Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ten Crazy Time Saving Ideas for Moms with Boys

Okay, so my friend, Hillary, over at www.theothermama.com wants me to post something crazy.  Check out her list, she's pretty crazy all the time, and I love to read what she's up to!   Flat out running all the time, I feel like I'm always a bit crazy myself.  So here are some of the crazy ways I manage a household of four boys as a single mom.  Hope they make you smile. Maybe you'll think something in here is so crazy it just might work for you!

  • One....   the  Box O Sox....    Once we find a  volume discount, we get 40 IDENTICAL pairs of sox, and get rid of all other boy socks in the house.  Voila! We never need to match.  We keep them clean with a good dose of bleach in the wash and toss each clean sock into the same box- no pairing no rolling, no sorting!  
  • Two...   I Mark my Territory in Pink...  I remember looking over at my stepson's feet when he lived with us years ago.  "Mike, why do you have my Anne Taylor socks on?"  He didn't know any better, they were an elegant coffee color.  I learned my lesson.  When I want something left alone, I get it in pink or at least with dash of pink flowers.  Pink's not my favorite color, but wow it repels boys!   My cell phone skin, my Macbook cover, my socks, my hoodie--all pink!  Pink chases away boys faster than spiders chase away girls! 
  • Three...  I'll be in the car!    Learned this from a genius mom at a dentist office years ago.  With four school aged kids in the waiting room, she stood up and announced, "kids, I'll be in the car."  With that, she calmly left without looking back.  I was shocked.  How could she leave them like that?  Actually, I was a bit jealous, and soon I knew why she had such confidence.  Within seconds, the kids calmly put away their coloring books, arranged their backpacks, and were out the door only steps behind Mom.  No whining, nagging, or fighting.  I adopted her ways from then on.  I still pinch myself-  it works!  I never have trouble getting the kids gathered up to leave.  Just lead.  When it comes down to it, kids really want to follow you.
  • Four...  Assembly Line Groceries:  It's tough enough clipping all the coupons and keeping up with shopping for five.  So when I get home, I leave the unloading to the boys.  They turn it into fun. When I hear them shout, "ASSEMBLY LINE", I get curious and peak in on them.  This is what I find... the oldest grabbing the bags from the car, knotting the handles so nothing falls out, tossing it to the second oldest who's riding a scooter and scoots over to the third who's standing in the back doorway and handing it over to the youngest who brings it to the kitchen counter.   Once the car's empty, they form their next assembly line to the refrigerator or pantry.  In case you're worried, by now I've gotten wise enough to carry the eggs and bread in myself!
  • Five...   Videogamerama Kitchen Clean Up:   Years ago Dad showed them where they can find dozens of audioclips from their favorite video games - like Mario Brothers or Sonic the Hedgehog.   They take turns switching the clips on the kitchen computer from one to another while they work as a team to clean up in the style of the clip.  When Mario's swimming clip comes on, the younger ones "swim" through the counters as they wipe.  When the sped up clip comes on, they rush like little madmen to get the kitchen done.
  • Six...   Count Your Age Pick Up:  With four boys and a puppy chocolate lab (who takes those 'indestructible' dog toys as a challenge, chewing them into a thousand pieces within about 20 minutes), I do have my moments where I simply have to have a picked up house.  When I'm at the point, I simply shout out "Count your age pick up!"   The boys rocket into action, grabbing objects that need picking up (from bits of trash to books that need to be shelved), counting as many as their age.  Within seconds, the house looks fresh and clean! 
  • Seven...   Secret Hideout Devotion Time:  We find a special nook in the house for devotions, like an empty closet we can all fit in (including the dog).  We take our flashlights and a lit laptop and huddle together to make the moment special.  I love this not just because it gets us feeling warm and cozy, but also it keeps the younger ones from having too much space and wrestling around.  We can actually get some cool discussions going on.
  • Eight...   Brotherly Love Bucks: Occasionally we'll resurrect a form of allowance that's based on heart.   Each day they have the opportunity to "earn" extra rewards through character.  Oh, they have to do their schoolwork, chip in with chores, and practice their violin, anyway, but if they have a cheerful heart, they earn dividends on top of it.  The icing on the cake is the brotherly love buck.  They get together and vote, and only one of the four boys gets the buck.  As they cast their vote, they have to explain what that brother did to earn their brotherly love buck.
  • Nine...     Fiddling Around:   I wanted the boys learning an instrument, and when they didn't seem to have a particular one in mind, I figured why not streamline- just make violin part of their school routine.   What a crazy blessing now.   When they get really rambunctious and I need to whip the house in shape, I send them all in the backyard with their violins.  They've figured out on they're own how to play songs together and have a blast.  The oldest now plays "Devil Went Down to Georgia" and all of them can play a decent Swallowtail Jig together.   Other times, like right now, as I'm typing, they decided they all HAVE to practice their violin at the same time, and my house becomes a funky cacophony of four fiddles.  Cracks me up!
  • Ten...    Buddy Brothers:  From an early age, I paired up the brothers.  The oldest with the third, and the second oldest with the youngest.   Makes my life sane and keeps the boys mentoring each other.  At a restaurant when someone needs to go to the bathroom we simply say, "Buddy Brother" and right away, that little guy's big buddy walks him to the bathroom
Hope these were fun to read.  By now you either think I'm nuts or maybe you have a peek at how I survive with my sense of humor intact!  Blessings!

    19 comments:

    Antique Mommy said...

    You have down to a crazy science! I have just one boy, but I'm going to steal some of these ideas, especially the one about the socks.

    Melanie said...

    kitty - you are a master - stealing some of your ideas, especially the sock one. with different sized boys not sure i can exactly do that but i sure can get them each their own type of sock.

    Tami said...

    Preach it Sock Sister! I too have a drawer that is only for socks and all 3 boys and daddy fish for socks daily (daugther and I retained sock autonomy so far!). It works beautifully and I thought I was the only crazy one not sorting and paring socks from the laundry all these years! My boys are almost all grown now, but I'm wishing I'd had your crazy list years ago. Some great ideas!!

    amykat said...

    I loved reading this! It actually gave me a visual of your crazy, yet sanely structured household....and I grinned the whole time as I pictured you keeping track of FOUR boys. I commend, you sister!

    Dawn said...

    wow- very fun to read! what great ideas! i love the same sox idea! we have been doing that a while :)

    The HoneaBees said...

    I love the "I'll be in the car" one! I am going to try that!

    pendy said...

    What GREAT tips. Even with just one boy and one girl, I was always a fan of the box of socks. My MIL (who had 3 boys) did the same thing...also with their tightie whities!

    Hillary @ The Other Mama said...

    I love ALL these ideas, Kitty. I think I'm going to steal the secret hide out devotion and the pick up your age ones. Maybe they'll be older and will have to pick up more soon!! For now, I love all the ideas and will have to write them down.
    Thanks for joining in the craziness!

    Scott said...

    Love your ideas and love you! I will be incorporating some of these with our crew! I love getting glimpses of the incredible men of God your boys are becoming. Keep up the great work and the wonderful sense of humor and perspective. Heaven is smiling for sure.
    Denise

    Brandi said...

    Pure genius. Definitely going to use these! ;)

    Mimi said...

    Kitty, you are a coool Mom! Can I try the "I'll be in the car" with my 2yr old?! haha..kidding!

    The Incredible Shrinking Woman said...

    Wow, those are some good ideas you have! I couldn't handle the screech of the violin when it came to lessons. Twinkle twinkle little star was nothing more than a series of mommy headaches. Since then the kids have taken up piano/ keyboard, which we have headphones for. Much happier for Mama!
    Loved reading your blog! Can't wait to spend more time on here and get to know you better!

    thegypsymama said...

    Oh my GOSH - I am SO glad that you stopped my blog so I could follow you back here. These have to be the most helpful practical wonderful funny insightful suggestions I have read yet on the internet when it comes to raising boys. Thank you so very much for sharing your experiences with us. Sounds like you are going to have four life long fans - how blessed they are to have such a remarkable mom who understands the rhythms of boyhood.

    I think the sock suggestion and the prayer time in hiding were my two favorites.

    Thanks again - Lisa-Jo

    Tina said...

    I LOVE your box o socks idea. That is not crazy, it is GENIUS!!!

    Lindsey said...

    Hey there! thanks for your comment! i'm assuming you found me from hillary's blog... i loved your "about me", sounds like you have experienced quite a lot in your life. i love to read and always wish i could write like some of the authors i read! looking forward to reading your blog.

    Wendy said...

    Wow Kitty!
    I'm going to have to try some of these. I've only got 2 boys, but I could use some help!! Thanks for posting.
    Wendy

    It Feels Like Chaos said...

    I love all these tips! Seriously, they are super!! I am going to add you to my Google Reader so I can glean more wisdom!

    Matt, Carrie, Lucy and Molly Allen said...

    kitty, thanks for your comments on our blog...i am just catching up with yours...you are a talented writer! my writing is lacking, i know! i was very touched by the post when you were talking to your son about his dad's death...i don't know all the details or anything but it seems like the holy spirit definitely gave you the right words to say at the right time! i look forward to reading more of you posts.

    Kitty @ Four Little Toms and a Mom said...

    Thanks, Carrie, I'll definitely keep up with the Allen family. I love your family time together. Gives me great ideas for my boys!