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AP Mom to 5
Well, with so many and their ages, you are going to be really busy for a while. But you can stop the merry-go-round and feel a little less like you're chasing your tail.
I agree about prioritizing. What *has* to be done? Today? This week? This month? For the major things a house hold needs to run well, you should be able to split them up so you're doing only one or two per day. Pick a day or two for laundry only, and don't also try to go shopping on those days. And on the days you go shopping, don't try to also scrub down the bathrooms. And writing it down will help. You don't need to have a supermom organizational binder scheduling you down to the minute but having a list of seven meals posted in the kitchen (so you can shop for them and plan ahead a little) every week, and the day's to do list (keep it short) posted where you can see it should help a lot.
For homeschooling--the 4 and 5 year old don't need a whole day's worth. Because you have only two of them, and because they're with you all day, you could probably fit the actual formal school work into 15-30 minutes tops. The rest of what they need to know they will pick up from having conversations with you, having story time, and from their own play and observations. If you feel like they need more, there are many neat learning websites available. You could give them each a limited period of time to do one of those. And that would take one of them "out of the mix" and keep them occupied for that short time.
You could also sort toys into bins, and allow each child to pick one bin for "school time" while you take turns working with individual children on bookwork.
For food--keep it super simple. Stock up on healthy foods that don't need a lot of preparation, or else prepare it ahead so that you can just pull it out of the fridge and throw it on the table. And if they eat PB&J sandwiches with carrot sticks and apple slices 6 days a week for lunch, you are not a bad mom. Sometimes simplest is best.
The two things I find most helpful:
*Daily rest-time. I put the kids in their room with a book on CD, and a pile of books to read. For the span of the CD (40-60 min), the house is quiet. If you haven't done this, it might take some weeks or even a month or two to make this a habit all of them can keep, and it'd probably work best to have it at the same time your babies regularly nap.
*Keeping them pretty much in the same room at one time. If they're all over the place, I find myself feeling like I'm running around putting out fires. When we get up in the morning, they all stay in the room with me until everyone is dressed and beds are made, then we go downstairs together and everybody sits and the table while I bring out breakfast. So when it's story time, we *all* sit down and have a story. When it's TV time, they *all* watch. When it's play time, they play in the living room. When it's bath time, they're all in the tub or shower together, and nobody leaves until everybody is ready to leave.
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