Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Five (or Six) Things I'm Really Bad At

True confession: I'm terrible at teaching kids to potty train. It gets later and later with each child. I can't imagine having a 2 year old in underwear anymore. My just turned 4 year old is still in pull ups and many days she really resists going potty. She knows how. There have been accident-free days. She just doesn't make it a priority ... I err on the side of preserving relationship, reducing battles, and minimizing messes. Especially the messes. I need to get over that and put her back in underwear. She tries harder when she's wearing them. It's a good thing I've only got one more child to potty train after her.

While I'm confessing ... here are five other things I'm really bad at:

1. Maintaining a family schedule. I can't seem to stick to a schedule for anything. Every day looks different around here: bedtimes, wake times, meal times, chore time, school time. We just go with the flow and try to get it all done ... eventually.

2. Folding laundry. I used to wash it all during the day, then fold it at night after the kids went to bed, while watching TV with Steve. Back in our Night Owl days with little kids, before the Great Commute entered our lives. Now we have teens who never go to bed, and we both crash earlier since Steve has to get up before 5 am. So when do I fold laundry? Infrequently. I've tried folding it on the dining room table or my bed, but the table is usually busy/messy and my bed seems to invite kids to trample my piles. I need to find a new plan because Steve has taken to folding it on the weekends while watching tv, and while I keep little ones happy. It's working, but I feel guilty.

3. Meal planning. I've tried multiple times to get better at meal planning. I currently have a chalk board hanging in the kitchen where I'm supposed to write the week's menu. It worked for awhile, but now we just seem to add to it as we go through each day. More of a record than a plan. Some of my kids are picky and some are calorie-conscious and reject some of the picky kids' favorite meals because they're too high-calorie. I struggle to find a balance that pleases everyone.

4. Spelling Lessons. I never hit this consistently each week. We start the school year off being semi-consistent and then we fade away. Thankfully, most of my kids have a natural spelling ability that seems to just improve as their reading level grows. I have one boy who struggles a bit more with it, and I finally caved and bought him his own workbook system that doesn't rely on me to give him weekly lists and a test. I need to get better about this.

5. Downsizing and Reducing Clutter. Despite what my husband thinks, I'm really not good at getting rid of things. I look at the overflowing bookshelves, movie shelves, and toy shelves and only manage to weed out a few things. I keep too many things because I wonder if one of the younger kids will want it later, even if the older kids aren't interested in it. I just happen to be a bit better at it than my husband, so he thinks I'm always throwing things away or giving them away. I've given up on decluttering his stuff. He'll get to it, eventually.

There are more. Lots more. But when I look at these 6 things, I wonder why in the world God thought I could homeschool and have a large family. I can see how far from perfect I am, with my faults, and my kids' faults staring me in the face each day. I'm thankful that it's not all up to me. God's Grace is also at work in our home and our family. The picture may seem messy and imperfect at times, but He's not done with any of us yet.

April E.

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