I never imagined myself as a mother of four. I appreciate silence and uninterrupted sleep too much for that! However, time and fate changed everything and now here I am… a married woman with four kids and a dog. While I have learned to live without silence, there are some things I just cannot live without. Here are five essential items for thriving in a large and busy household.
So many bathrooms!
Multiple bathrooms can be a life saver, particularly when there are teenagers in the house. The washroom is a place to experiment with hairstyles and new make-up. It is where you go when you feel that new zit coming on, and where you pull out the first grey hair. It can be a hiding place for a frazzled mom or a dressing room for a kid who doesn’t want to use his/her bedroom. A teenager heading into the shower means that bathroom is off limits for at least an hour. The same goes for any washroom that Dad enters with a magazine in hand. A house with one washroom may teach patience for the kids, but is more likely to test the patience of the mother. Even in our house, where we have four washrooms, there is the occasional upheaval about who gets to use which washroom.
A lot of shoe storage! Six pairs of shoes at the front entrance doesn’t look great, but 12 or more pairs is just unsightly…and everyone in my house has more than two pairs of shoes! A nice shoe rack at the front door is a start but you also need stacking shoe racks in the hall closets and additional shoe storage in the bedrooms. Even with all of this, you will still trip over someone’s shoes at least once a day.
Wifi Password, Please!
A fast internet connection with reliable wifi. If there’s one thing that I know will bring my kids running, it’s the wifi shutting off. There is nothing quite as traumatic as a 9-year-old who was disconnected from a game that he waited forever to get into… except maybe a teenager who lost his connection when doing a group project with his friends online. When five or six people are all streaming, messaging, emailing and downloading, the internet needs to be powerful. We rely on Rogers Gigabit to keep all of us connected and it ensures I have quick access to our smart home products like the thermostat and doorbell. On an ordinary day at home I am working online, my husband is streaming sports, my daughter is watching Netflix, my youngest is watching YouTube videos and my teenage son is researching something historical. We use wifi for recipes, to share photos, to stay in touch with other family members and to play games. Wifi operates my security cameras, my garage door opener and even my air purifier. My kids receive school notices and homework through wifi and complete their homework on their school ipads before submitting it electronically. Most importantly, I use Sirius to crank up the tunes and get everyone motivated in the mornings! Without a decent internet connection, our days would start differently!
Plug in the headphones
A good pair of noise canceling headphones for myself and every other member of the household. While I admit there are times that I wish my kids didn’t have these (mainly when I’m calling their names and they can’t hear me), whenever a Minecraft video starts playing on the speakers, I remember how wonderful they are. I like them for myself too, so I can shut out any noise around me and read a book, or watch a video on my computer. The kids like that their Dad and I have them because they can watch their shows while I listen to a podcast and Dad watches the game with our own headphones on. The best time for noise canceling headphones is during a heated family debate about which super hero would be the last man/woman standing… after I’ve had my say, of course.
Do not enter!
A master bedroom oasis with a good lock on the door. Time outs are part of parenting, and where better to take your time out than in a beautiful space of your own. Decorate with your favourite colours and items in that space and ensure you have a comfortable spot to read or relax. An ensuite is a bonus and if you can sneak in a bottle of wine, that’s even better. The lock is particularly important for those time outs that involve your partner. In a house full of kids, someone will come looking for you and they probably won’t knock.
While I may not have imagined the life I have today, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Life in a large and busy household is never boring! Share your must-have items for your family in the comments.