Managing Your Family
February 12th, 2013 posted by Kelly Huckaby
You’ve probably heard all the names: Domestic Engineer, Household Technician, Housewife, and SAHM (Stay At Home Mom.) Personally, I prefer to be called a Family Manager. I first read this phrase in the book The Family Manager (Word Publishing) by Kathy Peel. I’ve been a Family Manager for over 10 years now, starting on my wedding day. After the birth of my second child I realized that I could not keep my family organized if I was not organized myself. So, over the past six years I’ve been slowly, but surely, getting more and more organized. I’ve found that the initial organization takes a great deal of work, but once the foundation is laid, it’s much easier to keep things running smoothly. It’s sort of like Spring Cleaning, where you spend all weekend devoted to cleaning your home, or once-a-month-cooking , where you spend all weekend cooking. Once I develop an organizational strategy I spend one weekend implementing it. Here’s just a few of the strategies I use:
A six-week rotating menu.
One weekend I sat down and listed all the meals that my family eats. I then cut index cards into eighths and listed a main dish on each piece. These cards were then sorted into categories such as “ground beef,” “chicken,” “beef” and “other.” Then I made six rows and put one “chicken” dish into each row, one “ground beef” dish into each row, etc. After everything was laid out I rearranged them once more, repeating favorite meals two or three times during the six-week period, and balancing the menus for each week. I then wrote them in pen on sheets of paper – one week per page. Now when I make my grocery list I know just what I need. This menu is very flexible. I only list six meals each week allowing for one night of left-overs or a night out at a local fast food place. I also use a pencil to change meals occasionally to accommodate visitors or to try new recipes. Whenever something is on sale at the store I go ahead and buy it. I then either freeze it or work it into the menu.
Quick Clean Up
For quick cleanup when unexpected company drives up, put everything that’s out of place and can’t be put away quickly into a bag or box in the garage or bedroom and sort it out after they leave. This will force you to go through it later and get it all put away.
Courtesy of The Busy Woman
A chore chart for the kids as well as myself.
My computer came in real handy for this! I used a basic spread sheet program to create these charts. I’ve found that we all work better if we know what’s expected of us. Once again, I keep this chart flexible. If a child really doesn’t want to do a chore on a specified day, they can put it off, as long as it’s done by the end of the week.
A file box for addresses of all friends and relatives.
I use the 4″X6″ size so there is plenty of room to list children, birthdays and e-mail addresses. There’s also room to cross off old addresses and list new ones for those people who move. On the back I keep track of the years I sent them a Christmas card.
A small binder for household forms.
Forms like the Chore Chart and Rotating Menu I mentioned above. I also keep track of who I lend books to, important phone numbers and any other information I feel I need to keep handy. This binder is kept on the counter by the phone.
A large binder for homeschooling forms.
This is another area where my computer came in handy. In this binder I keep my lesson plans, spelling lists, personal journal, attendance calendars, field trip forms, book lists, etc. This binder goes with me whenever we travel, whereas the small household binder does not. So, basically, I use a file box and two binders. These items have been indispensable to me over the past years. When my home is a mess and it seems like I haven’t gotten a thing done all day, I can look at my binders or my file box and know that I’m still organized!
about the author Kelly Huckaby is the HOMEWriter. This Christian/Wife/Mother/Writer lives in WI with her husband of 13 years and their five always-homeschooled children. She is active in her local homeschooling support group, is the moderator for four homeschooling and two writing e-mail lists, and has a web page that offers support for families using The Weaver Curriculum. Her goal as a writer is to be an encouragement to other mothers. You can visit Kelly at her Unofficial Weaver Pages.