Because it’s pointless.
5 kids means we wear a LOT of cotton. Cotton clothes could totally be folded but why would you do that?! I got really tired of looking in my kids’ drawers and seeing the clothes I had previously neatly folded now all caddywompus and fuckey. It also didn’t matter much if I had shirts in the shirt drawer and pants in the pants drawer, the kids could never keep it straight.
So I looked into how people with a boatload of kids manage this and specifically, I looked at the Queen of Too-Many-Children, Michelle Duggar. They go as far as not even having specific clothes for each kid... they just have a “family closet” for their prairie skirts and polos. I wasn’t about to go that far but I liked the theory and in September of 2014 (when I was pregnant with Elijah and D O N E being functional while I gestated a human), I quit folding laundry.
I ordered those 9-cube organizers for each kid and cloth bins. Then I printed labels for each cube, with an entire set made up of pictures because at that time, Scarlett couldn’t read. Short Sleeve Shirts, Long Sleeve Shirts, Pants, Shorts, Pajamas, Undies, Jackets, “Fancy Drawer”.
As clean laundry exited the dryer, it was piled on a couch and whichever kid was on laundry duty that day sorted the clothes into piles by person, a pile of socks and a pile of linens. Linens were folded and put away, socks tossed in the “sock bench” and then the kid shouts “COME AND GET YOUR PILES!”. Each kid takes their pile to their room and sorts it by type into their square cloth bins. If they want it folded (they literally never did) they could do that themselves. Isabelle eventually got more fashionable teen clothing and opts to hang a lot of her tops. Matthew and I manage our own clothes however we want. He hangs. I occasionally put mine in drawers but there’s also a pretty consistent pile on my floor of clean clothes.
Hey Kate, don't they all get wrinkled?!
Oh they totally do... but that wasn’t different than before and I realized that with a wardrobe that is 98% cotton (and 2% sequin), the wrinkles were gone after sitting for 10 minutes on a 98.6 degree human. #NaturesIron
I also quit matching and mating socks because seriously, who cares about socks?! Not my kids. Every sock is thrown in the “sock bench” and I started buying bulk white socks in the hopes of eventually not having to worry about mismatched socks but I’m not kidding when I say no one cares.
But Kate, what about your socks?
Well, okay, yeah... Matthew and I do care about matched socks. We mostly solve that by buying him black socks so they’re easy to spot in the sea of kid socks. My socks are nearly always bizarre. I have a lovely collection of weird socks that are fairly easy to identify.
I often get asked how I manage to keep up with 5 kids and my first response is either “whiskey” to shut them up, or if the person asking is really looking for tips, I say “I stopped folding laundry 5 years ago” because I did and it was one of the best decision I’ve ever made.
Because we're evil parents that force them to spend time with us off the grid with no technology... we also usually spend 3 days in the same pajamas. It's epic. Or, as our 4 year old says, "It's Effic". We don't correct him... it's damn cute and the last wisps of babyhood are leaving our home as slowly as humanly possible.
Q: What do we do for 3 days in a Yurt in the middle of the Cascades?
A: Whatever we want.
The yurt itself is not too tiny, and it has enough beds for all of us, an adorable wood-burning stove for warmth, electric blankets on all the beds, and a tiny little kitchen area that we use to cook meals in. There's a pit toilet down the way but the boys usually pee off the deck. *shrug* The Yurt also sits on the grounds of an active farm with goats and pigs, and those staying in the Yurt are welcome to feed their food scraps to the pigs!! This might be the best part for the kids... hopping into rain boots and running scraps out to the pigs. But not bacon scraps... we had a long discussion about that and decided that while the pigs would love it, it felt super wrong in our souls.
We also try to incorporate a little bit of YurtMas in our YurtCation. I bring a few Christmas gifts for each kid to open, usually matching pajamas (thanks Target) and a book for each kid. This year I'm probably getting them some new board games too. Matthew brings his guitar, I bring my knitting, the kids bring art supplies and we just spend 3 days together with no outside interruption.
We really, honestly, truly make it a "no-tech" get away. Matthew and I shut off our phones. (WHAT?! A doula shuts off her phone?! Calm yourself. I have a partner and she is amazing and why I'm able to do this.) . We don't let the kids bring Kindles or phones, and sometimes we bring a bluetooth speaker to play audiobooks on, but we don't really use it.
I know it's a bit unconventional to do a getaway like this in December, and even more unusual to have it be no-tech. It's vital to us that we make this happen... especially in December. This is the time of year when we are super busy with events at school and our church, and the kids are like ping pong balls with the big girls going to their dads every other weekend and Jackson getting ready to visit his mom in Atlanta. We need this time to ground ourselves as a family and as people who love each other.
I honestly wasn't sure how this would go last year when I did it, but the kids absolutely loved it. They have been asking all year if we're going back to our YurtCation and all of us are super excited to go back this year!!!
Location & Logistics:
Types of practitioners:
How do they treat Out-Of-Hospital transfers?
Cesarean rate through the years:
Natural birth rating: I give it 4 out of 5 birth balls!!!
Policy on food for patients
Where is the nourishment?
Labor Tub Options and Review
Birth suite tips, and tools:
Doula friendly nurses?
Postpartum & Lactation:
Yes, Yes I did.
It's here under the Best GamerTag Ever
Why on earth would I do such a thing and why would I broadcast it, and why would I tell my kids about it?! Two reasons:
1) Because I am sex-positive and will raise my kids not to fear vaginas, theirs or others.
2) I have a weak-ass pelvic floor and the video game I bought to strengthen my second-favorite lady part is super fun and I believe everyone who can should play it. Seriously, It's fun. So watch me play it! Or don't. You do you.
Want to buy the game? It's called Perifit and no I don't get kickbacks from the company for telling you to go buy one.
I get to fly a butterfly, a bird and a flappy bird WITH MY VAGINA. It's hilariously fun...
Do all your kids do chores?
Yes my kids do chores. No they don't complain. They just do them because I'm terrifying and they know I'm in charge. If they whine? They get more chores and I will not let them rest until my bidding is complete.
Really though? I took my 10 least-favorite chores, broke them up into 5 sections, assigned the two easiest ones permanently to the 4 year old, and the other 4 pairs are assigned a fun name (because I'm fun, damnit) and the kids rotate through the weekly.
It works. By the time they're bored of their chore, it's time to do a new one. Every 3-4 months I mix them up and rename them something different. We've done Hogwarts houses, superheroes, famous feminists. Star Wars characters, teachers from their school (that was during the summer.... the kids did NOT appreciate being reminded of school, but I thought it was hilarious) and next I think I'm going to do grandparents... because there will be nothing funnier than my 7 year old going "I'm Papa Larry this week! Who are you? Oh, HI GRAMMY!!"
I'm nice and I shared my spreadsheet... it's super fun. I also created a "Jedi Training Academy" for kids who are struggling with staying on top of ongoing behavior issues and organizational tasks. It didn't work because I got bored but it's in the drive anyways.
How do you manage keeping a house somewhat sane with five kids, two leopard geckos, two cats, a beta fish and a Matthew? That must be exhausting!
Oh. You're adorable. I don't do chores. Seriously. I'm the project manager of my household. I delegate. I erased the idea of being "caught up" on laundry because what's the point? The pile has a mind of it's own. I stopped folding laundry in September of 2014. It was life-changing.
My children have an amazing amount of chores. They are completed by 4:30 pm and my house is somewhat sane until dinner time. The other two times I need them to clean things, I do as follows...
Clean your room!!
Instead of “hey child, go clean your room”, it’s much more effective if you go in and sweep all their junk into a pile. Then have a list posted with categories in the order you want the kid to work.
This is my list:
1- make your bed
2- sort all the clothes in your room, clean to a pile on your bed, dirty to the hamper
3- find the 5 biggest things in the pile and put them away
5- big toys
7- the rest
8- sort and put away the clean clothes from your bed
If the kid is little or sluggish, bribe them. Give them a mini Marshmellow or semi-sweet chocolate chip for each number... you can even go up incrementally (1 mallow for task 1, 2 for task 2... to keep them motivated) Don’t like sugar? Cheetos work just as well, IME. Make it fun and drop it into their mouth like a baby bird getting a worm. Make them say “cheep cheep” if you do that. Yes, even the 12 year olds.
If the pile is 90% toys? Split the big pile into multiple smaller piles and give them a treat when each one is finished.
If these don’t work? Or they lose steam? Play the “number game” or the “color game”:
- Tidy 5 things then come get a Cheeto!
- Tidy 7 BLUE things and then come get a Cheeto!
- Put away 4 books and then come get a Cheeto!
- Throw all your stuffies at your head board and shout “GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAL” if they don’t bounce back off the bed.
What if I need a deeper house cleaning? Like for a party or Our Lord and Savior Ruth Bader Ginsburg is visiting?
"Tasks in a hat"
Balance it with 2:1 chores:break tasks.
- Tidy living room
- Clean Bathroom #1
- Do laundry load
- Clean family room
(Use the broom for all the clutter in each room)
- Dance break!! (Wooden spoon microphones enhance this break)
- Cookie break!!
- Story time break!!
- FLOOR IS LAVA BREAK!!!
Also? Do it in two phases... Phase two has the deeper cleaning like vacuuming, washing and dusting if you do that kind of stuff. Can’t really draw the “vacuum living room” before you tidy it...