Reduce your workload and bring your children closer to each other! We call it the Partner System.
I guess, in a sense, it isn’t exactly reduced, but it is changed and truly easier. As I have more children I have found myself doing less of the little tasks and more of the managerial tasks. I have gotten a promotion! 🙂
Each of our older children are assigned to a younger sibling. They help the younger child with most of their daily tasks; getting their breakfast in the morning, changing their diaper, holding their hand when we are in public together, etc. They become their second parent, in a sense.
Some people may think that this can cause resentment from the older child but in fact it has caused our older children to learn responsibility and get closer emotionally to one of their little siblings.
It has also given us (Ed and I) a little bit of emotional freedom. I still constantly count in my head (and sometimes out loud) to make sure I see them all but at least I know that I’m not the only one looking out for them.
And, if you think this will compromise your role with either of the children, it doesn’t. Sometimes I’ve gotten comments like “but, you’re the mom”. Then I remind them that ‘the mom’ just said to take care of their partner!! It’s good for both of them. 🙂
Does it work?
Well, most of the time. I don’t want you to think that everything will be on auto-pilot if you try this. It won’t. It will probably be better if there is effort on both sides. Unfortunately though, you will have to keep up making sure everyone is helping their partners.
For example, at every meal (if it’s buffet style, that is) I announce for everyone to take care of their partner’s first. There will also be a few older children that will rarely need to be reminded. You’re not reminding the group because of the ones that rarely forget but because of the ones that need help remembering their responsibilities.
Also, the little ones will remind their partners when they need something. This is handy because it gets hard to accomplish anything if Mom always has a little one coming to them for something. Yes, I get my children water, etc. when they need it. Yes, I have to periodically remind the older children about their responsibilities regarding their younger partners (daily sometimes!). And, yes, I will ask whoever is in the kitchen to get some milk for a little one, even if it isn’t their partner. We are a family so we help each other out.
But, this little idea has helped streamline a lot of the little things that are always needing to be done with smaller children; baths, diapers, hanging up clothes, dishing up plates. It has also helping me have another set of eyes on my children when we are out in public.
Has anyone else tried this method? What has been your experience if you have? I’d love to hear any ideas you may have that may have worked better in your family!
I generally use it for when we are out of the house. I used to use it quite a bit but then decided, “Hey, I am the mommy and I need to be the mommy…” So, now, when I ask them to “buddy up” they usually pick someone to help care for and I take the baby. I usually do all the baby/toddler things myself. But, I am an older mother and have been there and done that. Smiles to you.
I know a lot of mothers that do it that way. I’ve found, in my family, that it helps the middle children learn how to care for the baby (any baby, really) and it brings them a lot closer. They, obviously, don’t completely take care of the baby. I do most of her care. But, if I’m in the middle of making dinner or vacuuming, and Judith needs to be changed, I’ll call one of the children to do it. And, a lot of the time, if her partner isn’t busy, it will be her (Felicia). This not only has brought them closer (they play a lot when she’s getting changed) but has caused my children to be pretty proficient in most daily tasks.
Such a great idea. Tomorrow, I’m going to come up with a list of what I want my 3 teens to help my younger 3 with. This would make my life so much more simple. Thank you for sharing!!
I glad I could help Jessica! Not only will this help you but it also helps them learn self-sacrifice for the good of others. An important lesson our youth need to learn! Good luck!