Managing Your Day: 4 Moms and Large Family Logistics

Welcome to the 4 Moms, 35 Kids discussion of the book Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman.

Previous posts in this series:

moms of many manage

One of the most practical helps for me for managing our large family is having a daily routine. With twelve people living in one home things can get chaotic if mom gets distracted and no one else knows what to expect or what should be happening. If everyone knows that breakfast is at 7 and that rooms need to be cleaned, bodies dressed, and specific morning tasks completed before then, then even when things go awry (like when a little one breaks lose with a marker, splashes in the mud instead of feeding the dog or decides to eat the mulch) the day doesn’t necessarily completely break down.

In the last twelve chapters of LFL Kim covers a wide range of topics from bedroom management to family worship and  homeschooling to meal planning. She offers valuable and practical information, but for today I’m going to focus on routines.

In Large Family Logistics, Kim lays out three different types of routines that we’ve used for years and gives some ideas on how to get them into place. She talks about a morning routine, daily chore time and meal time routine. If you implement nothing else these three routines will keep your home running smoothly day in and day out.

Getting Started: A Morning Routine

A lot of ‘stuff’ need to get done each morning: getting dressed, making beds, personal hygiene (times twelve), feeding animals and people and cleaning up after all of these activities. If everyone has their own responsibilities (and does them) then you won’t get to the park for cross country practice only to discover that none of the little ones had their teeth or hair brushed and they are wearing clothes their clothes that they wore the day before while playing in the mud and eating spaghetti.

*ahem*

One of the tips that I found most helpful in this chapter is to be specific in your morning routine, doing the same tasks in the same order everyday.

Kim also reminds us that as a home manager it is our responsibility to see that we are helping our husband in addition to all the responsibilities we shoulder. So she suggests asking him each morning, “What can I do to help you today?”

You may see our most current morning routine, including the children’s responsibilities here.

Here is my specific, personal morning routine:

  • read Bible
  • shower
  • brush teeth/wash face
  • wipe counter in bathroom
  • tidy bathroom
  • put pj’s away
  • make bed
  • tidy bedroom
  • change and dress Bella
  • pick out clothes for little ones
  • brush little ones teeth and hair and supervise dressing
  • start laundry and tidy laundry area
  • finish reading Bible
  • check before breakfast chores
  • breakfast – read Bible, memorization box and sing
  • nurse the baby while the kids do table chores
Here are some things Kim suggests that I don’t include in mine:
  • exercise
  • drink coffee while watching the sun come up
  • do food prep for
  • read a Psalm
  • drink water
  • make breakfast for husband and read the Bible with him
  • do food prep for lunch and supper while the children do table chores

Eating: A Meal Time Routine

Every single day, three times a day we eat. Food preparation and clean up can take up a huge portion of our time and energy. In her book, Kim suggests that if we streamline the process and give everyone some responsibility it can save us a lot of that time and energy.  The beauty of Kim’s suggestions is that they are so adaptable for each individual family allowing you to take what will work, adapt what you need and ditch what doesn’t fit. Here is how we handle meal time tasks in our home.

Breakfast prep

Breakfast prep is incorporated into our morning routine. Currently Matthew (12) makes breakfast and dishes the plates. Sadie (7) helps out by setting the table and Alyssa (10) fills up the cups and water pitchers (we drink a lot of water, more than 2 gallons at most meals).

Lunch prep

Generally one of our middle children prepare lunch. In their eyes this is a privilege and they race through their school work so that they are available when it’s time to make lunch.

Dinner prep

We’ve incorporated dinner preparation into our afternoon chore time. Instead of having a cleaning task during chore time, Amber makes dinner each evening. If we aren’t having a freezer meal then we often do this together. Sadie sets the table and Matthew fills the water pitchers as part of their chores.

Cleaning up

Clean up for breakfast, lunch and dinner is always the same, each child has specific areas of responsibility and when they finish those they are to help anyone who needs help. Here are some table chore responsibilities that Kim suggests:

  • scrape dishes
  • carry to sink or dishwasher
  • load dishwasher
  • collect trash from table, put cloth napkins in laundry
  • put food away
  • wipe table chairs, high chair
  • sweep under table
  • wash dishes
  • dry dishes
  • put clean dishes away, unload dishes
  • wipe counters
We’ve added a few tasks to this list to fit our specific family and our specific kitchen. I posted our table chore assignments for those who want to see our customizations.

Maintaining: Regular Chore Time

We’ve done chore time since before we had children, but when I read Kim’s chapter on chore time last year we drastically changed our routine and after about a week Mark mentioned that he didn’t know what we were doing differently, but he had never seen the house look so consistently good for so long. If you still haven’t gotten or borrowed a copy of this book and could use any help with chores and/or maintaining your home, do it now. :)

You may be interested in these posts about chores:

Basically, we take about 45 minutes every day and tidy and clean the house from top to bottom. Everyone pitches in and tackles their own area focusing on different tasks each day.

You may also be interested in seeing our schedule with all little ones side by side with our current schedule because a daily routine with lots of littles is not the same as a daily routine when you have big kids around.

The other Moms of Many speak:

Now it’s your turn, I’d love to hear how you manage your days.

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7 Responses to Managing Your Day: 4 Moms and Large Family Logistics
  1. Erin
    August 18, 2011 | 12:11 pm

    Thanks for all your suggestions! We only have 4 kids right now but it is still a struggle to keep the house clean when there are little ones in the house all day long. I linked up the system we’ve been trying the last 2 weeks and so far it’s going pretty well, as long as I can get the older kids to help the younger ones.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Rebecca L.
    August 19, 2011 | 9:00 am

    I would suggest laying out clothes the night before. That way, they are out and the kids can make an attempt (at least) to do it themselves and you don’t have to do so much matching/brain work first thing. (I know it helps me!)

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  3. Lisa
    August 20, 2011 | 5:40 pm

    All I can say is thank you ladies for all your ideas! We ONLY(haha) have 6 children, but things can get pretty chaotic and messy around here! But thankfully, the Lord knew what I needed and led me to Kim’s book and your lovely blogs! Keep it up! It is soooo encouraging! And, btw, we have NEVER gotten to a destination (espcially church) where the littles ones have not had proper hygiene for the morning, shoes on their feet or dread the thought-summer clothes in the dead of winter!(Yes, me giggling and smiling, since that happens more often then I care to think about):-)

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  4. Carron Hefner
    August 25, 2011 | 10:04 pm

    I could spend days absorbing the information spread out in your blog Kimberly. I thirst for your wisdom, Our Father’s Grand Wisdom. I am so excited that you are blessed & willing to share so many of your tricks, secrets, prayerful life with us–or me; homeschooling, manager of my home with 3 children. My family began unexpectedly at 15 and I am so grateful to be learning much from you. Thank you! Thank you JESUS!

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  5. Missie
    February 23, 2012 | 8:24 pm

    I love these 4 Moms & 35 kids post. I am currently expecting #4 and have been searching for some tips to make my home more organized and structured. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  6. Kristi
    April 20, 2014 | 11:06 am

    I’m a sahm of seven. I like the tips here except ask your husband if he needs help. I have been married 17 years. My comment is not harsh. I have enough to do without adding to my list. I clean a house for nine. He does not do any household chores. He does work and supervise “the middles” and “the littles”. Dressing is a huge issue for us. I cannot get out the door with all 7 in clean clothes! :))

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Kristi,

    I don’t write this blog for the purpose of everybody liking everything I post. If you expect to like every tip, idea, thought, etc. blogs that you read, then this will almost certainly not be the place for you. :)

    My husband and I have been married 19 years and just as I appreciate him asking how he can help me, he appreciates me asking how I can help him. In my opinion that seems like a common courtesy, period. I often ask friends how I can help them and sometimes even those I’ve just met.

    I’ve found that despite the fact that caring for 11 children can be very busy, I am often able to help those around me and I am grateful for the opportunity to do things for others, not just manage my own “personal” responsibilities of home and children. My first priority in helping those around me is to help my husband, so I’m happy to ask because I love him. Again, just my perspective.

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