Tuesday, January 12, 2010

ReRun: A Place for Everyone

When we moved here to rural Kentucky five years ago, we had six children ages 11 to 8 months. They were pretty small.

Fast forward four years, and I have nine children ages 15 (almost 16) to 4 months. There are more of them, they are bigger, and they are noisier.

I have never been able to handle the noise very well. (Ironic that God gave me nine children and sensitive ears, isn’t it?!) They also stay up later, so I have people around me from the minute I wake up in the morning until the minute I go to sleep at night. We were needing some serious re-visiting of where everyone is in the house when we homeschool. For the sake of my sanity, you know. Those in-patient treatment facilities are way out of the budget.

Sometimes it just works out that you need to re-think the flow of your day and how you are going to run everything. Where will everyone be? Will there be traffic jams? Can you anticipate trouble areas?

Thinking fresh sometimes finds a solution you didn’t see before.

Anyone who knows me at all knows I love to move furniture. Every few months I get this gleam in my eye, and anyone who can be found is trapped into hauling furniture from one place to another.

One day I asked Eric if he could help me a little…that it meant thinking outside the box. His response? “Every time I think outside the box, I end up moving furniture.”

They all roll their eyes and humor me. For I am my mother’s daughter after all. She does the same thing. I come by it honestly.

Eric always lets the boys know that they are getting plenty of practice for when they are married, when their wives ask them to do this very same thing. He also spends much time reminding them that many times their wives will ask them to do things which don’t make sense, but men just do them so they can love their wives. He begs Angela to remember this when she is married and wanting a change of living room arrangement. She smiles while rubbing her shoulder muscles.

The boys groan when I ask for things to be moved in yet another arrangement. I pretend not to hear a bit of it since I am mentally trying to figure out how to get our current furniture to work better in a room which still has the same awkward dimensions.

I was in desperate need of figuring out new places for everyone. I have five independent scholars, a kindergartner, and the three-and-under crowd (three of them). Having them all in the same area was just too chaotic. So we rearranged. Now the three girls are in the rooms upstairs, each in their own spaces so they don’t bother each other. The two boys are each in their rooms. The kindergartner is at the table with me, and I am able to work on keeping the three-and-under crowd under control, which is not as easy as it sounds.

This has really helped. I have not felt I am ready to lose my mind even once recently.

So here’s my take home tidbit for you…find a place for everyone. Train them to stay there! Train them to work without you watching them every minute of the day.

I often get asked how I “Do It All.” Anyone who knows me in real life knows I don’t even try to “Do It All,” and much of what I do try fails miserably. And what works in my family won’t necessarily work in yours. So rather than specifics, I hope to share principles which will help you.

1. Everyone has a place.
2. Everyone stays there unless called by Mama.

Let me know if this works for you! I’d love to hear from you either via e-mail OR comments! Happy planning!


  1. I like this idea Cari, but I have to tell you it sounds daunting at present.
    I have a (fall-through-the-cracks) child whom I cannot seem to keep in her chair at meal times!
    I am determined to remove her from her food if she leaves it without asking, but man! It was easier with number one. Subsequent children have a sappier momma which is not necessarily good.
    If I can get her to stay in a place she should obviously stay...
    maybe I will try this on the schooling front.

    That or rearrange the furniture (which seems much more achievable!)

  2. Sounds good to me!

    I only have two kids to get through a school day and they usually work together alright because they are close in age, but there are those times when I have to separate them for everyone's sake!

  3. I feel encouraged just knowing that another mother has some of the feelings I have. The under 5 crowd can really make it hard most days. I must rethink this.

  4. Thinking outside the box and furniture moving are my specialty. Drives my family bonkers, but keeps the clutter and dust bunnies away. With each move we find a better way to organize the space. I imagine there is never a dull moment at your house!