Chaos and Recovery

April 27, 2013 § 2 Comments

Here in the Heartman household, we have just had two weeks of school holidays.

How I would love to report that every morning I had a leisurely lie in, while the children organised their own breakfasts and got dressed. I would get up, do a few morning jobs followed by some crafting or writing while the children all engaged in self directed imaginative play/activities.

Then, a healthy lunch followed by an outing to the park, pool or skate ramp. An early dinner, tired kids to bed early, leaving me with another two hours to blog/sew and watch TV.

The above is my desired school holiday rhythm. I’m sure you can guess that the reality is very different with five children aged 13 to 1. (Actually I think the reality came pretty close once, when I only had two or three kids! Maybe that is why I am clinging to this ideal.)

There is only one word to adequately describe the past two weeks: chaos!

I may have occasionally slept late, leaving kids to watch TV or play their devices. My 9am or later arrival into the lounge would be greeted by starving children whining for food. I stuffed up our household budget for the first week, leaving us with diet staples of potatoes, bread and cheese, and no family outings.

The girls (6 and 3) play very well, but in large sized games that involve the entire lounge room floor and ALL of the toys. Mister 9 does not play well and likes to tell me repeatedly how bored he is and how he wants a ‘difficult’ life, as in before TV or electricity. When I tell him that he is a kid and should be able to create his own fun, he slinks off to him room to play nintendo.

By the end of the first week we had two bed mattresses on the lounge room floor (due to restless sleepers or my laziness about actually taking them to a dark bedroom at night), toys and clothes everywhere else, and permanently messy kitchen. Oh, and one sick child.

Week Two: took the girls to the ballet, four kids to a concert, had a cousin over for a sleepover, offloaded Mister 13 to a friends for two days, and Lily to her Nana’s. And when I finally had less kids, I promptly got a cold/flu, as did Robin. The state of the house was too depressing, and I was too tired, so I escaped to my mum’s for 24hours with Robin to rest and be pampered.

I can’t live this way anymore! Never before have I fantasised so strongly about selling all our possessions and heading off into the sunset (again!).

I’m big on serendipity, and I happened across a blog yesterday, www.planningwithkids.com. It is exactly what the title suggests, and very straight forward, very organised. Totally different to anything I am usually attracted to, but completely relevant and needed for right now.

A midwife once told me that mothers of large families generally fall into two parenting/household organisation styles: a whatever goes, happy chaos; or a militant, highly organised system style. I used to be the former, though I like to think of myself as quite organised. Increasingly, I can see the attraction and need for a bit more of the latter.

Life feels overwhelming and purposeless when I feel trapped by our ‘stuff’ and by the rigid routines of school etc…. This blog confession is the first step of my recovery. I am putting it out there, making myself accountable for bringing some practical organisation to this family. Hopefully it will create more time and freedom for my creative self to soar.

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§ 2 Responses to Chaos and Recovery

  • trace says:

    kirrilee thankyou for sharing this, makes me feel not so alone in this mother/house/kids/art craft baking thinking. as wonderful as it is being a mum no book, advice etc can prepare you for the true reality of it all. i’m grateful for your honesty.

  • Sara says:

    Kirrilee, what you are saying makes lots of sense. If you want to go with the relaxed option, you have to be prepared for the chaos. I’ve learned a few things over these past 12 weeks, and organisation is a key element to my fitness/weight loss journey. I’d be happy to chat with you about some of things I’ve learned along the way if it’d help you. I’m happy to be a sounding board.

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