This is Day 16 of our series on “Surviving & Thriving with a Newborn” — part of the 31 day writing challenge hosted by the Nester. Every day in October I’ll be sharing a tip about how to make the most of and enjoy the sleep-deprived newborn days. For a list of all the posts in this series, click here.
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The house seems to be falling down around you, but you only have two hands and right now, they’re occupied holding the baby. What do you do?
If you’re like me, then, first, you cry and throw yourself a great big pity party. You bemoan the fact that there aren’t enough hours in the day. You whine to your husband that you need HELP. You make a big deal over the fact that you have to do this and that, help this child, dress this one. And all the while your children are running amok, wreaking even more havoc in the house. The routine has derailed and everyone is having a free-for-all.
Then, a light goes off. Eureka!
Those “I’m bored, Mom. What can I do now?”children — you know the ones who used to have regular chores to do and responsibilities to take care of — can help! In fact, they need something to do or else you’re bound to have some idle kids.
Whip out the dry erase board or a piece of paper. Jot down each child’s name and what he or she is responsible for doing each day. Create your own chore chart. If necessary, show them again how to do each of their chores. Also, encourage the older children to help the younger ones: with their chores, dressing, putting on their shoes, brushing their teeth, etc.
Another brilliant idea from Large Family Logistics (aff link) is to have a Mommy’s helper. One child will be your helper for the day. In our home, the Mommy’s helper has privileges and responsibilities: She gets to sit on the stool (a special seat at the table) and pray first during meal time (we had a lot of fights over this). She also sets the table, serves the food, helps clean up, and assists Mommy in preparing meals and any other chores she needs help with. A Mommy’s helper is great for Mommy and the child: you get the help you need, and your child feels special that he gets to help out.
Now everyone has work to do, not just you. And when the house seems like it’s falling down around you, point to the chore chart. Be sure to praise your little people for their efforts. If they need a little “encouragement,” remind them that they’re part of the family, and family members work together to make the house a warm, inviting place to live. Getting everyone back into the groove of chores can be tough, so you might reward your busy bees with ice cream or a movie after supper. The key is to stop stressing yourself out and get the kids to help out.