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Avoiding chaos with three kids
As a working mother with three children of my own, I can empathize with you. Being an attentive mom and managing a household is hard work, the equivalent of at least two full-time jobs.

I wonder if you've carved out any space in your hectic schedule to care of yourself. Though things seem to spinning out of control, it's important for you to plan time each day for your own needs. This could be used for writing in a journal, taking a walk, getting a massage, listening to music, meditating or any other activity that nourishes your soul. Creating some regular time for yourself may ultimately improve your ability to juggle your numerous responsibilities, and will allow you to feel more grounded.

Tips to keep on top of chaos in your life:
  • Purchase a large family calendar to keep in the kitchen or central location. Write down everyone's appointments, school events, holidays, after-school obligations, etc. Refer to this regularly, and keep a portable calendar with the same information at hand when you are out and about.
  • Place a bulletin board next to the home calendar for announcements, reminders, checks to be cashed, school forms and permission slips.
  • Have one place in the house for your keys and your purse. (I use a pegboard with hooks for all keys in the house.) Get yourself in the habit of always putting your keys there.
  • Place important phone numbers next to the phone. (I attach my children's school directory to the phone with a string so I can always find it.)
  • Place a shelf near the front door for sorting your mail. Recycle junk mail before it resides in your home. Keep checks and stamps at hand, and pay bills immediately.
  • Encourage your children to become responsible. Even young children can learn to make their beds, fold their clothing and throw dirty clothes into a hamper. I place a portable hamper in each bedroom for convenience.
  • Get help from your spouse, a family member or by hiring someone. If you can afford a housecleaner, hire one. If you would like to talk to someone about the stresses in your life, consider seeking professional counseling. It can take a long time to gain equilibrium when you have another new baby in the house, and having the support of another adult can make a world of difference.

Finally, there are a number of books and Internet sites devoted to this topic. One of my favorite websites is Flylady (flylady.com), which is loaded with helpful ideas about organizing and housecleaning. Good luck!
Laura E. Stachel M.D. Obstetrician & Gynecologist