Coming back this year, as you know, I was scared. I was nervous about many things, but maybe the biggest was being overwhelmed. When my anxiety does hit, it's hard to not feel like the whole world is crashing down.
Thankfully my anxiety has stayed under control and things have fallen into place really nicely the last three weeks. That said, there are some things we have changed to assist in maintaining my sanity. I wake up with Josh and be sure to shower before he leaves for work; the boys have enforced quiet time in the afternoons so I get a break; and the twins have started helping out more around the house.
If you could come over, this is what you would see. What you won't see is the medal I deserve for tolerating the standards my six year olds have, when inside my own personal standards are drowning in their tears. Having the boys do chores (and take responsibility for some things) means that once they have done a job, I really need to leave it alone. (Even though I really want to re-fold, re-sort, reorganize.)
So when I asked Logan if he could put Candyland away without spilling all the cards (can we just take a minute here and agree that Candyland is the second worst childhood game ever? Chutes & Ladders, of course, being the first. How do you even win that game? It's a trap, I tell you. Forty-five minutes later you're still playing because that jerk of a little girl stole cookies AGAIN and slid down the big pink slide just when you were about to win!) Sorry... where was I? Oh, yeah, Candyland. So he put the game away, and I had to laugh when I entered the playroom later and saw how he "put it away".
It's the same with their laundry. I will wash and dry it, but it is their responsibility to fold it and put it away. They put things in the correct drawers (shirts, pants, pajamas) but let's just say they don't do it how I would do it.
The first week it took a lot of resisting to just leave it. To let them own their work and struggle to find shirts because their folding leaves something to be desired. Now I'm just relieved that I don't have to do it. To make the chore more fun, I let them listen to music when they do it, and it's amazing how much they enjoy that. (Hilarious side note: their favorite song currently is Ridin' Dirty. Oh my god, listening to them sing along kills me!)
They dress themselves, brush their teeth, make their bed everyday, clear the table after mealtime and clean up the playroom. Adding laundry to their chore list has lightened my load incredibly. Another one I added? Putting away the dishes. It takes them a little longer than if I did it, but it's one less time I have to touch the pots & pans! Obviously with their laundry (and making their own beds) it doesn't look as good as I would like it to (I mean, they are only six) but the only 'cost' there is perfection. This morning when Jack was rushing through putting away the dishes, he broke one of my favorite tiny Anthropologie ice cream dishes. He was apologetic, and I was heartbroken. But as Josh and I discussed before he left for work, if a broken dish here or there (or an insanely wrinkled stack of size 7 shirts) is the cost of having our boys learn responsibility and be contributing members of our family, then that's a price we're willing to pay.