TO DO: House Rules and Family Meetings

My family is a disorganized mess! For many years, this has worked for us. During their baby and toddler years, flexibility was absolute, especially having them all so close together,¬†being less structured made more sense – as I was deadset on raising independent, free-thinking, personality-filled little individuals. I’ll let you know right now, I succeeded, maybe almost too well…

Now, as they’re all in school and their days are taking on more structure, it’s important that we as a family start introducing some structure. However, the concept is absolutely foreign to us. More foreign than the Chinese or Swiss. Structure is just something we’re not used to, or even really desire for ourselves, but moreso need for the sake of our family and their sanity (mostly my sanity)!

I’ve talked about a lot of these issues in past posts, including the still needed routine, the once-a-month cooking, and the desire to create a household management system. But really, it’s all about building a foundation.

I like to relate to a book I read by Iyanla Vanzant. When I was at the worst part of my depression, many moons ago, I was utterly obsessed with Oprah Winfrey. And everyday before Oprah, one of her regulars had a show called Starting Over (which I desperately wanted to be on) and this is how I came to know of Iyanla Vanzant. Anyways, in this book she looks at life like a house. You have your foundation, first floor and so on and each level represents different aspects of your life, like your values, beliefs, things you were taught, etc.

Well, as my homegirl Alanis Morisette says (we’re like this *crosses fingers*), “My foundation was rocked…” – and mine definitely is. And it’s beginning to crack. Okay, enough with the pop culture references!

What we need to do, as a family, is create some basic rules and some consequences for breaking those rules. I’m talking about foundational rules. For example, my kids have a very bad habit of blatantly disrespecting me, like when I tell them to do something, they’ll get right in my face and shout no and then will sit down and do whatever they want. While I deal with these situations, it seems to be completely ineffective and I think there are a few reasons why that is.

First of all, we don’t have a hard and fast disciplinary action. Often, it changes depending on mood and time of day and season of the sun – who knows why it changes for sure, but it does. One time, it will be get sent to their room, the next time it might be lectured or put in a time-out, other times, I’ll throw my hands up in the air and walk away speechless.

Second of all, we don’t have hard and fast rules. We are rather flexible parents and the rules can often change. For example here, one day Kaeidyn wasn’t allowed to walk to the store by herself and then one day she was. Originally, the rule was no friends on the walks with her, but then she ended up running into a bunch of them on the way home (there is a park between our house and the store), and now the rule is only on the way home. So, a lot of times, the rules are in constant flux.

All of these things would be easy to deal with, in my opinion, if we had some ground rules and a regular forum for us to discuss any changes – especially as the kids all get into pre-teen and teenagehood. Especially if I ever go back to work!… Ugh!

In a Perfect World…

First, as a family, we sit down and draft up these house rules. We say to each other, “this is what we want as a family, this is how we’re going to achieve it as a family, this is how we’re going to behave along the way, and this is what happens when we don’t” – basically, in short, a vision statement.

Then, we figure out a way to display it all nice for the family to see. This way we’re constantly reminded of the rules. We’re constantly reminded of what it is we want to achieve. I want it to be pretty but also functional for us.

Finally, every couple of months, we revisit the rules and the family vision statement and see if how we’re doing things is working and what, if anything needs to be changed.

Definitely something to work on… Anyone have any experience with this sort of thing?

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TO GET: Lingerie… Lots of Lingerie.

UPDATES

Despite my rantings over the last few days (here and here), I actually really love lingerie. I’ve always wanted lots and lots and lots of it and have always been wickedly jealous of my sister who has amassed a relatively decent collection of it. I want lingerie really bad, but have never been courageous enough to actually try any on (except what my sister has convinced me to try of hers – which often just does not fit me the way it fits her), let alone buy any for myself.

Once, The Boyfriend and I were walking through Wal-Mart and came across a cute little bustier/panty-set. We picked that up and broke it in the first night of sex, and have never ever bought lingerie again. I’ve gone through bouts where I will look at it constantly online and he’ll go through bouts where he’ll want to watch porn that has some lingerie in it, but other than that, lingerie just doesn’t really enter our mindframes very much.

It’s also because I’ve been notorious for absolute commando-ism for a good many of years. I wear bras when I’m going out somewhere and have to look really good, like a job interview or a night at the strippers. Since those things don’t happen for me anymore, there’s just no point. Plus, I like the way it feels to let my boobs bounce freely, and my nipples enjoy the sensation of soft t-shirt fabrics, and the underwear thing – let’s just get real – all of this stuff is just plain uncomfortable when you’re walking the kids to school, or sitting around the house working on the computer.

So, it just doesn’t occur to me to put too much focus into undergarments in general.

In a Perfect World…

However, this is not the way I want it to be at all. What I really want, more than anything, is a huge closet dedicated to all the sexiest of lingerie and footwear one’s mind can imagine. I want an entire section dedicated to leather and latex, leather for the smell and feel, latex for the shinniness. Then, I want some girly pieces that are frilly and lace-y.

Babydolls, chemises, thongs, g-strings, bras, bustiers, micro mini-skirts, breast-baring see-through tops, cute accessories and lots and lots of stockings and garter belts. An entire area with corsets beautifully stored in special corset bags, ones for wearing during the day and ones for wearing during the night.

And then the shoes. Oh the glorious shoes. I think I’d need a whole closet dedicated to just the shoes. Flats, heels, boots, oh my! Even if you had no fetish whatsoever for shoes, it would be a *drool* moment.

And in a perfect world, I would wear my lingerie every single day under every single thing everywhere I went. And when The Boyfriend came home from work, I’d show glimpses of what I was wearing and it would be so hard to guess because I’d have so much of it that he wouldn’t be able to keep up. And of course, the greatest gift he could give me would not be flowers or diamonds, but lace and leather and peep-holes and cut-outs and frills and sexiness!

TO MAKE: Household Management System

Some people think that having a binder dedicated to the running of the household is a useful tool to have. I would normally agree, except that in my house, if it’s paper (or walls), it gets drawn on. And while these 4, 6, 8 and 9-year-old beautiful abstract flowers are nice to have, it makes keeping organized impossible!

So, we bought a white board thinking this would solve the problem. That white board is still sitting in my closet and we’ve lived here for three years with the goal of putting it up… In two different ways we’ve tried filing cabinets. I have a rolling drawer one, which is now completely broken and I have a little desktop one that just kinda gets shoved full of papers and then forgotten about.

This is one of those situations that really has me stuck on my goal of creating routine. To create a routine, I need to have a household management system in place. To get a household management system in place, I need some type of routine. It’s a total catch-22/vicious cirlce type of situation. Where do you start? What was first – the chicken or the egg?!?!?

In a Perfect World…

If we lived in a perfect world – well first of all, I would have a job, the kids would be homeschooled and have after-school activities to go to, there’d be a vehicle and a driver’s license, we’d live somewhere else in the world, etc. However, we’ll just use today’s world as an example of how a home management system might work or how I’d like it to work…

First, there’d be a station at the most commonly used door. I’ve seen many variations on this space, but mostly, I’d want:

  • A garbage can for junk mail
  • A mat for shoes to be placed on
  • Hooks for coats and backpacks
  • A table with a bowl for keys and change
  • A mirror
  • A place to put important mail and school stuff that has to be looked at every single day and organized!!

Then, we’d need to figure out some way to keep track of all the things we have to keep track of. Like when certain “days” are at school, when bills are due, when birthdays are and when we should start planning for them… I’ve attempted a variety of different mediums for date tracking (online calendars, wall/fridge calendars, apps, etc.) and none have ever stuck.

Really, I just need to pick a method and then become consistent with it. Do you notice the common theme here? Consistency – I need to be become more consistent in EVERYTHING!!!

I hope to spend the next month really trying to figure out how to make a routine and home management system that will work for us, so that when school starts (especially being that all 4 will be in school and then I’ll be able to think about going back to work soon), we have something in place that will help us keep track of everything. Because I do not need another repeat of the disaster that was last year or the years prior…

Does anyone out there feel like they have an organized life, a consistent routine? Do you think it’s easy to maintain or do you sometimes struggle too?

TO DO: Create and Follow a Routine

One of the greatest problems I’ve faced over my lifetime is sticking to any type of routine. For the most part, I’ve managed okay with the lack of routine, although there are times when I seriously question how okay I’m actually managing.

It’s long been a goal of mine to create a manageable routine and follow it enough that I feel the effects of it, as I’ve been told magical stories about circadian rhythms and been instructed on the benefits of habit.

I often hit a variety of stumbling blocks, which stand in the way of ever sticking to routines. First off is the kids. Kids are very unpredictable and you have to have some flexibility when working with routines. I also have four of them, plus a man that often acts a little bit like a kid, so there are five people to consider when making routines.

Then there’s the fact that I’m a stay-at-home mom. The only reason I have to get up in the morning is to get the kids off to school. I am also a procrastinator and a perfectionist, one of the most horrible mix of qualities I’ve ever encountered.

Finally, when I envision my ideal routine, it includes steady waking and sleeping hours. However, that doesn’t always work out since The Boyfriend often works varying hours and we go to sleep together. It also gets in the way because I sometimes suffer from insomnia, although not nearly as bad now as it used to be.

In a Perfect World…

If we lived in a perfect world my routine would consist of an early morning wake up and workout. During the morning hours, I would clean my house from top to bottom including a load of laundry every single day. During the afternoon, I would focus on all my online work, spending no more than 4 hours on it.

Once the kids returned home from school, I’d love to spend more time with them. At the moment, this time feels rushed and uncontrolled. We hurry to make and eat dinner, we sometimes forget to check for homework and by the time the kids go to bed, stress levels are through the roof for everyone.

I’d like for this time to have dedicated space for homework, then making dinner together as a family and eating it as such, and a nighttime routine that helps the kids relax and unwind as well as prepare for the day ahead.

Finally, I’d like to have a bedtime routine for myself. Ideally it would include at least an hour of reading, time enough for snuggling and a regular falling asleep time.

Over time, you’ll see updates on this post as I attempt to reach my goal, so stay tuned!