Friday, February 10, 2012

Hi, I’m a type-A control freak mom of multiple multiples…nice to meet you!

When people find out I have two sets of twins, one of their comments is almost always, "Wow, how do you do it?"

Truthfully, I've never had an answer for that question.  I'm just doing the best I can with what God equipped me with.  Well, that and a healthy dose of Paxil.

I don't know anything other than multiple multiples.  Hand me a singleton child and I'd probably struggle and want to throw myself into oncoming traffic.

Twins...that's my thing.

So, how do I do it?

Well, I suppose my type-A control freak personality comes into play and seems to be a huge advantage when it comes to being a mom of multiple multiples.  I'm a huge planner and I crave organization and harmony.

When my kids were younger, I could tell you exactly what time they'd be napping, eating a meal, crapping in their diapers EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. because I was such a schedule nazi.  Friends and family would scoff at my inability to be more flexible.

Too freakin' wasn't them who would be up at 2:00 am with two wide-awake babies who had napped all day long.

Then, of course, there were those well-meaning people who fed me their unsolicited advice based.

Like my MIL who was convinced Bella would end up with shaken-baby syndrome because Bella preferred the fastest speed in her baby swing.  It was the only way she would sleep for a period of time.

Sure, life has certainly become easier now that my kids aren't dependent on naps, eating schedules and diapers any longer.

But that hasn't stopped my tendency to control all things possible in order to lesson the chaos in my life.

And this is where meal planning comes into play.  I used to laugh at those people who planned their meals out a week in advance...until I started doing it and realized how essential it is to keeping the peace in our home.




How does meal planning keep the peace in our home, you might be wondering?

Well, first off, the kids help me plan the meals.  Every Saturday, I ask each of them to come up with one of their favorite meals to put on the planner.

You may notice some of the meals above are repeated week from week...because my children are creatures of habit and I'm fine with that.  So Tim and I have to suffer through eating french toast for dinner almost every single week but it's less food I have to waste and that makes me happy.

Plus, when I go grocery shopping, I know exactly what I need to buy...and what I don't need to buy.  I've saved a ton of money on groceries since beginning this whole "weekly meal planning" strategy.

Another way I stay in control is this ultra-cool calendar that Tim bought me for Christmas.  Does my man know me or what?



I love that each family member has his/her own little area where activities, appointments or whatever can be written in.

Yes, I'm so anal I even have the damn "change water filter" reminder written on there because I will forget if it's not written somewhere.

The "journal" note is something I just started doing again recently.  Once a week, I'll write in these adorable little journals I have for each of the kids.

Simple, a little personal note to them about what's happened in their life within the last month and things I want them to know, specifically just for them.

I started doing this about 2 years ago and...well, then life got in the way.  But I'm back in the habit again, especially now that I have it written in my calendar as a reminder.

So, my friends, that is how this mother of multiple multiples does it, without losing her sanity.  In case you ever wondered.

How do you manage it all?


Wiley said...

Two words: google calendar.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

How much of a nerd am I if I admit I have a planner?

I don't plan my meals in advance, but always have the staples around for our favs. And of course, when all else fails, we always have chicken (getting soooooo tired of chicken).

Anonymous said...

From one multiple multiples mama to another - I haven't the foggiest clue what a singleton would be like either but can admit to envy over Stroller selection and some other practical issues ;-) I plan our meals every week. I need to know what we are doing rather than having that horrible "what are we going to have for dinner" every day of the week opposed to just the once on the day of planning. And, of course it saves a heap of money and a lot of waste.

Marcia (123 blog) said...


I also write in "pay V" or "change water filter" because I do forget :)

We also menu plan and it saves me time and money - and yes, I wrote a post on the other blog some time back :)

Brad Jenkins said...

We, too, are big fans of breakfast for dinner. We also repeat a lot of meals - apple bratwursts from a local farmer would be on our list every week.

We've soooo been there with the whole "you're too regimented" advice.

Few observations: It would appear that you were sauced when you wrote the menu for 2/4. I looked back to 2/3 to see if "drink a bottle of wine" was written there.

You should already know how I manage - making a list.

Great stuff!
I thought the 1/30 entry under kids said "no speed" until I saw "no speech" on other days.

Nezzy said...

Woohoo, my Type~A control freak sister. I say job well done!!!

I do put stuff on my computer calendar but I like to have the written word before me both at home and in my purse. I have a pocket calendar that holds my life!!! Heeehehehe!!!

You'd think a old chick wouldn't have much schedulin' to do but ya throw in elder~care and 8 grandkiddos and it fill up pretty dang fast!!! :o)

God bless you sweet family and have a fantabulous weekend!!! :o)

I Am Not Superwoman said...

My mommy calendar and my iphone. Without those I would be more of a mess than I am even with these...LOL. And I do menu planning each week too otherwise we would probably eat out every night and spend tons of money...

Splinky95 said...

Google calendar and because I am a list freak and love to see things in written form, I use a BusyBodyBook, which is similar to your awesome calendar, but I can carry it with me everywhere. I get the academic year version so I change it out when my girls school schedule changes.

HoneyDame said...

Your handwriting is beautiful!!!
What? That doesn't answer your question? Sorry, let me take a rain check for about 3-4 years...then I can come back with my own multiples story...:D

Well done Helene!

Lisa said...

PJ is so picky he eats the same 4 or 5 things for dinner all the time. I am hoping eventually he'll start eating you know, chicken. :)

Missy said...

I love my planner and I love planning my meals a week in advance. SANITY SAVER!

Samantha said...

Sounds exactly like me. We have always been on a schedule. It made life with Bree a lot easier. It makes life in general, easier. I laughed at the whole 'swing' thing. I had to figure out the setting on Bree's swing, if it was to slow she screamed and if was too fast she screamed.

Anyway, I plan out my meals for the week on Sunday, because I go grocery shopping on Mondays. It definitely works. I couldn't imagine going blindly week to week w/out having any idea of what to eat for supper. It definitely helps out alot!

Barbara said...

I used to have a paper planner because I used to love seeing it in writing, although now I have evolved to using my smart phone and sync it up with our home computer so that I can always make lists/menu/shopping lists. I know, I'm a nerd.

Teri M said...

I use Google calendar...I should plan my meals in advance but usually don't get around to it!

Tracie said...

Having had both multiples and singletons I can tell you that my multiples were my easiest babies. All because of the schedules I had them on. They just turned 4 and still have to use the bathroom at the same time. I use to call it survival! But it makes it so much easier. With my singletons I wasn't as tight on the schedule as I should have.
I too love the google calender. I will have to try the planning meals in advance

SRM said...

I've tried the meal planning here but it didnt work so well. I'm envious of those who can do it!J has found though that posting all dinner possibilities on our fridge helps me tremendously in deciding what to make each night.
I also use google calendar. I have it set up to my phone, kindle, and 2 computers. That way no matter where I am or what Im doing Im able to check my calendar. In my world, if it isnt written down it doesn't exist!

Jenna said...

Love love love that you are menu planning, I so agree it saves so much time and sanity!!

Jenny said...

That is great! I haven't tried menu planning. I just don't know what I want to eat until right then. What if I plan for chicken and rice and I'd rather have french toast? Then the whole planner would be off and I'd have to rewrite it. Yeah, I'm a bit OCD I guess. LOL!

Jen said...

I too was/is a schedule nazi! When the triplets were babies, we had to be.

I love all this organization and it just hit me that next year when we are thinking about putting the triplets in separate kindergarten classes, I am going to need a HUGE white board calendar.

Also, share with me your thoughts on multiples in the same school class. Should the be together or in different classes? I am just curious.

Eva Gallant said...

I am such a scatter brain. I admire your ability to organize and plan and schedule stuff!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I think it's important to be organized. I use to be when I was younger. I still have to make lists all the time and have my calendar filled with things. I was never a meal planner and I regret that.

The Cliffords said...

I'm a big meal planner too. It makes so much of a difference and then you don't have that added stress at 4pm when you realize you might have to drag all 4 kids to the store to find groceries for a meal ... no thanks! I also put all kinds of reminders on my iphone too. That's the only was I remember to do a lot of things! My husband thinks it's weird when my phone will light up and say "take meat out of freezer", but it makes sense to me!

Olusola said...

I'm an organized scatter-brain. Believe me, things are wierd in my mind. I believe in menu planning but I'm still fighting it. Growing up, we had the same menu plan forever. I haven't live at home for 18 years and I can still tell you what they'll be having for dinner on any day. I don't want to see my kids writing comments like this 20 years from now but I know I'm going to get into planned menus pretty soon

Xazmin said...

Man I wish I was organized. And a planner. I so want to be, I'm just not sure I have it in my genetic make up.

I have written out meal plans before, and then somehow I never stick to them.

What is wrong with me??

angel shrout said...

I need one of those.. and I don't have multiple multiples lol

Kristen said...

I'm so with you. I have yet to start meal planning, but I will when we get back from getting the dog.

But, with the twins... they ate together, slept together, everything together. I would force feed them both to make sure they were full and hungry at the same time. My kids drank a bottle naked for their entire bottle drinking period - so they wouldn't fall asleep. TYPE A anyone? They still poop at the same time :) they can't help themselves.....

Jode said...

OMG...i seriously love reading your posts as i don't feel so odd!
I only have one set of twins and a teen and i go into meltdown if not organised!
Love, love meal planning although a tad annoying when the teen comments that we aren't having the 'right' meal tonight (because mummy had a bad day is why so eat your toast and egg and love it!)
Love those calenders too...i really don't understand it when people comment that i am too organised...i couldn't stay on top of the game without it...have another bumper sticker for you that sums up the personality trait we seem to share...
"Mum of twins...classic overachiever!" You could add 'multiple twins' to that and set the bar even higher!!!

D said...

I am so impressed. I'm actually now considering my options in terms of my becoming a single mom,and obviously I'd be a working mom,and reading what you do I actually think I may take a few pages from your book,like meal planning,because it's just how amazing how organized you are!

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

I'm a schedule nazi, too. Eating, naps, activities...I run a tight ship. It definitely seems to baffle some of our family and friends, but it works for us...and definitely is key in keeping me [somewhat] sane.

I haven't thought ahead to when that particular schedule isn't quite as important, but I'm sure I'll find other "outlets" to manage things. HA!

Kimberly said...

Don't you find that planning meals before the week starts that you save more money?
It's genius.
And I do that stuff with one child.
But you are definitely the rock star in all of this.

Karen and Gerard said...

That is a very cool calendar--never saw one like that with extra lines for each family member's activities. (I would just use a different color for each one if I couldn't find a calendar like that.) We mark things on our calendars too that may be weird, like Pets Frontline/Revolution days, change vacuum liner, change furnace filter, etc.

Candace Castor said...

I can do a singleton and I can do multiples. But if I had multiples first Id probably be a mess with the singleton! I love schedules and routines! More so with the twins! I love knowing exactly what I need to bring at certain times of the day. If I need to pack a bag or just bring a diaper. Its awesome! I meal plan as well, I have a neat little printable with a week on one side and grocery list in the middle and another week on the other side. Its very helpful for when I go shopping and forget why I needed a certain item or what meal will be impacted if they are out of stock of something. I also use the life planner by Erin Condren... its a little pricey but it is amazing! everything goes in it with pockets, tabs, and a paper clip thing!

Great post!

Emily said...

I don't have multiple multiples, but I definitely depend on weekly meal plans to keep our family out of chaos. Otherwise, I'd spend every waking minute at the grocery store picking up one ingredient or another for dinner!

It sounds like you're keeping it together awfully well! I love your calendar!

Marko Crupi said...

Hi, I am the owner of a Photography blog

I'd like to exchange links with you. I added your blog to my Favorites!

Pay me a visit and let me know with a comment on the blog what you think about it.


There's something you may be interested in, on my blog started a free online photography course, that includes over 200 lessons at this link: Free online Digital Photography Course

Rachel said...

So tempted to start that meal planning. Except that my son's input would be PB&J sandwiches and strawberries for 21 meals a week.

It's not that I'm not a Planner, but not so much a Cook-er. Oopsie!

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

I have to write it all down too. If I don't write it down, it doesn't get done.

I don't meal plan, but only because every time I do, I end up with leftovers which screw up the whole week. I need to meal plan accounting for those.

Natalie said...

Well now that's what I call organization!

Kim said...

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one with a master calendar like yours. It's big and hangs in the kitchen, and my husband AND kids all know that if it's not on the calendar, it ain't happening.

Twins Squared said...

I am still managing to get buy with a monthly planner but don't know how much longer. I love the thought of organizing, it's just the doing it that bogs me down sometimes! :) And I started meal-planning when school started and it was awesome. I've kind of lost the habit again too but this is a good motivator. I was just thinking that a couple days anyway. It oddly really does take some of the dread out of cooking dinner!

This also reminds me, we still should write a compilation of all of our MOMMs! Can you pencil that in somewhere? J/K I've been busier this year than I originally expected. They say it just gets busier as they get older and I can definitely see that that is true. However, I will take this kind of busy over round the clock diapers, feeding, etc ANY day!

Cheryl Lage said...

Is "poorly" an answer? ;)

Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

Haha...Cheryl Lage, yeah right!

We have a monthly meal schedule (only for dinners) that includes morning and evening activities. I mainly use it for planning since I'm out of the house twice a week for dinner...Husband's gotta know what to do. I also like to know when I made something so I remember when to use leftovers.

I don't have the other calendar, but a friend does and she loves it. I think when the Crazies are in more activities and school-related things that I'm going to need it. For now, I use Google calendar and my "reminder" feature on my's a Godsend!

Cindy said...

Have to chuckle about Bella and your MIL with the swing. When my daughter was a baby,her greatgrandma was always worried because B liked to be thumped rather firmly on her back while being carried like a football. She was concerned I was thumping her too hard!

championm2000 said...

Lists. I love lists. I make lists of lists.

And then I enjoy the sweet success of crossing items off. One. at. a. time.

And wine.

Yes, I have issues :-)

Sela Toki said...

Wow, you're awesome Helene. I want to be more like you when it comes to planning and organization. You might call me an unorganized, no planning freak that needs to make a change! What a great idea to involve the kids in planning out our dinners. Thank you.

Josef Kilbane NBA LIVE BLOG said...

I once had a paper planner, because I once love to see it in writing, although I have evolved to use my smart phones and synchronization and home computer, so I can list/menu/shopping list. I know, I am a bookworm.

cheap jerseys
wholesale cheap jerseys

Belkowski Gaylord said...

There are two multiple and single example I can tell you, I am simple baby multiples. Because of my agenda. They have only 4 and still need to use the bathroom at the same time. I used to call it survival! But it is very much easier. And my single cases I have not strict schedule is I should be.
I really like Google calendar. I'll have to try to plan ahead meal
collect cheap jerseys

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr

Blog Design by Likely Lola