Monday, July 26, 2010

To Save My Sanity

I like to consider myself a patient person.  Afterall, I teach teenagers for a living.  I have three kids.  I have been married for almost eleven years.  I'm the oldest of five children.  I'm the primary second counselor.  I taught piano (and may start again) for eleven years before I got my teaching job.

All of these areas require patience and while it may be accompanied by frustration, I still can usually work through it.

However, there are few things that can drive me absolutely crazy faster than when I ask my kids to do something and they say okay. Then, fifteen minutes later when I go to check on progress, they are rockin' out to their tunes, but the beds aren't made, clothes aren't put away, brushes aren't in drawers, water hasn't even been turned on to clean the bathroom, five pairs of  underwear are on the floor, they are buried under the blankets that are supposed to be on their beds...well, you get the idea.  And then...

I turn into a yeller. 

I don't like being a yeller.  And then when I go back five minutes later and see the same scene depicted above, I just lose my mind and contemplate if it would be easier for me to run away or get rid of my kids.  

I know - bad mom.  
So, because I'm tired of being a bad mom, for the last week I have been researching homeschooling families.  Especially LARGE homeschooling families.  Seven to eight kids minimum.

Did I lose you?
See, the way I figure is that homeschooling families and both parent working families have lots in common.  There are things that are trying to be accomplished that seem impossible.  Homeschooling families are teaching their children, all of different ages and abilities, running a home, often have a dad working at home or on a farm, and managing all of it with grace and calmness most of the time.  

That's my goal.  

So, with that in mind, I've taken the ideas from Managers of their Homes (MOTH) as shared here and Managers of their Chores.

Here's how it should work.  

Everyone has a daily schedule.  Please note this is VERY flexible because we will have games and things that will require things to be adjustable, but I like the idea that there is a basic idea.  You can see the schedule here.  Obviously this is for during the school year but if it proves successful, I will modify it for next summer.

Each morning the kids have chores that need to be accomplished PRIOR to 8:00 am.  These are things like get dressed, make bed, brush teeth, comb hair and then each child has a part of the dishwasher to unload, Will feeds the pets, Ellie cleans off the counter in the bathroom and Catie cleans up the bathroom floor.  Then the evening chores they have are things like homework, piano/violin, get backpack ready for next day, daily assignment, dinner assignment, bedtime routine.  I asked the kids if they would rather have an area they are in charge of once a week or once a day and they wanted to do daily. 

So how will all this minimized the mom yelling syndrome?  Enter Daddy Dollars to create a system that the kids are excited about and should required NO yelling from me.

The kids can earn three of these IF they have their morning chores done by 8:00 am and they can earn another five if they have their evening chores done by 8:00 pm.  If they don't, they don't get part later.  It is all or nothing.  Then, when they want to go bowling, or get a snowcone, or whatever, they can redeem these for that award. If they don't have enough for whatever someone else gets to do, guess what.  Life is tough.  I like this because then there isn't money going back and forth and it is recyclable :)

I'm not quite done with everything for this to launch yet - hoping to have it completed today.  I'm buying each child a clipboard that matches their art stations and will tape a small money sized manila envelope and their morning and evening responsibilities to the board.  Then it is all in one place.  There will also be a Mom/Dad clipboard with a master list of who has what responsibilities and the Dad Dollars. 

I think it's going to work.  I'm really hoping it's going to work.  Because I can't keep doing everything for everyone.  I turn into the meanest mom on the planet, which is frustrating and exhausting and full of all kinds of self inflicted guilt trips. 

I'll keep you posted.


Harmony said...

I was just wondering this morning if I ought to whine on my blog about how my kids are driving me crazy. Glad I'm not the only one. :-) I reached my yelling point the second week of July, with seven weeks 'til school starts. Argh!

Good luck with all this. I really, really hope it works for you. My experience with "chore systems"--and I've tried a few--is that they don't work very well if they take too much of mom's time and energy to manage them and make them happen. My "system" this summer is that the kids must eat breakfast, participate in a SHORT family scripture study, get dressed, do one inside chore, one outside chore, practice piano, and eat lunch before anyone gets ANY screen time. No TV, no Wii, no DS, no computer time (and no friends) until those things are done. It's not perfect (obviously, since I have still reached my yelling point), but at least the kids know what is expected of them and it's not hard to stick to, as long as we are at home.

Mellissa said...

Your new plan sounds impressive. I always say I want to organize my life/my kids' lives, but it never comes to fruition. It's not as crazy for me because I am blessed to stay home...although my sanity is frequently (and occasionally severely) in question. Good luck with launching it, and please do keep your readers posted. It'll be fun and interesting to see how this works out for your family.