My house is a crazy place these days. Baby Joy is almost six months old and isn’t the sleepy newborn she used to be, and we’ve started potty training my three-year-old daughter, which means that my house is all chaos, all the time. This morning, for example, I was soothing the baby down for her nap when my three toddlers got into the pantry and scattered food everywhere. While I was cleaning that up my three-year-old had an accident on the floor. While I was cleaning that up my four-year-old son got noisy and woke up the baby. When I came back downstairs with the baby I saw that my two-year-old daughter had a messy diaper (though I did note that it COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE). While I was changing her diaper the baby started crying. I picked up the baby and went to check on my three-year-old and saw that she’d tried to go potty by herself, which involved taking all the toilet paper off of the roll and stuffing it into the toilet. And this was all within a span of about four minutes.
Things actually went very smoothly when baby Joy was a newborn, but now I am experiencing that chaos that I anticipated would come with having so many little ones. We’re having a lot of fun, but it sure is a wild ride.
Have I told you lately how much I love my steam cleaner?
My husband and I anticipated that these would be a crazy few months — we always find the six-month period between when a baby is four to ten months old to be fun but particularly challenging in terms of the work involved — so we’re in what we call Bare Minimum Mode, where we cut out everything but the very essential tasks of life to keep everyone sane and happy. This means:
- We’re stretching our budget temporarily to get more babysitting help than we could afford on a permanent basis.
- I cook only about six different dinners, all of which are super easy, can be prepared ahead of time and I know how to make from memory. We eat the same meals over and over again, but it’s worth it to save my sanity!
- I don’t worry about how much TV the kids watch.
- I used to try to get together with friends during the day at least once a week, but now it’s more like once or twice a month since that requires so much energy.
- As anyone who’s emailed me knows, I only reply to the most urgent emails (and sometimes I can’t even get to those!)
- All non-urgent household projects like scrapbooking, closet cleanouts, decluttering, garage organization, etc. are on hold.
- I’m turning down almost all requests for work (e.g. articles, websites, etc.)
- I don’t do anything that would interfere with the kids’ nap/quiet time — I really need that break each day.
Basically, the only things I am doing right now other than daily chaos management are going to the grocery store, paying bills and blogging (I kept blogging on the list because it’s such a great source of energy for me). In a few months we’ll re-evaluate and re-incorporate a lot of the things we’ve cut out, but right now it’s a real life saver to be in Bare Minimum Mode!
Speaking of making life easier, the hand you see holding the steam cleaner water in #2 is not mine. We’ve been having a friend’s lovely teenage daughters come over every now and then to help me with some household projects that I can’t get to right now such as organizing baby clothes by size, removing some of the crayon murals from the walls and, of course, steam cleaning. It is the very definition of “win-win.” Their rates are much cheaper than a professional housekeepers would be, they’re happy to have the work to help them save up for some trips they’d like to go on, and I’m thrilled to get this stuff done.
Someone told me today that this is the 60th straight day of 100+ degree temperatures here in central Texas. And I think I can count on my hands the number of times it has rained this year (one result of that being that locals are finding all sorts of crazy stuff in what used to be our lake). If any of you folks who live in my area see a woman rolling around in puddles and yelling “THANK YOU GOD!!!” the first time we have a cool, rainy day this fall, it’s probably me.
It’s been a while since I’ve read any great works of fiction, but I think I recall that in Victorian-era literature you sometimes see full last names omitted, like in Jane Eyre when Mr. Brocklehurst refers to a book with an account of “the awfully sudden death of Martha G—–.” This question probably belies my ignorance on the subject of literature, but why do they do that?
Those ominous whining sounds I hear from upstairs would seem to indicate that nap/quiet time is drawing to a close, so that’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, everyone!
I look forward to reading your posts!