I'll start with two instances that this question has come up in the last few weeks, one was pitched to me, the other to my husband.
Me: I was at a quilting store with my 3 young kids and pregnant belly looking at fabric and talking with an older woman about possible Christmas stocking ideas that I had in mind for this next year, discussing a full-size rag quilt that's in progress for my daughter, a train blanket that I'm hand quilting for my son (which is quite enjoyable since machines and I don't get along that great!), and a crocheted blanket for my other son. She couldn't figure out where I found the time to do ANY projects, and repeatedly told me so as she stared at my children.
Hubby: While at work he and another Officer were discussing the video games they played, new ones coming out, etc. Dumbfounded, a Sergeant in the office who knows how busy these guys are with work and how at home we have 3 kids and 1 on the way and the other guy has 1 or 2 and a newborn, just couldn't figure out where they found the time to sit down to do such a thing! He only had 1 kid and he didn't have ANY time to do what he wanted to do when he got home.
The Answer: Our kids are in bed between 6:30 & 7, and yes, they do stay in their rooms asleep for at least 12 hours... and then they stay in there and play for a while on top of that. As a result, mom and dad have 2-3 free hours of together time, or to use for personal hobbies (like quilting and playing video games) :-). As my hubby explained this to the Sergeant the other Officer was nodding his head in concurrence the whole time. Mystery solved! It's amazing what you can get done when you play mom/dad and set some ground rules for how your house is going to run. If we had our kids up into late hours with us I can promise you that we wouldn't have as many kids as we do, our relationship would suffer for it, and our kids would probably be fairly cranky because they weren't getting the sleep they needed. Oh, I also work on projects and other hobbies (like reading) during the day as an example to my children.... that helps them grow and encourages my abilities.
On House Cleaning:
Where do I find the time to keep everything so nice and neat?
Answer: Bit by bit! I try to manage clutter spots in stints here and there, and when my husband is gone at night after the kiddies go to bed, I tend to start big cleaning projects... mostly because I'm OCD, but that's besides the point! The real trick is that the house only takes about 5-10 minutes to tidy up. Like I confessed yesterday, we keep toys and other kid accessories out of the living areas, save books. As a result, if there are toys that have wandered, the kids know to pick them up and put them away, they'll place books in the bookshelf and we'll run the little Shark Vac through the house. *TA DA* One clean house. We'll do extra little things throughout the week like dusting and cleaning windows/glass.... but my kids enjoy it and I just like how it makes the house smell. Anyway! With only little things that need to be done, the house always appears to be clean!
On Making Bread:
You make bread like 3-4 times a week, how do you do it??
Answer: The time for this one comes when you realize that it doesn't actually take as much time to do as you think it will! Lots of people have Kitchenaid's or other appliances with a dough hook, that's a quick way to through together some dough... I'd say within 5-10 minutes you have dough ready to rise. I stick mine on top of a preheated stove, cover with a towel, and set a timer for me to come back and punch it down. Even putting together dough by hand doesn't add much more time. To each his own, but we like to make things ourselves, and the time that you're actually spending working with the dough is VERY little.
On Working Out:
You guys are so health conscious. I just don't have the time! Working out with kids is so hard, so I just don't... how do you guys do it??
Answer: Nathan doesn't count on this one since working out is a priority for his job, but he does do extra things, and those he accomplishes because he has an awesome wife :-). Mom's trick, JUST DO IT. I've very often had kids in my room while I work out to a video or the Wii, we'll go out with the youngest kiddies in a double jogging stroller and the oldest riding his bike. As I train for my triathlon this spring/summer I'll be dragging them all with me to a little kiddy play area in one of the family fitness rooms on base, and often I'll get up early or stay up late to enjoy beating myself up whilst quiet fills the air :-). I make the time and when that, as it often does, involves my kids being awake, they have a good example of what's important to me and usually join along too!
I can't believe how much you guys read. I can barely open something that I want to read because the kids are always bouncing around. How do you find the time??
Answer: I pretty much touched on this one. I LOVE reading, and most of the stuff I get into requires a little bit of concentration/analyzation. My solution is the time after kids go to bed or during quiet time in the day works well :-). I'll often just read out loud to the kids too and that provides me another avenue of dissecting the book since I'm trying to explain it to little people.
I don't see huge piles of laundry stacked up, how do you manage it all??
Answer: I keep it going throughout the day and throw the piles on my bed. Those piles get folded during quiet time (while I'm catching up on a favorite show or 3), or later in the evening when I'm getting a rundown of my hubby's day. I at least try to get one load done everyday so it doesn't pile up.
On Cloth Diapering:
How do you handle doing cloth diapers with your kids. Doesn't it take a lot longer??
Answer: It really doesn't take any longer than diapering with disposables. We use pocket diapers or flat diapers with a cover. Either way we have these little disintegrating liners that we toss in the toilet, spray some odor stuff on the diaper, throw it in a bag, and every other day I wash a load.... which is super simple considering that my washer is doing all the work. The only difference between what we do and what other families do?? We save more money :-).
Homeschooling would just be too hard for me, I'm not patient enough, I just don't have the time!!
Answer: I've heard a plethora of reasons why other people "can't do what we do," and I've given you plenty of reasons why we do what we do in earlier posts. Here I just simply want to say that I find the time to homeschool because learning is all around us, we don't have car commute times or places we have to be/things to do.... and if you look at your schedule and the time you spend driving, working on homework, getting things ready for school, etc., you'll find that you're spending a lot of time just getting prepared to have your kids in school all day that we don't have to worry about. There's LOTS of extra hours in the day when the kids are home!
I think that's all for now. I'm planning to take the kids out for the day, so I'm mentally preparing myself for my cheesy smile in response to all of the "you sure have your hands full" comments that are inevitably doing be heard about a million times before we return home. That just not a question I entertain to the passerby! Just like I don't tell them that I have WAY more time then they do during the day.... wouldn't want them to get jealous!