View Full Version : What do you do to make your lives easier?

Mary FL
11-01-2012, 07:55 AM
I don't think I've read this before on the boards, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been discussed before and I missed it...:)

As I begin a new day, I'm looking around our home. Next month it'll be a year since we received ds' diagnoses. We moved into our new home almost a year ago, too. All the running to therapy, doctors' appointments, consults, research, medicines, has left me tired, and, um, a bit overwhelmed.

What type of things do you do to help your household run smoothly? What have you "given up on"? (House Beautiful, anyone?) What routines help you? How do you deal with all the school papers, projects, etc.? Do you take a picture of the project and pitch it?

How did your attitude on life change when you realized you would need to modify your expectations? That somehow, a "new normal" has to be put in place. For instance, we don't entertain. I'm too tired! I don't really want to be like that, though, and it's not fair to my children.

I don't know if my questions are clear; I welcome any insight. Typically I would say "go easy on me", but I'm getting too old for that.

11-01-2012, 10:40 AM
This helped me tame a lot of what is in our home. I need to tame again, and again, every few months. I think stuff comes out of hiding, rather than bringing THAT much in...


11-01-2012, 03:36 PM
For our school day, we have to keep a similar schedule from day to day. We always start at (or near) the same time and stop at the same time every day. We follow the same order of things as much as possible, though my ds doesn't mind so much anymore if I switch things up a bit. He does mind though if I start before "time" or go over too much.

We try and keep outside activities to a minimum as well. I know it's hard with all the appointments, though. We don't have any outside therapies anymore, and when we did it was only speech and we did that in the late afternoon. So try and choose appt. times that won't cut into the flow of your day. That is big for us too. If the flow gets broken by an outside event, then I can't get it back.
For doctors appts. I try and make them as late as possible too. Of course, sometimes you just have to take what you can get and just roll with it.

We attend an outside co-op once per week on Friday mornings, so that is also a constant.

For field trips, we usually take the whole day off. It's just easier that way, unless it something small that's in the afternoon only. Then we follow are regular morning routine, and take off the afternoon. I never try to squeeze in schoolwork after a field trip. It just never goes over well.

These are probably things you've heard before, but those are the big ones for us.

11-01-2012, 03:50 PM
As far as attitude... that's a tough one, and a constant battle.

Most days are fine, but then my ds14 will just have a bad week and I often wish he (and I) didn't have to deal with learning disabilities. It's so hard. It's hard keeping things positive when I can't seem to find the right way to teach something. But I've learned over time to not show when I'm disappointed. I know he's trying, and it's hard on everyone. Sometimes I'm the one who needs to try harder :unsure: to make sure I have all my ducks in a row. But sometimes I get tired too, and it just doesn't happen.

This week was a bad week all around. He hit a wall this week, and things have been going so well. I know that's going to happen occasionally but it's still hard. I told him it was the dark, cloudy, rainy weather we've had all week, and that next week will be better. That seemed to help both of us. Trying to stay positive is very hard, but we keep going.

Lots of humor helps too. We like to take joke breaks, you can get books from the library, or we'll take a break and compose a funny poem or watch a cartoon... youtube bugs bunny! :lol: We like cookie breaks too. Or I'll pass out a little chocolate. Little motivators go a long way. :) Sometimes change of scenery helps. I recently changed the venue where we do spelling, and that little change has been a boost. You just never know.

11-01-2012, 08:23 PM
I have asked myself this same question and the last few months have been figuring that out~how to change my expectations and accept that this is the life I/we have.

For my home, it's finally gotten mostly under control (now my garage is a different story!). I have done FLYlady off and on for the past 10 years and that has helped me get rid of all the clutter in my house and establish pretty consistent morning, afternoon, and evening daily routines as well as weekly routines (to have a consistent schedule for each day of the week and to spread out what I need to do over the week). This helps me relax and know that everything will get done throughout the day/week because there's a time for me to take care of it.

We stay home a lot because my kids do best at home with a consistent schedule. I try to follow a simple menu plan and do shopping/errands once a week. I also shop online a lot, on amazon for various things, for kids' clothing at places where I know the sizes and fit of the clothes, and I just started using alice.com for most of my household/toiletry needs. It is delivered right to my house and it's one more thing I don't have to worry about. I try to simplify everything I can.

I am terrible with paper but for school, I have a basket that I put all the kids completed work in and then I store it in a box (in the garage-ha!) labeled with that year. I am also going to purchase a used 3 or 4-drawer file cabinet and put it in my garage near the door (with a rug under it so it doesn't scrape on the concrete) and set up all our files in that one place. We keep a trash can and shredder there too so that will help.

Like most moms, for a long time I have pushed my own needs aside because our children's needs were/seemed more pressing. My oldest was born with a birth defect so it has been one crisis after another for almost 11 years now, also with a second special needs child now. I found myself very burned out, exhausted, and overwhelmed. I am learning now how to take care of my needs so that I have more to give. For me it starts with my physical needs like rest and good nutrition, and also what I need to do to refresh my spirit so that my soul is at peace and I am trusting God to meet our needs for each day. I have a lot of channels set up on Pandora that I listen to, I light candles that smell good, I usually keep a secret stash of dark chocolate in the house, I keep good books for me to read in the bathroom/my nightstand, I buy lotions that I like, I put a certain amount on a Starbucks each month so that I can treat myself occassionally when I am out, so that I am nurturing myself so I have something to give.

Also, I have had to acknowledge my feelings about my children when they come up and allow myself to feel them, to grieve and not shove everything down. My life looks quite a bit differently than I thought it would so I am always adjusting my expectations. For this season of my life I have let a LOT of things go and keep things as simple as possible. I try to plan well but live in the day, if that makes sense. Holding my plans loosely because I don't know what the day or week will bring. The most important thing for me is that there is love and peace in our home each day and that is what I try to focus on (not that it's always like that, but it helps me). I have goals for my kids that I update each quarter and that includes daily living skills and and social skills, character traits, executive functioning skills, manners, etc. I try to keep moving them along and celebrate the progress we are making.

As for appointments, we try to make ours for Tuesdays only, and if that's not possible Thursdays are the alternate day. That way I kind of know how to plan for the week. My kids all do one activity at a time, except one child who is not doing activities for awhile until we work on some other things. I schedule things for times that work for us.

I hope something in there is of help to you. :) :group:

Lindsey Carter
11-01-2012, 10:33 PM
I school year round. So we can just take a day off or a half day off when needed. We do a couple of 3 week vacations a year. This is long enough to get a break, but not long enough to forget a bunch of stuff. ;) We do light "holiday school" from the week of Thanksgiving through the first 2 weeks of Dec. This is just math, phonics and holiday related stuff.

We don't have regular therapy, but we do often have monthly visits to a specialist for dd. This involves 4 hours of travel time and a couple hours of waiting at the hospital. I use this time for read alouds. We also will sometimes work on simple art projects (like drawing), math review pages, maps and other things that are easy to do on the train or in a waiting room. I have clipboards and pencil cases for each of the dc and this helps a lot. ;) I sometimes add in special field trips, like a museum, or stop at a playground when we are in Tokyo (near the hospital). When we lived in the US and drove to the specialist we used to listen to a lot of books on CD.

For my LD kid I make sure that I don't spend all my time on his weaker areas, but also spend some time on his strengths and the things he enjoys. I've also changed my expectations a bit. I look to see that he is making progress rather than compare him to others.

I haven't figured out how to keep up with all the house stuff.:unsure: I'm interested to here any good tips. I live without a dryer, a dish washer, a real oven, pre-packaged food (like mixes, canned good, frozen stuff, etc). So laundry and meal prep/ clean up takes a lot of my time. I also have some very creative and very messy kids! :lol: I do try to give myself lots of time at home (although there never seems to be enough!).

Having one kid with an autoimmune disease, another child with dyslexia , a 5 yr old, having my own health issues and living in Japan isn't easy. I've come to except that people just don't understand homeschooling here and can't relate to our family's issues and that it's okay to be different. I need to do what is best for my family, and even in so doing there is only so much that I can do. It's hard and not what I thought my life would be like. Still, there are little joys and accomplishments in our lives that others would take for granted, but mean so much to me.:hcry: We celebrate those. I also rest in knowing that God choose to give these children to me, I am right where he wants me to be and he knows the hard things I face. He is working in ways that I cannot see, he is building great character in my family and his grace is sufficient for me!

11-02-2012, 11:18 AM
I am not an organized person to start with, so ... well there is that.. But
I did decide to get two 3 ring binders for the kids to store each years work. One binder for all their FIAR specifics.. Lapbooks things, projects that fit and photos of projects that don't. And another binder for Math, penmenship, verses learning ect.. Then at the end of the year, I put them into a folder or envelopes and put then into a box in the garage. A box that is labeld for each kid.

Life is really hectic, so we take a day here and there.... "inservice day" the public school calls them. We have fun days for outside days, especially now with leaves falling. I make sure I take a coffee break between each kid. (I have to school them separate because each kid has to have me present for each subject.
The house is probably must worst subject, and being that I have a husband that loves a clean and tidy house.. this is a sore subject. But I keep trying. I try to do a give away pile each week so keep weeding out all the "stuff" that tends to clutter. Clutter will make anyone crazy, so keeping that at bay has helped.

Mary FL
11-18-2012, 07:18 PM

Two things I need to work on! Thank you for your responses. I didn't get to post till now.
:group: to all of you!