As I mentioned in the last post – life is crazy. I think this is true for pretty much everyone who has family, work and a social calendar. Finding a “balance” in all this craziness is a task that is not so simple to say the least. In order for this insanity to carry on – in order for my family not to fall to pieces in the process we had to work together to come up with a “plan” that worked for us all. Truthfully Jay and I did most of the deciding about said plan: but we really paid attention the the needs of the kids when laying it all out. We thought about what was important to them? What, when they look back on their time at home with Ma and PA, do we want them to be able to take from this lifestyle? What are we willing to give up to allow them more of our “time” – because in the end truly the best gift we can give them is our time and if we work so hard to make a good life for them but don’t enjoy it with them…what’s the point?. So far it’s been working. Sure we’ve tweaked it here and there to adapt to everyday occurrences as well as realizing as we asked our kids to take on more responsibilities they became more mature and thus allowed us a few more leniences.
A few key pieces of our plan:
Everyone has a job to do. Dishes need done. Laundry needs folded (I know…up until now you thought laundry was a magical entity that just appears folded nicely and smelling lovely in the drawers. It’s a shock…I’ll give you a minute to absorb it) Pets need fed and walked and brushed and loved. Basically: All the things need doing and somebody has got to do them and that someone sure can’t be the grown-ups all the time. We the grown-ups respect that this sucks and that is why we pay you an allowance.
Everybody helps everybody else. There is no such thing as “I didn’t do it/use it/or take it out”. If it’s not in it’s home: put it in it’s home. Which leads us to…
Everything has a home. Absolutely EVERYTHING has a home. If we can’t find something a home then we don’t have room for it. Also: All the things belong in their home because when I need the thing I don’t have time to go looking for the thing.
Mealtimes are a family event. If you are home and awake (awake was added cause night shift Mama isn’t always awake and I promise not to wake my family up from their well deserved slumber at 5am to join me for a hastily made bowl of cereal before I head out for a day shift) you are eating with us. We will cook together. We will eat together. We will talk and laugh and be silly ( no bathroom jokes at the table please!) and tease each other. We will enjoy each others company because THIS is a place where you can have our time and in turn: we get to have yours (FYI: We LOVE your time with us. Thank you for giving it to us)
School is priority NUMBER 1. You will go. You do not have a tummy ache. You will learn. You will do your homework and all of your assignments and study for your tests. We will help you. (even after all the work and everything else, we promise we will make time- no matter how tired we are – to sit with you for as long as it takes to help you) We like to help.
Weekends off are sacred. So much so we don’t even speak of them out loud until they happen. So no, you may not have a sleepover for 3 friends or go hang out in town with your peeps. We want to spend time with you and be a corny family sometimes. This is the time for this. We don’t need a plan and you don’t need to know what we are going to do…you just need to roll with it because at the end of the week and the 15 day stretches we don’t want anymore plans and structured timelines and deadlines.
We will all make sacrifices for each other occasionally. We will not always like it and may in fact bitch about it a little: but we will do it because we love each other. This goes for the rest of our lives too…not just now.
We will be kind. We will not fight or argue or act like someone with complete emotional disregard for everyone else to get attention when the parents attention is directed elsewhere. Also that will happen. Our attention will occasionally be divided and given to one child over the other depending on a situation. I know it sucks. Deal with it. We will be kind and accepting that Jay works from home and that means we have to be respectful of that during work hours (Jay will in turn not huff and puff and blow the house down when we occasionally forget). We will be understanding when Mom needs to sleep (In turn Mom will realize that it’s not YOUR fault she is tired and try to keep her grumpy to a dull roar). We will not be a pest when our sibling is doing homework. We are not jerks and we won’t act like it.
And like I said: This list and these rules are not the be all end all house rules: they are simply guidelines. Looking at it written out its actually quite amazing to see that Jay and haven’t just set rules for our kids so that our house doesn’t fall apart: but we have set standards for them to use and adapt as they grow into adulthood. We are managing to keep ourselves sane while at the same time raising respectful and responsible children (who just happen to be wearing clean clothes they laundered themselves!)