As the Fog Clears

Kingdom Mama is a frugal homeschooling mom of TWO sets of twins and a singleton that spends the majority of her day in the kitchen.  The self-proclaimed “enigma wrapped in a riddle” has a love for the Lord and is not afraid to tell you about it.  As a matter of fact, if you stop long enough to read a few of her posts, you will see how open she is about her own marital struggles with her former USMC hubby, and how generous she is in offering (Biblical-based) advice and prayers.  Kingdom Twindom chronicles their daily lives, their redeemed family and their homeschooling journey.

Oh, how I had plans. From that first moment when the end of the stick turned pink, I just knew I was going to love being a mom. And I was going to be absolutely superb at it too. I would never yell, that was for certain, but there were finer details to implement as well. My children would all learn sign language and Spanish…and all as babies while their brains were eager to learn. They would each hear the Bible in its entirety by the end of their first year…and then they’d hear it again every year after (until, at a remarkably young age, they were able to read it for themselves).

I had grand goals for myself as a wife too…goals that, I’m afraid to admit, I was only really reaching until the end of the stick turned pink.

And my life was turned upside down.

And every thing I knew flew quickly out of reach like dandelion seeds in a wind storm.

Having four children in sixteen months will do that, I’m told. But still, it has been frustrating to me. I didn’t recognize myself for a long time, until the flip-flops and sweat pants wearing person I had become became the person I actually was. My kids still know me as the girl they see in our wedding album. But I don’t. And on a insecure day, that scares me.

The thing that has frustrated me the most, since becoming a mom the sixth week of my first pregnancy, has been my complete inability to keep up with my house while doing everything else I’ve wanted and needed to do. I’ve wanted to write, and, albeit halfheartedly, I’ve done that. I’ve wanted to play and to teach and to cuddle, and, though I have not fully succeed at the “no yelling” clause, I have been active in all of those areas as well.

When it comes to the things that can be put off till tomorrow, I’ve learned to just let go (for the most part), except as it’s related to my playing the hostess…which I have no doubt I was gifted to do. This is where the mess was holding me hostage. And that was making me mad.

As it turns out, I have many shortcomings that have revealed themselves through my motherhood. And sure, I can blame most of them on my twin mommy badges…my desire to contain rather than equip, for one. I have been well aware, for about a year now, that my big kids were old enough for chores. But I’ve asked them to do little more than wipe their nose prints from the window, set the table and pick up their toys. Because, well, it’s easier to do things myself than to explain, train, and clean up the messes that automatically result from childhood productivity. It’s laziness, on my part, and I’ve finally gotten mad enough to care. I care about raising responsible kids, and I will not take the easy way out* any longer. I refuse to raise kids that know nothing about housework and take zero responsibility for their own messes (we all know these people as adults, but let’s keep their names to ourselves).

*containing them with movies while I fly through the house on a kid-free cleaning rampage

For the past month, my house has been clean. It’s not immaculate, mind you, but if you showed up at my door right now with chocolate or cash, I would definitely let you in.

I don’t have any big secrets to share; this part of parenting has probably come much more easily for you than it has for me. But after I finally learned, only three or four months ago, that my productivity increased if my kids were occupied in the same room I was cleaning (and I’m sure this is only true with toddlers and small children), putting them to work in said room seemed like the obvious next step.
For now, this is what we do: From eleven to noon, we clean as a team. And if we still have more to do (or if we were gone and we missed our eleven to noon window), we clean again from three to four. I’m finding though, that while group cleaning works best, the scheduled cleaning times are becoming less and less important as everyone grows comfortable in their role.

While at my twice monthly Bible study last Tuesday night, I think I finally figured out, from my end, why this new system of a few simple changes is absolutely revolutionizing my home. The reason, I think, is that my days are being structured in a more Biblical way and evening is now the start of each new day. My children are doing chores, but they are not old enough to carry a life-changing share of the load. The things I am doing (making sure my kitchen is clean before I go to bed, baking quiches and muffins so that breakfast is quick and healthy in the morning, setting the alarm on my coffee maker so I can skip that step upon waking) are largely centered around the desire I am now wholeheartedly committed to…

I desire to wake…and have my husband and children wake…in a peaceful home.
I now put a load of laundry in the washer every night (except Friday because Saturday is my Sabbath) before I go to bed, but I stop the cycle as soon as it starts to swish. This allows the load to soak all night (I have had stain free clothes all month!), and I start it again in the morning. The kids help me fold and put away each day’s one load of laundry…and that’s not all they are learning to do!

I’m so proud of my little trash man!
So far, they haven’t broken a single dish. To save money, I put a pan of soapy water in the bottom of the sink instead of leaving the faucet running (they take awhile).
All of the kids love cleaning the kitchen floor, so they take turns with this job.
“Yep, it’s perfect, Sweetie!”

And you may have noticed that they are all dressed in actual clothes. Well, that’s not just for the pictures. It’s happening every morning, because we pick out our clothes the night before! They each have their own personal bucket, and they are responsible for taking off their pjs, putting them in the bucket, and then putting on their pre-decided clothes every morning while I make their breakfast. At night, I check their clothes to see if they need to be washed or if they can be returned to the bucket. We’re OK with wearing the same clothes two days in a row (as long as they are still clean and they smell nice). It saves on time, water, and electricity…which are all things we prize above fashion around here. I automatically change out their pjs every two or three (OK, more like four) days.

It’s just what is working at this stage in our lives. But you’ll have to pardon me. My house is clean, my laundry is done, my kids are dressed….and it’s all becoming habit! I’m a little excited.

I might celebrate with a nap.

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