.
This required aluminum foil boats and the bathtub Atlantic Ocean.

We tried explaining to Lil Man that he could NOT be a hurricane, or tsunami, or whirlpool.
Alas, we still had issues…
So I made all the good sailors take a nap….or sit quiet… or rest…. or
just sit on your napmat, have a snack, listen to your classical music and DON’T LEAVE THIS ROOM!
 
Man, what’s a mom gotta do to get some quiet time around here?

Day one… How do you do this with little ones again?

First I’ll apologize for the bad photos…. apparently little fingers smudged up my camera on my phone.
Monday was our first day of school. Since I’m not the “take them out everyday” kind of homeschooler (I’m more of the “yes you can study in your pj’s” type) I decided to buy everyone new pajamas for bedtime Sunday night! Nothing says ‘7:30 am comes hard and fast, you better go to sleep NOW’ like new pajamas and forced family photo sessions.

 
Why yes, Doodlebug is holding Lil Man by his ears. She’s keeping his head on straight. Or something like that.
 
God made sure I was up by 6:30, so I made sure to read my #b90days selection while having coffee.  They didn’t fight over breakfast. They didn’t argue about getting dressed, brushing their teeth or brushing their hair. Maybe because Daddy was upstairs in bed (sick) and they knew he was listening.
I gently requested that he refrain from watching tv until we were done, and he gently requested his PSP so he would watch videos under the covers.
We survived. That’s about all I can say about that. Trying to read a story about Leif Ericson while Lil Man flings markers and Bubbagirl begs for cartoons or screams because Lil Man is on her napmat was challenging.
The biggest thrill was finally getting to lay down on the nap mats I made them. Not that anyone actually napped.


 
Tomorrow’s another day right?
P.S. aside from putting the little ones in the closet for a couple hours, anyone have any tips on keeping them busy?

Wet t shirts

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So I’m the supercool mom on the block today because we the sky fell and dropped alligator raindrops on us I let the girls keep playing. Outside. In the rivers and puddles.

Until I realized that the 9 year old was wearing her white tank top. More specifically, a boys white undershirt that she wears as a tank top. Ahem. Little girls don’t wear white tshirts in the rain.

She giggled when I called her up to the porch to put on another shirt. Then she realized Lil T Man across the street could see her bewbs. Oh. Em. Gee. Mom.

As you can see, she’s wearing pink now.

Blogging from my Android….probably from the bathroom.

Get out of my kitchen!!

I’ve been loafing a bit this morning. It was a late night for me since I stay up until hubby has to go to work. Then the kids woke me up a lot and I was up early with Lil Man. Three cups of coffee later, Mr. B woke up and we embarked on a two hour Deadliest Catch viewing before he wandered off to mow the grass. I had tweeted a bit, eaten a bit, and folded a load of laundry. The kids had eaten, found drinks, been sent outside, come inside, was sent outside, came inside, was sent back outside (you see a pattern here?).
I walked into the kitchen, listening to Lil Man beat on the front door because he wants to go outside with Daddy, and that is when my head exploded.
I don’t get it. I never ever ever ever would have dug through my momma’s cabinets looking for something without permission. I certainly would have never ever ever gone on a hunt for a different type of glass/mug/plate/etc. when there were already ones, at my level, that served the same purpose. But now, on top of the dishes to be washed and extra groceries that need to be put away I know have odd water bottles, coffee to go mugs, special glasses, and all my kitchen chairs are strewn around the floor. There is cereal everywhere, boxes left out and groceries scattered. If I had done this as a kid….wait, I NEVER WOULD HAVE DONE THIS….  EVER!
I feel like the only room with any hope of staying in one piece is the room I’m in at the time. I need a clone.
I need seven of them. Stat.
 

Late night clickity clack

Up late with the Mr.
He came home a day early but still had to get up and work from 11:30 to 1:30am.  So I waited up for him to wake from his power nap. Here we sit, in our chairs, clicking away on the keys of our respective laptops. The house is quiet, tv turned down low.
I just spent a half an hour checking out Pinterest for cool craft ideas and homeschool inspirations. Wow. Just wow. So many creative people in our world!
I have so many ideas for school next year. I feel, at this very moment, so motivated to plan better and do better for my kids. I have little patience though and I can’t buy the curriculum I want to use yet. In a week or so I can afford to pick up another piece. Then it’s back to saving up for the big chunk. I need to sell off my old stuff but I can’t seem to get my act together to list it anywhere. Maybe after the holiday weekend.
I see blog posts about these easy craft ideas and I want to be that mom. When it comes time to actually DO something I bail on my kids almost every time. I buy the supplies but never prep them. I’ve even hinted that we were going to do something fun, but then allow them to forget about it so I don’t have to take the blame for it not happening.
I love to have the plans, work the plans, the prep, the design, the laying it out, the anticipation of it all.
The execution always trips me up. I’m so used to it not going exactly as I planned it and me getting upset  that I just don’t do it.
People have always said how I was a “go with the flow” kind of person. A flexible mom.
I am so very not that mom. At all.

Oh, the poor children

*snicker*
So, I just had my doctor’s appointment. The one where I was supposed to go and ask for a referral for a full evaluation to determine why I have such difficulty with… well… life. With a history of Adult ADHD and Recurrent Situational Depression and OCD I have good reason to wonder if maybe I’m not really that much of a slacker after all. May-be-there is is a logical source for my difficulties.
Duh.
That’s pretty much what he said. The doctor.
He said… duh. Sort of.
I think the very fact that I knew my anxiety level would be so high, and my mom knew it would be high, that she took the time to type up some of the “venting” I had shared with her recently so I wouldn’t get all lost in the “oh crap I have to meet a NEW doctor and I hate doctors and he’s a dude and I hate dude doctors but I hate girl ones too” anxiety and forget impressed him. I think it pointed out just how serious my anxiety is, how serious my frustrations are and how much it is effecting various areas of my life. My husband’s note at the bottom read “She expects too much out of everyone INCLUDING herself.” and “If you swap items on her “schedule” for the day  you might as well just go to bed and start over. She shuts down”
He didn’t question my concerns at all. Of course I have engrained short circuits and chemical issues. The wires are wired differently by inherited traits. I have had two recent pregnancies fairly close together and never came back to my “base line” between them so I’m taking an extra long time finding “base” now.
That’s where we need to start he said. Get me back to base. Base isn’t happy. Base is a place where I am capable of using coping skills.
He also said I had a head start because I have GREAT coping skills, when I’m capable of using them.  Right now, my subconscious has started to just blow chemicals left and right trying to compensate and what I’m feeling is utter chaos in my brain.  My cycling up and down, never quite becoming depressed and never quite becoming full on manic, is shallow but fast. The days of OCD behaviors where I sew anything that will fit under my machine are wonderful but quickly followed by days where I do good to sit in my chair and post sewing ideas on Pinterest. Interruptions to either of my swings is met with anger, harsh tones, or tears.
So, I wait. For him to talk to the psychiatrist. Seems the most commonly used medications to help slow the roll of my … roll are either in a family of medications that I have had issues with before or they can’t be taken while nursing. Effexor, one of the more commonly offered options, creates a slew of side effects in me that go beyond the ones in their reference books. My feet turn purple y’all. I can’t go there.
I wait for the call that he has called something in, something to try, somewhere to start. Then I make the call to schedule counseling because I promised him I would.
We get back to base. We slow the roll so I can pull out my basket of coping skills and start again.
Hubby is getting help now too. He has his own laundry list of issues.He saw the same doctor two days ago.
When Dr. M realized that he was with me he just laughed…. “oh your poor kids” and chuckled a little. Then made me promise to believe them when they say “it’s hard momma”, “I can’t, I don’t understand”, and to take the time to teach them my skills, to show them a better way and to see help and guidance from professionals who can help. Because the genetics didn’t stop with me, or with the Mister. We have four beautiful children, who will have beautiful lives, that will be full and functional because when their parents stopped and acknowledged that there was something “not right” they bit the bullet and asked for help. Even when it was hard, and scary, and they had been told before that it was in their imagination.
Getting leveled out will not fix all that is wrong. It will help me to take the time to learn the skills I’ll need to function more productively, and maybe …..maybe… with a softer tone and bigger smile.
 
**Oh, I almost fell out of my chair when he said my OCD would get worse on the meds before things got better. I mean… I don’t have OCD. People with that wash their hands a bajillion times or open and close the doors right? ummm, He was very kind when he chuckled and then pointed out all the examples I had given him in the previous 15 minutes of me exhibiting OCD behavior. It’s not always about repetition. Sometimes it’s about days on end where the only task I can do is to sew, or clean, or cook, or write, or read… just one thing, non stop, as if my life depended on it. Because sometimes it does feel that way. Sew or die. Write or die. Clean or die. Who knew? **

10 Ways to know you were camping…with kids.

1. You finally get a hot shower and realize that your entire family smells like a campfire.
2. You have sunburn stripes down the side of your thigh, because the toddler fell asleep on your lap while you sat at the water’s edge making sand castles and she blocked the sun from the rest of your leg.
3. When asking your kids what they want for dinner they respond “anything but hot dogs”.
4. You have a renewed appreciation for coffee without coffee grounds floating in the cup.
5. You unpack your Kindle and realize you didn’t read one word of anything that wasn’t printed on a sign.
6. Everything you read in the past week included a bear warning.
7. The answer to “Mom, where is…” is “in one of the tubs”.
8. The toddler believes marsh mellows are a food group.
9. There is more sand in my house than in the neighbors sandbox.
10. Everything your family consumed for the past five days came from a can, bag or snack pack cup. Need veggies stat.

It was a great vacation. Even with the bugs and the sunburn and the fish. I walked to the potty in the dark alone at 2 am with nothing but a lantern. That is HUGE since I’m terrified of the woods at night. I even started getting the lake a few times. Another HUGE step since I’m afraid of the fish. No, I don’t think they will bite me, I just don’t want them touching me…at all.
I apologized 1000 times for my totally unsocialized *giggle* homeschooled kids who insisted on saying hello to everyone and asking them how they were doing and where they were from and did they want to ride bikes with us or walk with us or come join our campfire for marsh mellows.
I took a little too much enjoyment out of getting my girls to do work by telling them that it was “what a Girl Scout would do”. We fell asleep by counting how many times the whippoorwill called and woke up to the sounds of Doodlebug announcing that the sun was finally up.
The big girls learned to snorkel. Bubbagirl learned to use the brakes on her big girl bike and we learned that Lil Man isn’t afraid to go underwater.
We are tired and dirty and itchy and tanned.
We are also very glad we came home a day early and were safe inside when the bad, bad storm came through.