Me Plus Three
Life at home with three kids is pretty hectic, to say the least, but it's one job I take pride in. A little over a year ago I was employed full time with an active toddler that attended daycare. I thought working full time, taking care of our kid on top of all the house chores was overwhelming - boy was I wrong! Once our twins were home, I quickly learned that I'd be lucky enough to eat maybe one solid meal a day, let alone take a shower.
If I wanted to make it through the day ensuring the kids ate, napped and had their bath, I needed to put a schedule into place. I should note, that once my twin girls were born, I took my eldest out of daycare (no germs in this house), so I had to incorporate "school time" in between everything else. As exhausted as I was, I used every minute in between nap times to get a lot of things done like washing and sanitizing bottles, cleaning up the kitchen, giving the older one a bath, etc.
In the beginning, it was hard to set a schedule as the twins had to get used to napping at the same time in order for me to complete my chores. But once they were in a routine, life became a tad bit easier. Below is a typical day in my household, of course, this changes day to day, but for the most part, this is how our day goes:
7 AM: Everyone is awake and dad leaves for work
8AM-10:30 AM: Breakfast is ready for the girls to enjoy
10:30 AM-11 AM: Bath time for the girls
11AM-2PM: Twins take their nap, bottles are washed/sanitized, the kitchen is cleaned, my elder daughter takes a bath and we have "school time"
*School time is usually anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour and can be reading, writing, crafts or even science experiments
2PM-3PM: Twins are awake and everyone has lunch
3PM-5PM: I usually leave this time open for an outing, open play or making dinner (library, indoor play gym, groceries, etc. This varies day to day)
6PM-7PM: Open play
7PM: Twins go to bed and my elder daughter helps clean up
8PM-9PM: Prepare bottles for night feedings, make my husbands lunch for work the next day and wash/sanitize bottles
9PM: My elder daughter goes down for the night
My days are extremely busy but once a chore is complete, it frees up more time for us to do something else. The outings are definitely challenging, however, if I know that we'll be going out to the library, for example, I use the time when they are napping for me to pack their backpack and take a shower. If I can I bring their lunch with me, I'll pack that as well or get something on the road.
Useful tips when taking your children to public places and enjoying it:
1. I try not to sweat the small things, if I take the girls out I wait until I come home to do my chores rather than trying to get it all done prior to leaving (it's really true when they say the work will ALWAYS be there, but time with your kids is too short)
2. I pre-pack everything so when everyone is awake, we're good to go. Also having snacks on hand is a must for little ones that get hungry and antsy. You never want to be out with hungry, screaming kids.
3. Our outings are in kid-friendly environments. Play gyms and the library are my fav because it gives the girls a chance to interact with children their own age. Our play gym also has a designated eating area, so bringing our own food is most welcome.
4. Plan for the right time - I like going out after the kids have had their nap. This way, they're well-rested, happy and ready to go.
5. Making sure their tummies are full is also a big plus before heading out the door, but if you're on a time constraint, I take their food to go.
6. If we're on vacation and sightseeing, I let my kids take their naps in the stroller, so we're not missing out on anything (especially if our older daughter can enjoy as well).
7. If I'm doing groceries or have to go to the dry cleaners, I give my kids an iPad or my phone (if they get out of control). I know this topic is debatable, but every parent does what works best for them.
8. Making our weekly outings consistent I think helped my kids get used to being out, being with other children and overall helped me get to use it too.
9. If we are out and the kids do just get wary or start misbehaving, it's time to head home.
I learned I can't do everything at once, but trying to give my kids a well-rounded life is well worth it. It's difficult, but my goal is for them to never miss a step if it encourages their learning and growth in
any way before they begin school.
What are some tips and tricks you do to help organize your life with kids?