survivingmyboyz

tales from a stay-at-home mom of four boys

Archive for the month “October, 2017”

When chaos becomes the norm

“This week was super busy, but it was an off week. We had stuff going on that normal isn’t going on. Next week will be better, it will calm down and get back to normal.” I find myself saying this almost every week. I plan out my week on my dry erase calendar, all marked in color-coded activities for each kid, and something always seems to pop up that normally isn’t there. It might be a doctor’s appointment (we all need flu shots), something at school (I gave up PTSA, but am now art docent for two kids’ classes),  a meeting for homeschooling (did I mention I’m homeschooling the oldest now? That will have to be a whole other post), or some emergency (one of our puppies just spent a week in and out of veterinary hospitals needing two surgeries. Again, a whole other post.), but whatever it is, something always seems to work its way into our schedule each week, making it an atypical week. The problem is, that means there is no atypical week. Either that or, every week is atypical and chaos has just become our new norm.

I get it, I have five kids and people just assume my house is ruled by chaos, and to a certain point it is, but the chaos shouldn’t be in our weekly schedule every week. Yes, there will be some madness in the schedule, but it should be predictable madness. There is always that one day a week where you spend your entire day in the car shuttling everyone around because all kids happen to have some weekly activity on that same day. That is a predictable crazy day that you dread each week, but then it is over and the schedule is a little lighter the rest of the week. My problem is, the rest of my week never seems to be lighter. No matter what my monthly dry erase board says the week is suppose to look like, by the time I write out the weekly schedule on it’s own, sperate, color-coded weekly dry erase board (are you starting to get a picture here of what it is like to manage all these schedules?) something has popped up to be added to the schedule. When something doesn’t pop up to add as I write out the week’s schedule, then it is almost certain that some sickness or emergency will find it’s way into our week and completely throw it off. We are just in a constant state of flux and chaos. This means that every time I think I’m going to have a day to get stuff done or work on some home project that I’ve been trying to find time to do, those plans will inevitably be derailed by whatever pop up event/situation happens that week. I feel like I’m constantly spinning my wheels and never moving because, it is next to impossible to get anything more than the bare minimum done and some weeks  even that is more than I can handle. I know I’m not the only one, because I constantly talk to other busy moms who complain about similar issues. I also know that my case isn’t one of over scheduling my kids either, because I limit my kids to one activity at a time and I count therapies as activities, so that’s only 5 activities a week and three are done during the school day. So why can’t I get a grip on my life and rein in this chaos?

The truth is, I have no answer. I’m not sure that I ever can get out from under the chaos.  After all, I can’t predict nor completely prevent sickness or emergencies.  Things are always going to pop up on my schedule and many of those things will need to be done. What I can do though is, I can except life the way it is, chaos and all. I can learn that life is many moments of chaos strung together, ocassionally broken up by a calm. I can find away to work with the chaos instead of against it and use wisely the occasional down time I am granted. I’d encourage all the moms out there who are dealing with weekly chaos to do the same, because life really never is still or perfect so embrace the chaos and except it as your new norm.

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And then there were five

I’ve never claimed to be a smart woman and I’m definitely not a sane one, but my heart is bigger than the piles of laundry my kids leave behind for me each week. That’s why when the good lord presented us with the opportunity to expand our family I said yes before ever even asking my husband. I’m just lucky that my husband knows me and loves me anyway, because he fully supported my decision.

It all started a little more than three months ago. I was reading a book called The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands (the words “endless demands” really seemed to sum up my life), when I received an email from a pastor at our church who was looking for some temporary housing for a teenaged boy who was going through the emancipation process. I have always wanted to take in older kids who are aging out or have aged out of foster care and have no family to go to for holidays or to share life celebrations with, but I didn’t expect to do it until my boys were a lot older or possibly out of the house. This opportunity spoke to me though and it was only temporary, so I saw it as God calling me to say yes and make a difference in someone’s life while trying out something I’d thought about doing. I figured we already had 4 boys, what was one more? So I emailed the pastor back and told him our not so ideal situation of too many kids and not enough room, but that we would be happy to help if no one else could. I didn’t really expect that this would work out and hadn’t had time to mention my offer to my husband when I heard back from the pastor the next day that they were happy to take me up on the offer. I was excited, but terrified that my husband would kill me when I told him. You know you’ve found your soul mate though when you tell them about some crazy scheme you’ve committed them to and they just look at you lovingly and say “Ok, I know this is something you’ve always wanted to do.” And with that we welcomed a teenager into our home.

Upon arrive at our home, the goals were to help our new teenager to become emancipated, get a job, and set him up with a place to live. The job thing and emancipation were surprisingly easy, but it isn’t easy to find a place for a 16 year old boy to rent and it become increasingly clear that the bigger problem was that this 16 year old boy wasn’t ready to live on his own. I think the idea of him living on his own really started to scare me when I had to stop him from eating fried chicken that he’d bought half a day earlier and had left out on the counter for multiple hours. I started to picture this boy in his own apartment dead on the floor from food poisoning.  I knew he needed more guidance. Aside from my concern over this boys safety and well being if left on his own, I started to enjoy having him around and really didn’t want him to leave. Behind closed doors, my husband and I would talk about how we really wanted to just keep him. So finally I just asked him if he was happy here and he said yes, so asked if he wanted to stay here and he said yes. I responded “good, you are one of us now.” 

That was more than three months ago and I don’t think any of us regrets the decision. He might not be legally or officially ours, but as far as we are concerned, he is our teenager. So now I have five boys and they continue to keep me as busy and happy as ever.

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