Girls Write Out
Friday, April 23, 2010

Ten years' ago, I told my husband that I could not handle four children -- he reluctantly gave up this dream, but then God intervened. Now I have four children, the youngest is nine. The problem is, I was right! I can't handle it! I want you to imagine my brain for a minute -- well, no twenty seconds, because that's really about my attention span. Now, take that attention span and stuff in a schedule that would choke up Martha Stewart and you have my issue. I never, ever get to feel like I "win".

Yesterday, I was so proud of myself. Our kitchen is currently torn apart, but I went to a coffee shop, wrote until it was time to get my daughter, came home, got her folder for tutoring and went back to the school. A day's accomplishment, I wrote amidst total chaos in the house by escaping it! Good plan.

So on about 4, I realize third son is missing. "OH my gosh, Seth had his first track meet today!" I rushed out the door, and literally, missed his run by about three minutes. GRRRR. Failure. Real failure? His face saying, "It's okay Mom, at least you remembered to pick me up." Doesn't that make you want to cry?

I'm trying not to be an all-or-nothing person and to see rewards in daily living, but it really is hard when you daily forget something: A doctor's appointment, a hair appointment, something the school asked you for. The list goes on and on, but everyday is filled to capacity. And it changes daily. The schools always seem to be on some weird schedule, and with three schools and four kids, it's a recipe for disaster. My one son started all week at 7:35. Only today, it's 10:45. The other kids have late start on Wednesday, but Elle is out 30 minutes early on Tuesdays -- add in orthodontists, dentists, soccer and now track and it's like, how many things can I forget today? It's like the School District is out to get me -- which I know, is paranoia. You're not supposed to have four kids and live in one of the hardest school districts in the country. I need one for simple parents.

So the only thing I can think to do to simplify is not write, but then I'd fail at sanity too. I need to hire some help I suppose, but I'm terrible at directing, so that would just be one more failure to add to my list. The best thing I've found is colored 4 x 6 cards and writing the days' activities on it -- but something gets in the way, or Elle has run off with all the cards and I'm at square one. So what's the best decision you've made in your life to simplify?

Incidentally, that is not my desk. Nor will it ever be.

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posted at 12:51 PM  
  Comments (17)
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At 4:28 PM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

I can relate, Kristin. I have to keep the kids' schedules on a Post It note that I take in my car. I'd be lost without it--and I only have 3 kids to run around.

At 7:40 AM, Blogger VaQueenBee said...

I have a calendar in my bathroom that I write EVERYTHING down on. Then each morning my dear, organized husband reminds me of what I have to do that day! If I don't put it on that calendar, I usually forget!

At 8:43 AM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

I live by a calendar and still mess up.

It's been a crazy week, and I was actually off by one day. In other words, When it was Wednesday, I thought I was fulfilling Thursday's appointments. By Friday, I totally messed up my appointments. Guess I should have looked at my calendar again--or asked someone what day it was. Sigh.

I don't know how you women with a family do it. My kids are grown and I still struggle with keeping things straight!

At 12:29 PM, Blogger Sabrina L. Fox said...

With only one child I do feel for you. But then I have a son who doesn't bring home papers from school or forgets to give them to me until I've missed something.

Like last night when he asked me... "Aren't you going to take me to the spring social mom?" To which I replied "What spring social"

"The one that starts in five minutes." Sigh.

We did decide after Tanner had a chance to try several sports that he had to pick two sports he loves and do those. I couldn't keep up with sports every season. It was too much. Good luck, Kristin. And I was really impressed thinking how organized your desk was. LOL.

At 12:39 PM, Blogger Marybeth said...

I totally relate! Try as I may I inevitably drop a few plates. I have six children and-- like you Kristin-- I wonder about my abilities to mother them all effectively quite often!! Thanks for being honest about the struggle to keep it all in balance.

At 3:07 PM, Blogger Deena said...

We have a total of 8 children, but only one under 18. I thought, "Great, this will be a breeze! Only one child to keep track of things for!"

Thus far, he's missed his PSAT's because I forgot, missed around 5 tutoring sessions, misplaced his English portfolio just before time to turn it in, and came close to missing a major three day event because I thought I'd lost the paperwork.
Turned out, Dad turned it in for me so I WOULDN'T lose it or forget it.

I just take comfort in two things, since no system keeps me corraled:

1) God holds me securely, so I'll never truly be 'off' or 'lost'.

2) Creativity breeds I am EXTREMELY creative! LOL!!

Just think of time, no schedules, no keeping track....just eternity.....ahhhh...

At 10:23 PM, Blogger EJ said...

I can relate - I have 4 adopted kids w/special needs - 2 teens & 2 grade schoolers. I can't live without my calendars - I have one of those calendars with the big squares hanging in the kitchen and then transfer everything to my daytimer in my purse. I also have a notebook that I make to do lists in so I remember to do all that I need to do (update frequently). With all of the church activities, school, therapies, doctor appts., etc. - we had to limit the kids to one "add'l activity" at a time (church not included in that limit). Even with all that - I still mess up sometimes. That's life - don't beat yourself up. One of the biggest things I've learned is that its ok to say "no" sometimes to other people!

At 1:08 AM, Blogger SketchGirl said...

My dad is like that so any appointments he has set up by my mum and his receptionist. Otherwise he uses the oldest excuse in the world "I forgot". My brother is similar he now has a phone which aligns with his computer and any appointments he has are emailed to him with reminders attached. Me i have a regular routine with minimal changes and to shake it up occasionally with weekend trips away every could of months.

At 2:18 AM, Blogger Pam S. said...

As I was reading your post, I kept thinking, "She must be joking about being disorganized...look at her OCD-inspired, pristine desk in the picture." Ha!Ha! There was the truth, like a punchline, at the bottom of the post.

Thanks for being real. As I read the comments here, it's nice to know I'm in good company. For me, this has not been a good week for meeting deadlines.

At 3:07 AM, Blogger Anna said...

Being a mom is called the hardest job in the world. So hats off to all you moms!

At 9:05 AM, Blogger Jaime said...

I only have 1 child. I think I'm stopping. That's my simplify solution based off the wisdom of your experience ;)

At 10:37 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

Sabrina, it only takes one child to forget something, and Mom gets blamed. Been there. I feel for you.
Marybeth, I bow at your feet. SIX! And Deena, see, you're who I am talking about. You have that calm MOM demeanor. YOu are perfect for 8 kids, you don't get caught up in what you forgot.

I should take a picture of my REAL desk, but I'd be too embarrassed. LOL

At 10:44 AM, Blogger Georgiana said...

Even with a mere 3 children, I can't keep track. So many activities, and only 1 mommy. Really, the odds are not in my favor.

PS. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean people aren't out to get you ;)

At 9:10 AM, Blogger Robin Caroll said...

Ok, I had the same issues. But now, I use the calendar with alerts on my cell. When hubby or one of the kids tell me something they need to do, or an appt, or a change in their schedule, I don't keep up with it. I hand them my cell and they input the info. On the dry erase board on the fridge, if it's something I need to prepare for in advance, they have to write it, this Wed it says "get stuff to make cupcakes for Remy to take to school on Friday. Need 30 of them"

That way, the responsibility isn't all mine, it teaches everyone we have to communicate and work as a team, and I haven't missed nearly as much as before!

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

Robin, that's a good idea. My cell phone alerts me, but I think I need better system, so I have it alert me earlier, and I like the idea of the kids entering their info instead of me. They're so much better at technology anyway.

At 2:21 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

Kristin I have 5, ages 9-2. I have the oldest 3 boys schedules inputed into GoogleCalendar which sends alerts and reminders to my cell phone as texts. I can specify if I want a reminder the day before or 15 minutes before. Then, if I'm in front of the computer writing, and something pops into my head, I have the entire calendar there to check.

At 3:49 PM, OpenID katiejohnsonwriter said...

I wish I had $1 for every person in my family who says to me, "Remind me to...", because apparently I have the job of memory keeper in this family.

One trick I've used is to set my iphone alarm to go off a little before the specified date/time of the uber-important event. When it goes off, I glance at the phone which gives me the reminder note I've assigned it, of something that needs to be accomplished right away. My iphone is my best friend now.


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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