In my post, The Stay at Home Slump, I mentioned that I sink into a bit of a depression every day around 4:00 P.M. Truthfully, in the last month or so, I’ve found the hours between 4 and 9 P.M. to be pretty much unbearable, and last night was especially bad. At 9:15 I went to bed, completely exhausted, and when my husband came in to see why I was in bed already (it’s practically unheard of for me to turn in before 11:00), I confessed that I’m just completely worn out and fed up.
The noise. The clutter. The chaos. The non-stop chatter and bickering. Trying to prepare dinner in a messy kitchen, with kid junk all over the table so that I can’t even set it, two girls talking to me at once, and a baby in the high chair, screaming…it’s just too much. Calgon, take me away!
I think that our family is experiencing some growing pains. The kids now have activities after school, Bee has more homework, our life is generally more chaotic, and as a result, we tend to let the schedule slide, particularly where bedtimes are concerned. When Cakes and DJ don’t get enough sleep, this negatively affects their behavior during the day, and by 5:00, I’m almost ready to sell them to a band of traveling gypsies. Yesterday, DJ followed me around, pulling on my pant leg and screaming whenever I tried to put him down, and Cakes and I had an altercation over computer time, which ended in me hauling her under one arm, kicking and screaming, down to her father’s office for a stern lecture, and a long timeout.
On the contrary, when the kids are well-rested, they’re really fairly adaptable and easy to manage. We know this. The problem is that I seem to be the only one who knows the kids’ schedule, or cares if they stick to it. The kids look to us to provide them with structure and routine, because they lack the desire, and/or ability, to do this for themselves. My husband doesn’t take the initiative to keep them on schedule because I’m not positive that he even knows what they’re supposed to be doing, and when, and he prefers for me to tell him specifically what I want him to do to help. He’ll happily help me with anything I ask, but I have to tell him. He needs that direction.
Last night, after much discussion, we decided that we needed to work better as a team to make our evenings go more smoothly, and to make a real effort to insure that the kids get to bed on time. To help with this process, I used my Staples Rewards check to purchase this dry-erase pocket chart.
I hung it on the back of our utility closet door, right by the kitchen table, where everyone will see it all the time (I used 3M Command Hooks, which I think might be one of my favorite inventions ever). My goal was to emphasize just the highlights of the kids’ day – when they need to be up, when Bee needs to walk to the bus stop, meal, nap and bedtimes, etc. The schedule will have to be modified slightly on Mondays and Thursdays, when the girls have dance, but it’ll work well otherwise. Now everyone knows who’s supposed to be doing what, and when, and as the schedule changes, I can just wipe off the time cards and change them around.
I’m hoping this will help me to not feel like I need to start drinking every day after lunch. I’ll let you know how it goes.
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