Hey! My name is Ashley and I am a 30 year old mom with 6 kids born in 6 consecutive years. I love Jesus and have been married to my amazing husband for 10 years. I am also trying to navigate life with a chronic illness- I may not be able to control what it does to my body, but I can control what it does to my spirit. I'm in the middle when it comes to parenting and life..too crunchy for some, too mushy for others- but just right for me. My life is blessed and I want to share my journey with you.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Let's Talk- Discipline, Deadlifts and Diets, Oh My
Hello again! I had an amazing couple of things happen this week, but they are kind of deep so I am going to save writing about for Friday. It has been a while since I have answered some questions, so I am going to do that today. Some of these questions may be repeats from the past, but I get asked them frequently, so I guess I should answer again!
How do you manage 6 kids all at home?
I think there is this idea that my house looks like a little nunnery, with everyone walking around smiling peacefully while doing their chores. My house is very chaotic! There is always activity and there are always toys and couch cushions scattering the floor. I do however have certain expectations for my kids, and that is what really helps things run smoothly, which despite the chaos, we actually do very well.
Schedules help- I am not saying it has to be down to the exact hour (although that is what I did to survive when the kids were very young and the days were long and boring!). What I mean is that we have a general flow to each day- the kids know when certain things are going to happen, from getting dressed, to play time, to chore time, to lunch, etc. The same things happen around the same times each day, so it’s not a shock or an issue when I say they cannot watch a movie, because they know they usually get to watch one after snack.
Chores (which we call life skills) are another key to my sanity. They each have a morning set and an evening set. I have it set up so that before lunch and after dinner the house is completely clean, because I like to wake up to a clean house. The little guys always do the same things, like clean the toys and couches, but the older ones have other things like serve breakfast (on cereal days), sweep the floor, vacuum, empty dishwasher, etc. They are accustomed to helping around the house and keeping it clean, so I am not constantly picking up.
Perspective is also huge- there are days when I literally run out of my house when Jeff gets home because I am so desperate for a break! But mostly I see it for what it is- a chance to enjoy my kids while they are still at home, and a chance to love on them and teach them and instill in them the values and principles I want them to have. I love my children so much and I want to make the absolute most of the precious time I have with them.
How do you stay in shape?
I think people are trying to flatter me, because this question always throws me off- I am not particularly thin, nor am I the picture of “in shape”...I am about average I guess. I do not keep a scale in the house, but the last time I went to the doctor a month ago I was just under 140 pounds. I stand at 5ft 5in on a really good day, and I can easily grab two handfuls of my stomach area, so you can see what I mean when I say this question throws me off. I do absolutely no cardio, mainly because I hate it and also because while I did give it a shot recently, I simply am not physically able to do it. It uses a lot of energy, which really worked against my condition. I have recently started lifting weights, which is what I truly enjoy. There are a few things that really make me feel like me again, and dead lifting is one of them. I am not very strong, since it’s been a billion years since I have lifted, but I love the feeling of power that comes with lifting. I am able to bear it well, since it uses very little energy- lifting to build muscle is about doing low reps, so it takes very little time and you are really just using straight up muscle. I am excited that so far my body is handle this, because I truly enjoy it so it not only benefits me physically, but mentally as well. But other than several days of lifting (which only really takes a 1/2 hour to 45 minutes), I do nothing else- don’t have the time or the physical capability. As far as eating, I do not diet- just not my style any more. When I go out with friends or to any kind of special event, I enjoy myself- I just think that those special times are meant to be enjoyed and really, if you are health conscious normally then special occasions really won’t throw you off. Normally, I eat whole, real food as often as I can with a concentration on low sugar, no artificial sweeteners, and higher protein which is hard for me because I hate meat. If health were not an issue and triple chins were sexy, I’d seriously live solely on bread and candy.
But honestly, this is an area that generally gets me ticked off because women judge themselves by their appearance, and it’s such a sad shame. I get the real issue of health, but with women it’s mainly the desire to “be thinner” and I just want to throttle some of you ladies who are missing the beauty of what’s inside you!! Find a way to be at peace within, and then whatever you choose to do on the outside will simply be an extension of that. Ok, rant over.
How do you homeschool with 6 kids?
I’m gonna have to wait a couple of years to answer this, because right now I only have my oldest homeschooling and he excelled very fast and it now using a computer curriculum with very little involvement from me. In the next two years, I will have three of my kids homeschooling with the younger two mainly being taught by me, so I will have to let you know what that looks like when it comes! I’m actually kind of curious myself...
How do you get your kids to listen?
Again, my kids are not little robots or images from the 1800’s where the kids seemed to live to say “yes ma’am”. My kids are extremely well behaved, but they are kids. I recently spoke at a parenting seminar and when I was on the topic of discipline, I shared what I believe to be the biggest key to success with discipline: consistency. If we go grocery shopping and one child gets 3 warnings, then no matter how sad they look at me they will not be getting the treat that everyone else is getting. And that is because at the start of the trip, I explained clearly what my expectations were and what would happen if they got three warnings. To date, I have only had to deny a treat two times. That is because when a child learns that you mean what you say, they will not push the limits very often. My 3-2-1 count works 99% percent of the time...and that is because- without fail- if I get to the number three and the child has not responded, then they WILL get a consequence. Is it exhausting? YES!! But trust me, lay the ground work on this because it will pay off. Every once and a while you have to re-train, but overall it pays off.
Well that was fun! Always fun to get a chance to respond to questions I get, and I hope this wasn’t too redundant. I am very much looking forward to Friday, because as I mentioned, there were a few very special things that happened this week and I really want to share them. Don’t get all crazy now, no I’m not pregnant!! I am talking about some things that the Lord has done for Jeff and I this week. So I hope you are all doing well and I look forward to chatting on Friday.