As the proud mom of a large number of children, you probably feel like one of those jugglers in the circus who tries to keep numerous plates spinning on poles at once. While on some days you can keep the plates in the air, other days at least some of the plates come crashing down. While this is completely understandable and part of being a mom of many, there are a number of steps you can take to make managing a large family go as smoothly as possible. Consider the following ideas:
Upgrade Your Vehicle
From your daughter’s soccer gear and your son’s instrument and band uniform to your toddler’s stroller, you probably feel like your car is more of an equipment hauler than anything else. If your trunk is overflowing, you may want to upgrade to a high performing pickup truck like the Chevrolet Colorado. While many large families turn to minivans or large SUVs, there are a number of reasons to consider the Chevy Colorado. The spacious and easy to drive vehicle feels more like a car than a pickup truck, and it can carry a family of 5 and their gear. Priced at under $22,000, the mid-sized Colorado gets great gas mileage for a truck of its size, and with its generous 41-plus cubic feet of storage in the short bed model and almost 50 cubic feet in the long bed, there is ample room for everyone’s stuff, plus a week’s worth of groceries.
Planning Meals Equals Savings
As you already know, having a large family requires a huge amount of groceries. To keep the food bill as manageable as you can, plan meals a week at a time. This tip will help save time and money; for example, instead of spending 30 minutes deciding what you should fix for dinner every day, you will have decided this ahead of time. In addition, rather than declaring “I’m making spaghetti and meatballs,” only to find that you don’t have sauce or ground meat — and then heading to buy fast food for the family — will be sure to have the ingredients you need on hand. If you combine your meal ideas with what is on sale each week at the local grocery stores you can get even greater savings; when chicken breasts are marked at $1.69 a pound, plan on chicken fettuccini Alfredo and chicken tacos. When chuck roast drops in price, plan on a pot roast in the slow cooker. An app like Flipp will allow you to compare prices at different grocery stores, so you always know where the best deal is on meals to give your body the nourishment it deserves.
Schedule Quiet Time
Large families are inherently noisy. To give yourself a much-needed break from the bedlam, institute a regular quiet time. When babies and toddlers are napping, older kids can read or play quietly in their rooms and teens can relax by texting their friends. Strive for up to two hours a day of peace and quiet and use this time to reconnect with your spouse, if he is home during this time, or recharge your mom batteries with a soothing cup of tea, warm bubble bath or a good book on your e-reader that does not involve pop-ups of Disney characters. If your teens are old enough to babysit, you can also slip out during quiet time to knock out a few more errands like going to the bank, the dry cleaner and the grocery store.
While you would not trade any of your kids for all the tea in China, you definitely want to have more peaceful days than disorganized ones. With some pre-planning and determination, it is more than possible to keep most of those plates successfully spinning, no matter what life throws your way.