FYI: I posted at Lots of Kids with our homemangement tips. Here's a copy:
Divide and Conquer
Hello all. I am happy to report that Scott and I are back home from China with our new daughter and everyone is making a pretty good adjustment. We learned a lot on our trip, and there was one night at dinner when it occurred to me that this was what it was like to only have one child. It has been so long since we only had to get one child ready to go it felt kind of odd.
It was so nice to return home to be with the other kids, and it felt good to get back into our home schedule and routine. We have now been home for one week, and it has been a week of discovery in so many ways. One of them is how Scott and I work to accomplish the task of managing the house. Running a house with lots of children is a tough job. I can understand how people with smaller families can be overwhelmed by the thought of keeping everything running smoothly. Well, here is a little peek into our system.
First of all, Scott and I both contribute to our home management. We both work outside the home, on opposite schedules, so we do have to "juggle" a little, but it all runs pretty smooth. Our system can be called Divide and Conquer the Chaos. We each have our own tasks, and the kids chip in as well. Each child can contribute based on their age and ability.
Food: I do the main grocery shopping, maintaining a pretty good level in the pantry and the freezer. Scott stops at the store for between-main-shopping-trips for things like milk, eggs, or special items for dinner. He can stop on the way home from work, and he is able to focus on the task at hand without getting distracted by the weekly sales and specials. I evaluate the weekly sale ad and stock up on our staple items when they are on sale. We maintain an on going grocery list on a magnetic list on our refrigerator door. We all check off items as we are running low. This helps make sure we don't run out of necessities at inconvenient moments.
Laundry: Laundry at our house got a whole lot more exciting just before we left for China. There was a long period of time when we would have 2 laundry days a week, and it was an all day affair each time. We were forced out of that routine this past year and it may be one of the best routine changes we have made in a while. We were without a dryer for several months, and it forced us to change the way we manage the laundry pile. We had established a routine of 2 loads of laundry each day so that we had enough time for the items to hang dry. This system also made sure that we didn't really get backed up on laundry. Well, the exciting part is the brand new super capacity front-loading washer and dryer set that we bought before we left for China. This new set washes and drys wonderfully fast, and we are still keeping up with laundry daily. Now, we still wash a lot of clothes, but in smaller doses so it is not overwhelming. When life throws us a change, we can skip one or even two days, and then catch up relatively quickly. I *heart* the new washer and dryer. Scott does the bulk of the laundry for us, and the children are tasked with putting their own clothes in their drawers.
Kitchen Patrol: This one is managed pretty equally between us. Kids must clear off their space at the table before they are excused, and the dishwasher is loaded after each meal. Snack dishes may be stacked next to the kitchen sink for a little bit, but in the dishwasher before the next meal. Generally, I do the dishes during the day while Scott is at work, and he does the dishes in the evening. I do the majority of the dinner cooking during the week, and since I work overnights at the end of the week, Scott does the cooking on the weekend. The two older kids sometimes help make lunches when they are home, but Scott and I still handle the dinner cooking.
House Cleaning: This is the part of the post where I get to say I am the luckiest woman in the world. My wonderful hubby actually relaxes by hand washing the wood floors and disinfecting bathrooms. This may sound weird to some of us, including me, but after 15 years I have just accepted this is one of his quirks that I enjoy the most. He has tried to explain it to me, and I don't get it, but I am thankful. On the weeks that he is out of town, I take over his regular cleaning routine, and I admit that scrubbing toilets is my least favorite job, EVER. But, I do *love* the results of a clean house. :-)
Bills, Bills, Bills: This one falls to me. Just like Scott relaxes by scrubbing floors, I relax by maintaining our finances. It wasn't always like this, but I have my little routine, and I like routine. I enjoy following the news, world events, and economics, Scott hates it. I get a happy little thrill to mark the statements "paid" each month. The biggest change in this over the years has been the fact that we talk about the bills and goals on a regular basis. The finance gurus are right that open communication means is a good thing.
I know that each family divides home management differently. Feel free to comment with your tips and tricks. Calming the "chaos" of a family with lots of kids is a good thing. Although really, I shouldn't say chaos. Just like businesses are big and small and managers use different techniques to run them, families are big and small and each one needs different techniques to run smoothly.
Have a blessed and organized New Year.
(This was originally posted at the 4 or More: Lots of Kids blog)