After lunch we have quiet time. The youngest kids take a nap while the preschool age kids get to watch a movie, so I have some time to myself to sleep, read, watch a favorite show, really do whatever I want. This time is sacred to me, because at 2 p.m. I pick up the older boys from school and then it’s game on!
This time of day always looks slightly different depending on the day, the kids mood, and my mood. But in general the following things always happens:
- A snack. The boys, or one in particular, are always quick to remind me just how starving they are so this happens soon after they get home. Usually it’s something quick like: pretzels, crackers and cheese, apples, graham crackers and milk, bananas and chocolate chips to stick in them (Mr. Banana heads)…
- Down time. This happens alongside the snack, right after they get home. After learning and behaving well at school all day, they just need some time to let loose and be kids!
- Homework. This is where it can get tricky with now 6 kids in school. The oldest two, in 5th and 3rd grade, are fairly self sufficient with usually only reading to do. My two 2nd graders have a small homework paper that takes a minute to do, spelling, and then reading for 20 minutes. They are not the strongest readers so I’m still sitting by them while they are reading and having them rotate reading with me and doing the homework they can do alone. And I squeeze my two kindergarteners in wherever I can, mostly it’s just reading with them and their small homework gets done in the morning.
- Chores. During the summer they rotated chores each week but when school started I wanted them to just be able to play after being at school all day. Well I realized fast that they needed that responsibility and I needed the extra help. So now they each can choose from a list of small things to do. For example, instead of cleaning the whole bathroom they can choose to wipe the toilet down, wipe the sink and counter, or clean up the floor. It only takes them a few minutes but it’s good for their mentality and it adds up for me!
- Free time and Friends. After their homework and chore are done they can either play with friends or just play around the house. I love that the boys are content and enjoy playing with their brothers a lot of the time and forget that other friends are even an option! That being said, friends do come over frequently wanting to play and once one friend comes over everyone wants to play with a friend. Which is fine because for the most part they all play well and outside during this time of the year!
And that gets us to dinner around 6 p.m.! I normally will start making dinner once the homework is done and everyone is playing. This time of day is the hardest on me physically and mentally as I have to be doing 5 things at once, notice I didn’t put the diaper changes, bottle feedings, and snuggling with small children in but they are also occurring. For example: I usually will feed or hold a baby or two while reading with one of the boys because both need to be done. As hard as it is, I do also love to hear about their day and see them interact as they haven’t been with each other all day. It kind of makes up for the crazy!