We get asked fairly often how we manage life with four kids and busy schedules. I always smile because we have so many friends with more than four kids and probably even busier schedules. Yet there are some days (like yesterday/today), I wonder, "How DO we do this?" One word. The answer is one word. Teamwork.
Let's take Monday for example. It was my first "real" day of school with my own class. So I had to get up a bit early to get going. My students come to my room earlier on the first day than other days. I got up to get ready. Meanwhile, my other half was up getting the kids going for the day. He woke up the big kids, and he laid out clothes for the smallest one. Then he got breakfast ready. After that is done, he went to get ready for the day, and I was on hand to deal with any issues, like spilled milk (thankfully none this time) and brushing hair.
Around 7 (which is not our normal time to leave), I gathered up the girls. They brought their breakfast with them, and we headed to school. About half an hour later, Mark took the boys to their respective schools. The funny thing is that our oldest's school is very near our house and is only a couple of minutes away from my school but with traffic, it can take a very long time to get there. So if Mark is in town, it is better for him to chauffeur than me. (I have a set time to be at work; his day doesn't start quite as early though I am sure it could....)
After school, the girls played in my room while I made sure my students got home. A little bit later, the middle schooler showed up; a friend had picked him up when she picked up her own child. Then we flew out the door, my schoolwork in hand, to pick up our preschooler.
Since my grandmother who has been visiting was leaving tomorrow (Tuesday), we stopped by my parents' house to say good bye to her. We visited for a bit, the kids eating a snack and sharing the news of their day. Then we flew out the door and headed home.
As soon as we got home, I had the big kids bring me any and all paperwork, then they went off to play I rushed around getting dinner (lasagna in a bun) ready. Just as I finished up the prep work and got the meal into the refrigerator, I heard the garage door letting me know Mark was home. I ran out to my car and "tagged" him to be it for a while.
I headed over to the school. It was Open House/Parent Orientation for parents of first/second graders. So I got to take off my teacher hat and be a momma instead (though I never truly take off the teacher hat, especially since I knew some of the parents in the room). While I learned about first grade expectations, Mark bravely took the whole crew to our son's football practice.
As soon as I was done at the school, I stopped by the house and put our sandwiches in the oven, then I headed right back out the door to rescue Mark from the younger crew. He stayed at practice while the other kids joined me. We stopped by McD's for a coke which I highly needed at that point :), then returned home.
We ate a hearty dinner. Then I started the bath/bedtime process for the kiddos. Meanwhile the boys came home and had their dinner. (I am happy that our son is involved in something. I really am. However, I TRULY miss having our family meals!) I read with the younger kids, then between Mark and me, somehow everyone finally went to bed.
Once they were down, I got to work with school paperwork for the kids while Mark worked on the dishwasher. Meanwhile, I also threw a load of laundry in (I am doing the load a day technique...it works pretty well!) and wrote out a list which my sweet husband took to the store to get some needed foods for me for school. While he was gone, I checked e-mail and worked on some school notes.
Shortly afterwards, we collapsed exhausted.
Teamwork is the only way we can do it. The only way.