4 Sanity-Saving Tips for Balancing a Large (or Any) Family

4 tips on balancing a large family

When I was a little girl, there was hardly a time that you didn’t see me taking care of dolls. Lined up in a row, I would talk to them, feed them, change them and you know- the whole life routine. I always wanted to be just like my mom and I feel incredibly blessed that God saw fit to provide my large family dream.

After growing up in a family of 9 children and having a tribe of my own, as part of The Better Mom series on balance, I’m sharing 4 tips for balancing a large household. Can I tell you I’ve not hit the professional household manager mark yet? Please know as you read the tips that I consider myself an experienced learner, but NOT a perfect expert by any stretch of the imagination. With that disclaimer, here we go:

1. Write out a definition of “balance” and be sure it is realistic.

If “balanced” means you can eat food off your kitchen floor at any point in the day, then the definition itself is out of balance.  One of the best illustrations I’ve seen on life balance was a wheel, not a scale. Life priorities should be in the center of the wheel and activities around the outside.  As the wheel turns, activities will vary in position. At certain times of the day, a baseball game might be the top activity or focus. Then when it’s time for bed, nighttime routine needs to be the focus. I like to think of balance as: “living with enough structure for our family to function well, but with enough flexibility to enjoy living.”

2. Keep a family calendar and use it consistently.

Many methods of calendaring are available, whether you use your smartphone, paper calendar, or Google calendar. The method is a preference; the point is to find a system that works well for you and your family. Keeping a family calendar has been a critical component of striving for balance in our home.

3. Set your calendar limitations; do not over-schedule as a family.

With the number of bodies in our household, there is a lot of daily action, interaction and logistics. Knowing who has to be where at what time and making it happen can take its toll quickly. Discover your own limitations and set them firmly; communicate the boundaries to everyone involved. For example, my children know that Mommy and Daddy only allow them to participate in one extracurricular sports activity per season.  This is just what works for us and everyone knows the rule.  Another tip that has worked well for us is to have one day a week with no appointments scheduled during the day hours. For us, Friday has suited well for this purpose. If someone asks to schedule an appointment on a Friday, I simply say: “I’m sorry; our family doesn’t schedule appointments on Fridays.” With 8 people living in the house and multiple others floating in and out, having one guaranteed appointment-free day each week can be sanity-saving.

4. Accept and solicit assistance when you know it is needed.

This point was a tough one for me to learn. I enjoy taking care of my family and I want to do it. All the time. But honestly, I can’t do it well and do it consistently without some help.  As our family has grown and needs have changed over the years, we’ve:

  •  hired babysitters as we could afford
  • accepted help from neighbors
  • requested assistance occasionally from our church family
  • and bartered child care with other families.

It’s not always easy, but in the long run, I can tell you it is worth it. For those you blessed with family members living close by, enjoy their help and don’t be afraid to ask when you know you really need it. Raising a family is a marathon; not a sprint.

There you have it! My top 4 tips for attempting to keep the Wojo tribe lassoed in and still enjoy large family life to the fullest.

I’d love to know: Which one is resonating with you?

Rachel

This post is part of our series Finding Balance as a Busy Mom. 

Please check the series page for all of the posts! 

Finding Balance as a Busy Mom

Candace Cameron Bure – How Does She Do it All??

How Does She Do It All?? {Candace Cameron Bure  with Ruth Schwenk } (We shared this post in the past but I immediately thought of it when I was planning this series on balance. It is a perfect fit! Candace will also now be giving away a copy of her brand new book that fits perfectly as well, “Balancing It All”!)

I am so excited to have my friend Candace Cameron Bure as our guest today and introduce you to her brand new book Balancing It All!

Actress, Producer, New York Times’ bestselling author, and international speaker Candace Cameron Bure is both outspoken and passionate about her family and faith.

With a successful television and movie career that started at the age of five and continues to flourish today, Candace knows that the greatest success in her life has been that of her marriage to Valeri Bure and their three children, Natasha, Lev and Maks.

Her desire is to minister to the hearts of women so they might pursue wholesome values that nurture and reinforce the family unit; that modern women would be bold enough to stand against the negative message our culture tends to reflect, and embrace the women we were created to be.

You can find information about Candace on her website or follow her on Twitter.

Candace writes:

How does she do it all ??

It’s a question we moms all want the answer to, as if there were a formula.  You see her on t.v., talking about her latest book, her new movie, her make-up line, her charity involvement and of course her picture perfect family. Does super mom really exist?

To put it simply: no. She’s juggling her life the same way you’re juggling yours, except she’s in the public eye and her projects are on a worldwide scale. And just like you, she struggles. Trust me, she struggles. But you don’t see that in the magazines or in her interviews. They only ask her about the good stuff and she’s got her answers down pat so it only appears as if she balances it all seamlessly.

Don’t you wish you could pull back the curtain? Just for a moment?

You can. Just look in the mirror.

You may not be on the New York Times best-seller list, but the way you read to your kids should put you on the best storyteller list. You may not have a new film debut, but the drama and comedy in your house could rival any Drew Barrymore movie. You may not have founded your own non-profit organization but the effort you put into your kids’ school and your church ministry could make you the CEO of any charity in a heartbeat.

It isn’t about the scale of things that makes them more important, it’s about what’s important in your life that makes them worthy.

Whether you’re a stay-at-home homeschooling mom, a working mom from home or a working mom on the road, our desire to balance it all well will never cease. And for each of us, that means something different. Did you catch that?

For each of us, balancing it well means something different.

We are all unique including our gifts, talents, families, circumstances and situations. What’s normal for you isn’t normal for me or everyone else. Some rules won’t apply and exceptions and creative solutions will have to be made to find balance within your lifestyle.  I believe that when we come to this realization in our own lives, it will be an overwhelming sigh of relief!

It’s not about comparing yourself to the woman on television. She’s not doing it better or more efficiently than you are, her circumstances are just different.

God placed you in your space, with your own sphere of influence. How you use that influence and for whom you use it is part of balancing it all well. When we are well rounded and focusing on all the things God has created us to be and do, that is when we will achieve balance in our lives.

Blessings,

Candace, CandaceCameronBure.net

GIVEAWAY!!! Today Candace is giving away a copy of her brand new book, Balancing It All!! Enter to win a copy below!

BalancingItAll_Cover“How do you do it all?”

That’s the question that wife, mom, actress, and best-selling author Candace Cameron Bure is often asked. And it’s a question that women everywhere are asking themselves as we seek to balance all of our roles, responsibilities, and opportunities.

So, how do we do it? Working since the age of 5, Candace has been in a balancing act for nearly her entire life. She is the first to tell you that there is no miracle formula for perfect execution in every area of your life, but there definitely are some lessons to be learned, lessons that come to life in Candace’s story.

Come along and dig into Candace’s story from her start in commercials, the balance-necessitating years on Full House, to adding on the roles of wife and mom while also returning to Hollywood. Insightful, funny, and poignant, Candace’s story will help you balance it all.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Learn to Take Better Family Photos for FREE!

Recently I was asked to take a look at a website called Craftsy. To be honest I had never heard of Craftsy and didn’t expect to find such an extraordinary resource.

Click here to see the FREE class I took with Craftsy!

Now I wouldn’t call myself a “crafty gal”, but I do admit to occasionally daydreaming about making my own jewelry line or knitting a trendy scarf. The problem is… I wouldn’t even know where to start. The other problem is… I don’t have time to go take classes and learn said craftiness. This is where Craftsy comes in and saves the day!

I was able to take Craftsy’s free Professional Family Portraits class and test it out for myself. It was an easy to understand course broken into four sections. The instructor was very clear and knowledgeable in regards to the topic. A few of my favorite things I learned from the class were the use of lighting and some tricks to light your subjects well (who knew you could just use a white board to reflect light back on your subject?!). I also really enjoyed the section on locations for group photos. He gave good suggestions and ideas for finding the perfect spot to set up a portrait, as well as help in making ANY location work.

One of the best things about taking the class online besides the valuable information, was the ability to start the class and pause the class whenever I needed to. When the kids were in bed or when I had a few minutes during the day to spare I would sit down and watch a bit of the course in the comfort of my own home. It was so convenient! Craftsy is the perfect solution for us busy moms who want to learn but don’t have time to leave the house and attend a class.

Here are a few pictures I took after taking the course. In my photos I tried to focus on lighting (better on an overcast day outside), as well as capturing my child’s personality.

Here is a little more info about Craftsy:

Craftsy offers online crafting classes, taught by world renowned instructors who love the craft as much as you do. Craftsy classes are online, so they are available to you anytime you want for as long as you want, there are no scheduled class times, so you can enjoy them entirely on your own schedule. Each class is taught by an acclaimed instructor and consists of several hours of HD-quality video content… but Craftsy classes are much more than just a video!

While taking a Craftsy class, you can:

Ask your instructor questions, upload photos, and get personalized responses

Participate in discussions with your classmates

Access supporting class materials – including recipes and helpful tips & tricks

Bookmark your favorite moments in the video so that you can easily re-watch them and take notes that you can refer back to anytime

The great thing about Craftsy is that there is a class for everyone! You can learn knitting, photography, cake decorating, sewing, cooking and more!

If you are ready to start learning check out Craftsy for FREE below!

Learn how to take beautiful, professional-looking photos of your own family with Craftsy’s free Professional Family Portraits class. Sign up now for this free Professional Family Portraits class!

Blessings,

Ruth Schwenk

Learn how to take beautiful, professional-looking photos of your own family with Craftsy’s free Professional Family Portraits class. Sign up now for this free Professional Family Portraits class!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Craftsy. The opinions and text are all mine.

Dayspring Flash Sale {Wooden Chalkboard Cross}

wooden-chalkboard-cross-Dayspring

Dayspring is one of my absolute favorite companies to work with. They have such beautiful decor and inspirational items to brighten up your day.

I just got word this week of a Dayspring flash sale this Friday only!  Click here to get the Wooden Chalkboard Cross for only $6.99 (reg. $16.99).

Along with this fantastic deal the entire collection of Wooden Chalkboard Crosses is 50% off through Easter. Click here to see the entire collection of Wooden Chalkboard Crosses.

Happy shopping!

Blessings,

Ruth Schwenk

Affiliate links are included in this post. See full disclosure here.
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