One question I frequently get as a mom of five is “how do you do it?” And to be honest I don’t have an exact answer. You kind of just figure it out.
But I will say that two very important things I learned from sports that help with the chaos that is life with five kids.
The first is teamwork. I’ve always considered myself to be an unselfish teammate and would work with my team so we could get a win. Even in an individual sport like running, I still saw and appreciated the value of teamwork as we were able to push each other through runs and workouts which made me a better and faster runner while also helping our team.
Teamwork is how Chris and I manage the day to day with the kids. We split up certain tasks. He does most of the drop offs and pick ups from school while I do all the behind the scenes prep: clothes, laundry, remembering what theme day it is for school etc. On Saturday mornings one of us goes to soccer or basketball while the other goes to dance. And bedtime is bottle with Bryce for one or stories with the boys while the other does stories with the girls. We work together to get through the craziness of every day.
We also have some great helpers. We had twin sisters watch the boys in the fall. One comes mornings in the spring and we have two other college students help fill afternoons and gaps of coverage we have. My mother in law comes and my dad usually come over once a week and help for a few hours. So we have a great team to help us.
The other important thing I learned from my many years in sports is the importance of time management. There is very little time to ourselves with five so it’s important to take steps to make things less hectic each day. It means maximizing the little free time there is to get ahead on laundry or chores that need to be done. It means using breaks during the work day to get a few things done.
Time management was necessary to get schoolwork done while playing sports. In high school we only had one gym so sometimes we could have the late practice for basketball and that meant trying to use that time before practice to get my homework done. If I had a free period during the day, I often spent it getting my homework done or getting ahead on work in the library. In season we could get back late during the week from an away game so it was important to stay on top of work or get ahead if possible because we would get home so late.
In college I would try to stay ahead as much as possible as well. Track meets would literally take up an entire Saturday so there wasn’t that time to use for work. That often meant bringing some work with me to some meets since I would often just do one event and had some time before or after my race. (I was often the first or last race!) Fridays were a good day to get a lot of work done with a meet or race the next day and usually a party or night out Saturday and half of Sundays or most of the morning spent at our long runs at Washington Crossing. If I had a lot due sometimes I would work instead of going out. But if I could stay ahead I would.
So now when it comes to balancing work and life with five, it’s not that crazy because I’ve been used to being busy my whole life. I developed time management through sports and just plan ahead as much as I can.
Life is still crazy most days. It’s exhausting and there’s very little me time. There’s few warm meals for me or Chris, hardly any time for the two of us and not much sleep but I love life with my starting five and wouldn’t change a thing. And thanks to some things I learned through sports life with five is crazy but manageable.
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