One of the questions I get asked the most often is “How do you get it all done?”
I don’t. It’s all an illusion….a mirage. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
There. After that confession, my post for the day is done, right? Check one thing off of that list, with a feeling of satisfaction.
A lot of moms have been coming up to me lately and asking about how I manage, especially with “the littles.” And even more have been talking to Michael about their harebrained views of my successes. Believe me, if so many hadn’t been asking, I would not have shared. Or I would have shared an ideal day. But I wanted to be honest, if nothing else, even at the expense of my pride. I thought I’d share a mostly visual and highly humbling glimpse of our day, but I needed to add a few comments. Not all days look like this, thank heavens. Some look completely different. I’ve been blessed with good health this winter, so I’ve been able to read aloud a lot more than many of the winters in the past. Lastly, the Instant-Pot is one of my best friends. That’s how meals get done, generally speaking.
I promised those of you who follow our Those Kinds of People facebook page last night that I would take photos throughout my day.
Hardy har har.
It’s like I stood out on our front lawn and shouted “Release the Kraken!” for all the world to hear.
4 something a.m.
One of our kids was doing their best to wake up all of the rest of the kids, running around and acting like a dog. Parenting begins early. Michael addressed that issue.
6:00 in the morning
Another kid came into our room and told me that his ear felt “especially dirty.” I did a quick examination, and Michael aided in hot packing the ear and then cleaning it. It wasn’t infected, but I watched it throughout the day. Michael got out of bed. I sat under a big puffy quilt, waiting for my brain to thaw, doing my devotions, and praising God that I married a morning person who can actually function before 7:45.
Green smoothies for breakfast because that salad mix was looking a little wilty.
Every day at the breakfast table, Michael does a song and devotional with the kids using the New City Catechism app.
I am barely alive at the breakfast table.
Many days, I spend breakfast time finishing up my personal devotions and writing out my goals for the day in another room, feeling guilty that I’m not there for morning family devotions. (There’s your first confession of what might end up being a confession-riddled day.)
Michael decided that he would work from home for the day, which changed our schedule for the day. I’m grateful for his flexibility. The kids played a little while I cleaned up the breakfast mess. They needed more direction, so I gave them chores to do. This was interrupted by one child trying to suck another child up with a vacuum while I was pouring water in the kitchen. I left the kitchen because I heard screaming, and the water kept running, flooding the kitchen floor. Morning chores were also interrupted by one child trying to wash their face in the bathroom and causing the sink to flood.
Charitable thoughts ensued. Just kidding. I’m a sinner, saved by grace.
I finished cleaning up and started some chicken foot bone broth in the Instant Pot.
Made myself a cup of tea (spoiler alert: it never even got sipped.)
Morning Circle Time starts. Morning circle time is when I have all of the kids together for a combined time of learning. It’s not really a circle. They all just sort of lump together on the carpet.
Here’s what we did today:
- prayed together (I ask each child one thing they’d like to pray about and one characteristic of God that they’re happy or grateful for. We’re working on incorporating praise and thanks in our prayers as well as supplication.)
- sang Be Thou my Vision (along with Audrey Assad)
- introduced a new folk song. Appropriately “Give Me Some Time to Blow the Man Down.” And all I could think about was What About Bob? the whole time.
- Read a paragraph or two from Catherine Vos’s children’s Bible. Today we read the section about the creation of Eve. We just started this Bible over, because Aslan and Jubilee are finally old enough to comprehend it.
- We read a Hero Tale (this week, we’re learning about John Bunyan.)
- I prayed a prayer from The Power of a Praying Parent, inserting each of the kids’ names in appropriate spots. After which, some more parenting needed to happen to shape the character of two children.
After all of that sitting, we had to break things up. Million worked on four pages in his math book, while Creedence took our iPad alongside me and did a 10-minute math flashcard game. After Million finished his math, he worked on his cursive copywork. Then Creedence worked on his handwriting book and math book while Million did his 10-minute math flashcard on the iPad.
During this whole time, Jubilee was coloring quietly, and Aslan was having some bathroom needs addressed.
Aslan came back upstairs after his needs were addressed, and he and Jubilee listened to their “school” for the day. They listened to one chapter of Among the Farmyard People, one Beatrix Potter story, and listened and looked at Over Under In the Garden. The older boys also hung around to look at the pictures and show the little kids how much they knew.
Typically from 10 to 11, I would have Aslan and Jubilee do quiet play time in their rooms, but Michael was going to be on a Skype meeting downstairs with a French language instructor and needed quiet downstairs, so that made today more challenging. I tried to get the three youngest kids all to play quietly while I read one chapter of Million’s history read-aloud to him.
They were not quiet. But there was a part about a prince punching a judge in the face and getting sent to jail, so Million bolstered his spirits and was able to narrate with vivid detail.
Creedence got sick of playing in the car tent with the other kids, so he tried to set up a children’s tent in our living room two feet away from me. I read a chapter of Robin Hood to Million and tried to avoid getting my eyes poked out by the tent stakes.
After Million narrated what he had learned, he wanted to play in the big tent with all of the other kids.
This lasted four minutes before several of the kids were wrestling, and I had to take the tent down for safety. After more discipline occurred, I put on Focus on the Family’s audio theatre version of The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe for all of the kids while I got lunch ready.
Lunch was sliced cucumbers, ham, cheese sticks, oranges, and ranch dip.
All of the kids were required to nap today, because of our early morning fracas.
During naptime, I read several chapters of my own books and wrote in my commonplace book.
I also answered some e-mails, put the bone broth in jars, and did supper prep.
We were going to be having zucchini noodles and turkey meatballs for supper, so I mixed the meat with the spices and egg and set it aside. I spiralized all of the noodles to be cooked really quickly later on with sauteed onions.
At this point, I realized I missed a few things in our school morning that I intended to do.
Three of the kids “napped” (two just stayed in their rooms), as directed, for a lot longer than they typically do. Thank you, early morning wakeup for something after all.
Million decided he wanted to keep on reading quietly after he woke up. Thank you, child, for being the darling that actually slept.
All of the kids are up. I quickly put together some tea and a snack of cashews and raisins. We had an emergency bath for Jubilee. During our tea, we listened to a poem by Christina Rossetti, worked on our Family Way devotions that I missed this morning and all of the memory work I had forgotten to have them recite in the midst of discipline issues in circle time.
I had all of the kids sit and made them listen to my French lesson. Some were in timeouts, others were just noisy. After half an hour, I put on some French folk songs for the kids to dance to.
I put on one more chapter of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe for the kids while I began to saute some onions for supper.
Michael was done with work and came upstairs. He sauteed some zucchini noodles at the stove, while I stir-fried some turkey meatballs in our instant pot. We normally eat supper really early. So supper was at 4:00. Tonight’s meal was zucchini noodles with turkey meatballs on the side.
I had the kids each do a chore to help clean up while I got the dishwasher loaded.
I promise Aslan did have actual clothes on at one point during the day, although all of the photos are either of him in pajamas or without clothes at all.
I then practiced piano for ten minutes. The kids hadn’t ever heard me play scales before, and they heard them for quite a while today.
Creedence asked if I could read a chapter of our new read-aloud to him since we finished Henry Ford yesterday.
I have my first cup of coffee for the day.
I sweep up some remnants of sewage in our basement from flooding that happened last week. The plumber had told us it would be better to wait until it dried, and it finally was dry enough to sweep up today. Not my favorite. While I was in the laundry room, I found a science curriculum that I was praying I hadn’t decluttered, so I showed it to the older boys who were both really intrigued by it.
The older boys played Guess Who? while the younger kids played a knock-off version of Connect Four. I hand sewed a repair in a princess dress.
Chaos ensues, and both games end abruptly and with tears.
Michael read one chapter of the bedtime story that I typically read to the kids. It ended the book, and the kids were happy it was finished.
We put the three younger kids to bed. I took care of some “adultish” financial issues that need to be addressed on my laptop, and then went into Million’s room to have our nightly conversation.
I try to upload all of these images on my laptop. I have yet to work out today, but I have time after the kids are asleep. Michael plans to go to our work out center tonight, so I’ll have alone time most of the evening to work on this post.
Things that didn’t happen today
- A social life for me (not that I require much of one)
- A shower for me (saving that for after my workout.)
- Excessive housecleaning (i.e. bathrooms, laundry, washing floors)
- I didn’t get out of the house.
- I didn’t spend an inordinate amount of time on social media and therefore become enraged or anxious due to the state of the world.
- I made absolutely no progress in getting our house ready for the market in a couple weeks. See excessive housecleaning point above.
This whole post was embarrassing to write out and very humbling. If you’ve made it this far, congratulations. I do applaud you for your efforts. Although the day had so much constant parenting that I didn’t even to bother to write about it all, I am grateful for my four little gifts. These are the days that I will cherish when I am older. I suppose that’s why I took the time to write it out.
As I assess the day, I think of Mary Oliver’s famous lines.
“Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
What else, indeed.