Glad to see other people posting to this thread!
AngelBee- Honestly, one of the EASIEST things to do when you have a small babe is to snuggle in bed and read to the older children! BTDT. I don't know what kind of homeschooler you are, but if you let go of some of the "structure" in the early weeks, and let the kids come to you and the baby, where ever YOU are, it is much easier! The computer can also be your best friend. I let one kid use it, while I work with the other, so they aren't off making mischief. Hands on activities can also serve this purpose- think play dough at the kitchen table, or a sensory table filled with sand, or beans or water that they can only use when you are working with someone else. When the weather gets nicer again, we will do "school" outside, in the fenced back yard. That way, they can get some sunshine, fresh air, and movement in between needing to sit still, and they aren't messing up the inside of the house! That's when we will break out the paint, and chalk...
We've been working on feeding/ stocking the freezer and pantry with easy to reheat meals, and healthy, quick grab snacks. Has anyone else been doing the same? I'd love to hear what you've put aside for after the birth...
We're also working on streamlining the laundry situation. That will help make getting out of the house, when needed, a lot easier.
Each kid has a plastic basket in their room for dirty laundry, and one of these for inside of it:
Everyone has been assigned a laundry day, and they are expected to bring the bag of laundry to the washer on their day. There should be no reason for laundry to get thrown on the floor, because the bin never leaves the room! Only the bag does!
I've decluttered clothes, and moved most shirts onto hangers. I find I end up with less "mess" that way.
I also got these from IKEA:
Each of the older kids has been assigned a color. Their hangers are that color (so I know when I find one left on the floor who it belongs to, and no one can monopolize all of the hangers!), and the storage container from Ikea is that color as well. The Ikea storage containers come in a 6 compartment size, and a 3 compartment size. I use the 6 compartment size to put together full outfits in advance for the week, when they put their laundry away, and the 3 compartment size is for sports equipment, cool weather accessories, etc.
We did end up signing the kids up for basketball. The gym where it is held is really close (within walking distance- 1/2 mile), and they don't practice at all on Wednesdays. We were also able to specify one other day during the week when our family wasn't able to practice. So that means practices will be held on Tues., Thurs., or Friday, and games Saturday. AND they were okay with my oldest bringing his siblings over- I don't need to be there! I decided it was a good idea, because it means one or more less kids in the house, a couple of times a week, and more quiet for the baby and I!
I'm also shopping around for a postpartum doula and/or Mother's Helper. Going rate around here for a postpartum doula is $15-25/hour.
Any other ideas for staying sane would be welcome!