I've been following a blog called Raising Olives ever since I stumbled across some of her cool craft tutorials last summer. While I am dying to try the homemade chalkboard paint and we did try the massive recipe for homemade hamburge buns, which came out great. They cook well, freeze well, make a TON and are dairy free to boot.
Anyway, when she recommended Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman I thought, "Hummm." A few other people in my life read it and raved. I waffled because I rarely spend money on myself and who needs a book when I have my super cool parenting forum that always gives great advice?
But life kept getting busier, faster and rougher and, frankly, I am tired of being in survival mode. Even with the unpredictable nature of my two year old, the attitude of my seven year old and the other two who like to throw a wrench in things JUST FOR FUN... To top it off, all the advice seemed to be, "Yes, this is a hard stage in your life but enjoy it because you will miss it! Sorry!" I know that. I love this stage and I love having littles underfoot but that doesn't mean that I don't need heeeeelp and a way to keep the home better managed.
I got the book.
(I'll admit, the 40 per cent off coupon that they offered helped too. Yes, I am cheap!)
I got the book in the mail last night and, holy moly, this thing is HUGE. It is easily the size of one of my college textbooks. It's lightweight, though, and there's a generous amouont of "white space" in the book, which makes it easy for me to highlight, take notes and jot down ideas quickly.
This is a Christian book but it is NOT affliated with the Catholic Church; it lacks the impritur. However, in the first little bit, I have found nothing terribly objectionable. So far, I would recommend it to a Catholic mother; I would even recommend it to a non-Christian mom, provided she knows there are Biblical references to it.
The goal of the book is to help mothers who are overwhelmed get a good system in place to manage their home and children. In the preface, the author says she wants to help women who are "fellow casualties of feminism." I don't think I am a casualty of feminism. I am very thankful to my mother, grandmother and great grandmother who worked hard so that women could have the choice to stay at home or work. I think women need and deserve to make that choice for themselves. I know some women who are great, wonderful, patient and attached mothers who work outside the home. This is what God has called them to do. I recently said to a friend, "I see nothing wrong with a woman taking on the board room one minute and the next hour she is on her knees in Adoration praising God and asking for guidence. In fact, I think that could be the perfect example of someone using their talents wisely for the glory of God."
What do I think I am? I think I am an overwhelmed mother who got alot of knocks in 2.5 years and struggled to keep up. I am the first in my family since my grandmother to have more than three children and certainly the first in as long to have them close together. I think I have a different lifestyle and I just need someone to spin me around and point me in the right direction.
Okay, so,back to the book! The first chapter is about a Wise Woman. The next chapter is about setting goals for your family and writing them down. I like this idea, both the goal-setting and writing them down. With Joseph making his First Communion and Confession this year, we have been needing to make spiritual goals and writing them down will help us stick to them. She suggests other goals, like exercise, and simple ways to make your goals happen.
Two other chapters hit home- self discipline and attitude. Did I meantion we have attitude in our house and our children come by sarcasim honestly? Um, yeah. I'm reading another parenting book to help with that but this reminded me to check how I am interacting with the kids because they will model their behavior after mine. So, Laura, SHAPE UP!
After flipping through this book, I've made a few goals for the next three days:
1. get the kitchen and living room clean for the moring- dishes done and drying or soaking, counters wiped, table and island cleaned off, sippy cups waiting for milk.
2. Starting Sunday, get up early (six am) to shower and take care of myself before the kids wake up. This includes making my bed and cleaning up the bathroom.
3. Get a routine mapped out for the school year and pray it does not fail!
Next week the older two go to camp so that is our "back to school" routine practice week so this is the perfect time of year to overhaul how things are going and try something new.