Once upon a time I had four littles, ages five and under (along with a few school-aged children mixed in) and that is where we lived for several years, as new babies came along every seventeen to twenty-four months.
I'd always been a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of mommy, so I had some growing to do, even as my family was expanding. Thus I learned some valuable lessons during those intense years of living in survival mode. Keeping it super simple (KISS) was always in the forefront of my mind.
- Eat simple meals (saving elegant dishes for special occasions), utilizing paper plates for breakfast and lunch. Assign cups.
- Follow a basic schedule for meals, schooling, chores, naps and bed time.
- Chore training. Children can be taught to pick up after themselves as soon as they are old enough to begin making messes. Proceed from there.
- Hone multi-tasking skills. I listened to a child read as I prepared a meal, sorted laundry during bath time (in the same room), made phone calls while folding laundry, and read Oswald Chambers during potty training. Also, running errands on shopping day kept outside trips to a minimum.
- Limit activities. We abstained from organized sports, homeschool groups, and 4-H. Nor did we participate in music lessons during those survival years. There's nothing wrong with any of these activities, in fact we now do music lessons and are heavily involved in 4-H, but when we had lots of littles, we chose to KISS. We didn’t watch TV (select movies were reserved for Friday nights), nor did we have Internet. Sometimes the "good" things in life are enemy of the "best".
- Confine the mess. We kept the littles in the same room we schooled in, allowing them to play with quiet toys. Following nap time, the mess was kept confined to the living room.
- Limit laundry. Each child was limited to one outfit per day (except for Sundays and special outings) and pajamas were worn only during bedtime (to keep them clean). Each family member had their own towel (which was washed once a week).
- Get enough sleep. As we were consistent with the children’s bedtime, this enabled us to be disciplined enough to get in bed one hour later. I would then aim to rise an hour or two before the children, to spend quiet time with the Lord. This didn’t happen every day, but I was able to be fairly consistent as I noticed that my attitude was MUCH better on those days that I began with the Lord.
Life with lots of littles can feel like living in survival mode, but by keeping it super simple, I not only survived those fleeting years, but thoroughly enjoyed them as well.
What are some things that you do in your home to KISS (keep it super simple)?