Never A Dull Moment

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

Our home life is as colorful as the socks on our feet.

Breana Isbell Photography

People often ask, "How do you manage to "fill in the blank" with six kids?"

“My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness . . .”
2 Corinthians 12:9 (AMP)

I am not afraid of weakness.

I believe God can use our weakness far greater than our strength. For example, if I told you how I rise daily at 5:00 am, see my kids off to school by 6:15 am, work out, do my devotional, wash a load of laundry, get showered, dressed, and ready to write by 7:15 am; write until I have to leave for my office by 8:15 am, contend with downtown parking, see my first client by 9:00 am, last client by 2:00 pm, head home to beat the bus, prepare snack, do homework, cook dinner, do chores, and prepare for the next day, that doesn't necessarily inspire you. If anything, it may leave you tired.

Now if I share how it takes the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and a Mel Robbins countdown to get out of bed. How trying to get my boys to take care of their personal hygiene and tidy their room makes me feel like both a farmer and a broken record: The smells, sights and sounds assault my senses daily, often times leaving me talking through clenched teeth, holding my breath, and squinting my eyes. My writing time is often highjacked by someone forgetting a lunch, having to return emails, or it's squandered on social media. Maybe that doesn't necessarily inspire you, but perhaps it will cause you to feel a little more comfortable about your chaos; and hopefully, a lot less alone in your struggles.

Allow me to share some of the colorful ways we balance the beauty of our little big family. From groceries to laundry, teamwork makes our dream work. Here are our top 10 ways to save time, energy, and money. They help our household and will possibly encourage yours to run more smoothly based on the unique make up of your family.

  1. Menus: We have weekly menus that my boys help to create. I got tired of them not eating the super nutritious and delicious foods, so we began including them in the planning and food preparation process. I will allow them to share their favorite menus with you guys on the blog someday.

  2. Groceries: We shop at Aldi to save money, and use Instacart to save time. (Instacart is a shopping app that allows you to purchase groceries online/or on your phone and have them delivered to your home for a small fee.) What I've found is that we save both time and money by using Instacart. Time from traveling to and fro. And money because I can do a thorough inventory of what we have and not repurchase unnecessary items. I will do a blog someday exclusively about Instacart. If you're curious about it and would like to try it out here's my link. Save $10.00 on your first order here.

  3. Chores: "Many hands make light work." Our younger three children rotate dish nights. Our older three children hold them accountable. We have spent lots of time training our older three on how to do chores properly, so it's nice to witness the fruit of our labor as they help teach their younger siblings.

  4. Laundry: "Keep it going, or it keeps growing." Laundry is a team effort. It feels like all day every day that we do laundry. So my time saving tip is to sort the clothes together and not worry about matching socks. We dump all the socks into a giant sock hamper and everyone fishes for socks daily, or matches their own individually. It would be easier to fasten socks together with a safety pin before they enter the washer so they're already matched, but I've never actually done it.

  5. Schedule: We have a shared Google calendar to stay on top of all of our dates. We use to limit sports commitments to one child doing something in one season so the rest of the family can support. But it's challenging to do that now because our younger children are so close in age. Often they will each play a sport at the same time for the same organizations, which cuts down on our traveling and promotes a family fun season.

  6. Holidays & Birthdays: When the world around us speeds up for holidays we intentionally slow down. We don't do traditional things like Black Friday, Christmas shopping, and we've never done a gift exchange. When our big kids were little they thought we were mean. But the older they've gotten they appreciate not having the pressure to spend or stress of shopping. We invest our time and money in making meaningful memories with our children. Birthdays are "relatively" simple. Our family is large enough to have "family only" gatherings that consist of our kids' favorite foods, and one thing they desire.

  7. Date Nights: We have a consistent date night every Tuesday. We started years ago because movie tickets were cheaper on "stimulus Tuesday" and it stuck. Our big kids are supportive of our date nights and they trade off childcare responsibility with one another so that we don't have to pay a sitter. It's also a consistent time for our younger kids to connect with our older children.

  8. Leisure: Each year we purchase a yearly membership at the Huntsville Botanical Garden or a local museum so that we can take advantage of their residual passport program that allows you to utilize the membership in any city you travel to, and as often as you like to locally.

  9. Fitness: We are members at our local YMCA and enjoy going to swim or play as a family often. In the Summer, it's nice to enjoy the pool and in the Winter, it's great to get out of the cold. The child watch program allow us to check our boys in to play (for two hours) while we workout or enjoy some time together sitting in the jacuzzi.

  10. Faith & Discipline: When our kids misbehave we select topical scriptures that address their behavior. We lovingly explain what the scripture means, then we have them write the verse a certain number of times (based on how hold they are) after they've completed the assignment they recite the scripture by heart and explain to us what it means. If they memorize the scripture right away, they no longer have to complete the assignment. Our nine year old writes his scripture nine times, our ten year old writes his ten times, and our eleven year old writes his eleven times or until they know it by heart. Whichever comes first. It makes for great impromptu family meetings and it helps them to see how everything that pertains to life and godliness is in God's Word. We follow the same pattern for the calm down corner. The amount of time spent in the calm down corner is based on our kid's age. (9,10, or 11 minutes)

I couldn't do all that I do without the consistent help from my family. If I did what I do on my own, I would resent my family. Prior to marriage and mommyhood, I couldn't cook, hated laundry, and had a very unrealistic perfectionistic standard of homemaking. Through managing the affairs of our household, God has strengthened me in the areas that I am naturally weak, and granted grace in areas that I was once super rigid. If you have fear or anxiety concerning how you are going to make everything work. Or, if you are exhausted from trying to do everything on your own strength, stop. Sit still, note the areas in which you are weak, and invite your family to get in the game. I often tell my kids that family is the most important team you will ever play on. Teamwork within a family divides the labor and multiplies the success. If you want to see the power of Christ at work within your world, pinpoint your weakness so He can perfect His strength.

". . .Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me."

Feel free to share your top ways to save time, energy, and money in the comments below.

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