I said in one of my last posts that I have let tons of stuff slide. And I have. But, I was thinking I need to give myself credit for all the things that I do manage to get done. Just taking care of the babies is a lot. Just taking care of my business is a lot. Throwing in taking care of the older girls and feeding everyone on top of that is a lot. I've had to find new ways to get the important things done and the main thing is prioritizing (and for the first few months of the babies lives it also meant just going all the time). Here's some things I've figured out.
Family Prayer and Family Home Evening and Reading Scriptures
Before the babies we said family prayer every night, we were okay at FHE and reading scriptures. We'd have phases where we were doing it and phases where we weren't. After the babies were born, all of it went out the window. In January, we had a lesson in church called "Good, Better, Best" (based on a talk by Dallin Oaks) and we discussed how sometimes we forego the best things in life because we are too busy with good things. It got me thinking that these three things are really important to our family cohesion and our spirituality and we need to find time to do them.
First, we made family prayer a part of the babies' bedtime routine. After they are fed, changed and their teeth are brushed, we say family prayer and then they go to bed. I like this because it's a time of day that I never forget to get to and I also like that the babies are part of it.
Second, I made a Family Home Evening task wheel. And it totally works. And it's totally fun. And the thing that keeps it working is the TREATS. I never had treats as part of FHE before (Friday and Saturday night are our treat nights and I didn't want to have a third night), but it's really worth it. Everybody looks forward to their week that they are in charge of treats and they even look forward to their turn to be in charge of the activity. It's been a great bonding time for the four of us, and we've done so much fun stuff that David and I probably would have said we were too tired to do if it wasn't Family Home Evening. There's nothing like a fun game of Statues, Dots, or Dance Dance Revolution to get your energy back up, though. A fun idea that I did a few weeks ago was to take videos of everyone recalling their earliest memory. It was easy and fun.
We are still working on the third one. We are working our way through the New Testament and up until school started we were doing pretty well. I have a little chart that we cross off chapters after we read them, but I need to find a time that clicks better for us. Since school has started I don't usually think of it until we are almost ready for bed and everyone is tired. During the summer we did it around 9:30 or so before we started reading our own books for the night, but now it's a little late.
I have a cleaning service that comes every other week. I declutter the day before and the day they come, but this is just a surface decluttering.
After the babies go down, I take 10 minutes and pick up the whole house. So, a few hours every night the house is in order. No matter how tired I am, I always pick up. I feel like if I let it go one night, I'll never be able to stay on top of it. That, and I can't even relax until it's done.
Before I got pregnant, I was good about decluttering. But I had this weird system of stashing and decluttering. I would systemically go through the house one room at a time and declutter. But often while I was decluttering one room, I would stash the stuff in another room. I would get to it in my rounds of decluttering and it all worked out in the end, but I just don't have time for that kind of thing anymore. I was talking to a friend about Flylady (which. I just cannot stand their website. It's organized so horribly and that "flylady" cartoon just annoys me. Why can't they just put a photo of a well-lit clean room on the webpage?) and she was recommending I declutter for just 10 minutes a day after the babies go down. I thought I can do that. And then the rest of the day was just a mad rush and pull to get everything done. When the babies went down and I had spent 10 minutes or so picking up the idea of decluttering for 10 more minutes was just too much. I hadn't stopped since I got home from the gym and it was finally time to stop.
But I needed to get to this stuff.
So, I came up with a new two-second plan. And, so far it's working. That's right, I'm going to write a book titled: Declutter your home in Two Seconds. I started with my closet. The idea is that every time I'm in my closet I take two seconds to hang up something or throw away something - just something that makes my closet better, not worse. It took a day of that to put almost all of my clothes away. And another day to get most of the junk out of there. And another day to get most of the stuff that I need to give away out. Now, I just need to stay on top of it. Put away clean laundry and don't stash anything new in there anymore.
Now, I'm doing the same thing with my junk drawer. When I feel like those places are habits, I'm going to do the same thing with closets around the house. That's a little trickier because I'll have to deliberately open the closet for my two-second clean up from time to time.