I’ve been in a funk.
Little is getting over a fever/cold that threw off her sleep and eating last week.
Middle is every ounce of 2.5 years old and melts into full blown freak-out at every little thing.
Big is sassy and testing limits.
My dishwasher had been broken for 2.5 weeks and cost us just shy of $600 to fix (Thank God for an Emergency Fund!)
We’re having issues selling our Honda Civic, to the point that we have to entertain the idea of emptying our Emergency Fund and just donating the darn thing. (Hopefully it won’t come to that).
None of these things, in itself, is going to produce “Calm Mommy”, but when everything happens at the same time, Mama feels defeated.
I’ve been struggling with finding balance between keeping our dishes clean (by hand), our clothes washed, our house semi-clean to rid us of the icky sickies, and trying to cook healthier and take better care of our bodies by making it to the gym on a regular basis.
At some point today, as I was scurrying around trying to clean the kitchen to my liking in the few hours I had the Hubby around, since he’s working over time today and a 12.5 hour shift tomorrow.
It came out of nowhere and yet it made total sense.
You are Mom FIRST, and Maid LAST.
I’m pretty sure the reason Middle and Big are so frustrating right now is because I’m spending so much of my day freaking out about the fact that I don’t have a clear surface in my kitchen, or my floors need to be swept.
Then I thought of the idea of Circuit Training I did with my Personal Trainer yesterday. Very little rest, keep the body moving, make the most of your time. Stay engaged.
I give you, Circuit Training For Kids:
No, I don’t make them do pushups and jumping jacks in quick succession. (Though not everything in the CTFK Box is “good”)
I made a list of activities I could do with the kids, they could do together, and they could do alone. I’ve got things like:
Build a Fort
Write a Letter
Read a Book
Watch a TV show
Play a video game
Play Hide and Go Seek
Wipe Kitchen Chairs
Empty Your “Action Box”
I take turns letting each kid pick first out of the CTFK Box. If kid #2 wants to do the first activity, awesome. They play together. If they don’t want to do the activity, they can pick a different one. If both kids seemed jazzed about both activities, if feasible, I will combine them (like coloring IN a fort). If they don’t like either activity, they have to do whatever I tell them is their other option (like go down for quiet time).
Then I set a timer for 10 minutes. When the timer is done, they can choose the keep playing what they are in the middle of, or they can clean up whatever they’ve taken out and pick a new activity. If Kid #1 chooses to move on and Kid #2 wants to keep playing, Kid #1 cleans up a little, but then Kid #2 takes responsibility for finishing the clean up before they can move to the next project.
There is so much beauty in this system.
1) With only 10 minutes of play for each activity, they aren’t getting bored, which means they aren’t bickering.
2) They get to make non-life changing choices for themselves and control their own activities.
3) *I* know what’s in the box and I’m ok with all of the activities.
4) We can add activities as we think of them.
5) It forces me to put them first instead of mopping. Once they are settled in their activities, and it’s not one that needs my involvement (like if Middle picks “read a book”), then I can do a bit of housework/ food prep/ baby care.
Now, mind you, I’ve only been doing this for half a day, but I can see it helping on a regular basis, even if only to get my priorities straight.