Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Top 10 - How I Survive the Day

Well, it's been a week since all hell broke loose in the Robbins home and I'm proud to say, we're still alive! As you can imagine, getting dressed has been a challenge, so instead of my usual (and much anticipated, I'm sure...) What I Wore post, I'll share my top 10 tips on how I survive the day with four kids:

1. Set Realistic Expectations. With two kids potty training and one in diapers, there will be a mess or two to clean up. Meal times will feel like World War III and sleep will be interrupted. Don't act surprised! Expect it!

2. Do a little bit all the time. During breakfast while all the kids are in the kitchen, I do a bit of dishes. As you can imagine, with one bottle fed baby, three grimy handed eaters and no dish washer, there are ALWAYS dirty dishes!! So, as long as I do a few every time I find myself in the kitchen, it keeps my sink from piling up. I don't have an hour to spend washing them at once, but I do have 2 minutes here and there.

3. Keep healthy snacks within reach. The only thing worse than a sleep deprived mama is a hungry sleep deprived mama. Not only are we getting meals and gallons of milk from our dear friends, we always have a fresh supply of muffins in the house. I think that's a huge way to bless a struggling family. Give them easy to eat snacks, because that's more than likely all the parents are able to eat!

4. Let it go. With each fit, each difficult bed time and each potty accident, you've got to deal with it and let it go. We do not have time for grudges. So one of the kids literally bit a hole in my favorite dress...I got mad, threw the dress in my fabric scraps pile, and I moved on. Lord knows there will be another thing to deal with soon, so I've got to save my energy!

5.  Sleep when the kids sleep.  Sleep is how I deal with my stress. Seriously, some people would spend money to watch my dreams if they were ever turned into films. People die, things blow up and there are tornadoes everywhere! All my anger, stress, confusion and frustrations come out in my dreams, so sleep has become a very important way for me to deal with the struggles of the day. If Dan is home and 2-3 kids are in bed, I try to get a nap! It helps a ton.

6. Check in. I'm a verbal processor. I don't ever know what's going on or how I am doing until someone asks me. I have to take time (usually while driving when kids are safe in their seats, ha!) to connect with adults. It's important for me to call my mom, sisters or friend to just talk through some of the challenges of fostering and let them know I'm still alive.

7. Ask for help/say YES! If I'm feeling overwhelmed, I invite a friend to come help me out for an hour or two. Even if things are still hectic while they are here, at least I'm not doing it alone :) If someone offers to help in some way, I say "yes", even if it's washing the baby's cloth diapers (thank you Chane'!!!!!!).

8. Let the kids do the house work! Before any big fun activity (going outside or doing an art project), the kids are expected to pick up toys. As well, I've been asking the boys to do the vacuuming. We have a light vacuum they can both maneuver pretty well AND it keeps them busy while I fold or put away laundry. Seriously, my boys fight over this task!
{not pictured, one adorable and sweet baby girl in a bumbo just behind Laz!}

9. Reminders. I have a journal logging the girls activities (sleep times, eating times and potty activities), a growing shopping list on the fridge and scripture throughout the house. My mind is all over the place, constantly checking in with each child, making sure they have what they need. These reminders are safe guards, so I don't forget to get the eggs and I remember that it's God's strength IN ME doing all this work.

10. PRAY! Speaking of God, I have to remember to fully rely on Him for everything, day in and day out. There are moments when I feel a total lack of compassion for these girls. I know it's wrong, it's the sin in me that gets selfish and wants my easy life back. But one minute with God can change all of that! I need a changed heart, one that is willing to give up all my own desires so I can love people the way Christ loves me. Prayer is my only avenue to a changed and willing heart.

We are still very much in survival mode. The girls have been with us one week today, and as the days continue, we hope to see more change, more trust, and more peace in our home. It can only get better from here, right?


Post a Comment