When people imagine life in the home of a military family, they probably think of order, whistles, bed making quarter tests, etc. My house is anything but… Well, it’s a little like that, but I’ll explain that later.
I realized, early on, that I had to relax, when it comes to running the household, or I’d go crazy. With four boys to care for, on my own, high expectations for housekeeping are a recipe for disaster. If I expected everything to be in order all the time, I’d go crazy. I would love for the clutter to disappear, and there are days when it does drive me crazy, but I’ve learned to keep those days to a minimum.
I used to want the kids to stay inside after dinner, wanting them to be ready for bed early, but they are older and I realize that playing outside is more of a need than a want.
I used to really dislike playdoh. I mean, the kids had fun with it, but it leaves tiny dried balls of color all over the table and floor and vacuuming is just ONE MORE THING to do. But, I realize that not only is vacuuming not a big deal, or time suck- as long as I have the cordless in the kitchen, the value of something that keeps a preschooler happy for 30+ minutes is invaluable! So what if it makes a little mess?
It’s the same with other crafts. I used to think, ‘I have to get all the supplies out, put paper down, supervise, clean up, etc.’ Now I let the boys get the supplies, out, prepare the area and clean up. Of course I have to step in to help sometimes and add to the clean up, but I realize that it’s not a big deal.
I am a stickler for some things, though. Some of my friends make fun of me b/c I do fit the stereotype of rigid expectations of rule following. When I want to make sure the boys are listening, I call, from wherever I am, “Line Up!”
Within a minute, all four boys are standing before me, arms at their sides, eyes on me, waiting for instructions. It looks a little crazy to an outsider, but it works and I will not stop doing it.
I’ve thought about using a bosun’s wistle, but haven’t made that leap… yet. I do own one. And, I think it would work…
The point is, in my opinion, if I let go of high expectations for things that really don’t matter and make room for the things that do matter, things go more smoothly in our house. I don’t let go of keeping order and having rules, but no one will remember the clutter or mess, they will remember the fun!