How does a Mom of 5 do it?!

Mom of 5 makes time when there is none!

By Brie Miller

I often get asked how I have time to write, to read, to clean, to run, to be me. With 5 kids – ages 13, 7, 6, 4 and 1 – things can get tricky. And messy. And frustrating. By no means do I have this whole crazy life thing down to a science. But I do feel pretty lucky to have managed this well so far. So here are some things that work for me – at least for today.

A clean house – Considering my tiny house is full of messy people, I would say it stays relatively clean. It’s decently organized but well stained and looks lived in. I have the advantage of being raised by neat freaks though. A clean house was our norm and I was a clean kid. I also have the disadvantage of being diagnosed with OCD. Not that whole “oh, I’m totally OCD” mentality that makes it sound like a personality trait. I’m talking anxiety levels through the roof when things get “out of control”.  So here’s how I stay on top of most household chores and messes:

  • dishes and laundry every time I walk through the door – they both pile up fast, so I’ll do a quick load of dishes, move some laundry around, fold, put away, whatever can be done in about 10 minutes to stay on top of the piles. So marry a chore to part of your daily routine. It will save time and sanity for sure. 
  • clean up more than cleanING – I have tried so many times to scrub a surface of my house daily. It rarely happens. But what does happen and helps greatly is cleaning up every day and often. I’m always picking up stuff. It’s pretty much a way to give off the impression that your house is clean. Just don’t look closely at the floorboards. Or the shelves. As a matter of fact, maybe we should go have that drink outside …
  • involve your kids – This one is rough and involves patience. My kids have their basic “life” chores and have chores that earn them screen time, treats or money. Most of the time it involves me trying my hardest to not raise my voice regarding the third pair of socks I have found in the dirt today or the apple peels in the bed. But having kids is a constant test of patience and getting them involved is teaching them to become responsible adults. Or something like that.

Reading – reading is my fun. And I will throw up a book review every now and then. From book club to “recreational reading”, it’s something I will always make time for. I will read in 10 minute bursts while cooking. I will take a book with me while doing errands to waste time before pick up. And I will always head to bed early in order to get a good amount of reading in. Full disclosure – I’m a fast reader.

Writing – Like reading, I also write for fun. Well, for the most part. I have a part time job writing for the inter-webs and sometimes those articles are torture to write. But writing has never been a problem for me. It’s also something I do in bursts of time in between playing with the kids, dinner, chores, etc.

Arithmatic… nope. RUNNING! Running has become part of my life. There are three ways I get time on feet in. One is running on the weekends when I can leave the house early and my husband is left to his own devices to keep the kids alive. Second is sitter swapping with friends. I watch your kids, you watch mine. It has been the best thing for free and trusted childcare and helps maintain my friendships because we inevitably end up hanging out. The third is to just bring my kids along. I have a single stroller for when I just have Hunter and am borrowing a double from an awesome friend for when I have Hunter and Sophie. My pace and mileage may be crap, but it’s still training time. I will also throw Hunter in a carrier and get some training in that way.

Oh yeah, that parenting thing – Here’s the deal. I am truly lucky that my children are so independent. They enjoy playing by themselves and with each other. They are explorers and creative thinkers. They are problem solvers and Josh and I rarely step in the middle of fights. We have done nothing but encourage them to be who they want to be. To find out what they enjoy through trial and error. To be honest, they rarely ask me to play with them. But when they do, I try my hardest to play by their rules for a minimum of 15 minutes – per kid per year … I mean per kid per day. And as I mentioned before, I involve them in my daily stuff. They are part of how the house runs. They help clean the house, we read together, we get creative together. Sometimes they just sit by the computer with me and we chat while I write. There’s something to be said for just sitting with your kids when you’re both doing your own thing, but every now and then looking up at each other and smiling. There are so many things that go into this parenting gig, that I don’t even know where to start on advice.

The randoms – Some other things that I do or don’t do that give me “more” time

  • I don’t watch a lot of TV – Sure I have some regular shows, but I’m not kicking back hours on end each day in front of the boob tube.
  • I don’t care much about how I look – my hair, my clothes, my (lack of) makeup. It’s all minimal and easy to maintain. 
  • I keep meals simple – not only does it save us time and money, it saves us the hassle of dealing with the dinner struggle of getting our kids to eat.
  • I multi-task more than I probably should – podcasts are always playing, I do squats and calf raises when typing. I’m helping with homework while doing dishes. I have a hard time sitting still, so multi-tasking is just a norm for me. It’s probably effecting my “end product”, but eh. It works for now and no one has been seriously harmed.
  • I ask for help when I need it – this took me awhile to get. And I paid the price. I still have friends and family who seem to think I can do it all because I made myself out to be that way.

The takeaway – patience and priorities.  Like I said, patience will be tested time and time again with a house full of kids. You must be patient with yourself knowing that you can make the time for yourself and do what makes you happy. I’m not saying that you need to get your proverbial poop in a group and re-prioritize so reading is more important than cleaning. But I am a firm believer that everyone has time for things that hold priority for them. Reading, writing, running. These things are a priority for me. They keep me balanced which keeps me healthy and happy. Which makes the whole family run more smoothly.

momocdBrie Miller is a Mom of 5 and a blogger! Find her:

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  • a thought by Kori Scott

    Thanks, Brie! Love that you do what you love.


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