Breaking the Rules

Today was one of those days. It started out chaotic and went downhill from there, and by two o'clock Hara-Kiri sounded better than my current situation, so I broke some of my rules - rules are really made to broken anyway right?

Rule #1 - Quiet time is from 1ish to 3ish. This is a time when the big kids can be introspective and dream or do anything that is quiet and recharges their soul. The little kids use it to dream and recharge with their eyes closed. And if I'm lucky, I get to recharge too.

Rule #2 - Earn privileges/bonus points for end of the day extras. Usually they earn imaginary points that I tally in my head through-out the day, so they can do something as a special privilege like paint their toenails or have a special desert. But today not one of the kids had earned any kind of privilege and were on the verge of loosing them for the whole weekend. They didn't deserve anything nice.

Rule #3 - No verbal or emotional warfare. This is pretty self explanatory, but when there are 6 girls in the house, this rule gets broken too often with a roll of the eyes or a snide remark.

So back to the beginning. . . By two o'clock I was fit to be tied. No one was paying any respect to rule #1 because they were too busy breaking rule # 2, and the twins had already been woke up twice by the squabbling - no recharging was happening here. I was just about ready to personally violate rule number three when I remembered I was the adult, and needed to come up with a better plan. It was then that I dug into my resource bag - when things are falling apart there are two things that can fix just about anything - water and playground equipment.

Water is wonderful! I can make a warm bath on a cold day, send them out to the sprinkler on a hot day, or let them splash in the rain, and they will play for hours. Water fixes almost everything.

The playground is the next best thing to water. They can hate each other all the way to the park but the minute the van door opens, they are the best of friends helping each other swing on the monkey bars or race down the slides together.

Today I chose the playground because we don't have a tub in the camper and the thought of taking 7 kids to the shower house by myself seemed a bit too much at this point.

Mearly breaking rule number one brought some silence to the chaos as we loaded them up in the Tahoe. We listened to them squabble all the way to the park and then let the magic happen.

They didn't deserve to go anywhere because of the way they had behaved earlier but sometimes it isn't about what they deserve - it is about what they need, and we all needed a break; we needed to break some of the rules.

One of the things I am learning as a tribe leader is that there has to be structure yet enough flexibility to keep everyone happy. We stayed at the park for almost two hours; playing tag, making leaf piles, running up the slides, making fairy houses, and laughing - a lot. When we got home, things still weren't perfect but they were a whole lot better.



  1. what a beautiful reminder to not be so attached to "The Plan" we make for our days... and to just let go and BE.

  2. Michele, I am always so torn about schedules. I love schedules and with our lifestyle a daily schedule is so comforting to me; although, I then read all these non-schedule benefits and parenting techniques that make sense. In the end, I just want to raise happy healthy adults and I hope what I'm doing helps them get there.