Greetings dear friends!
This week has just zoomed by here in the Wood household! Thank you to everyone who writes us, shares with us and trusts us to pray for you. We are blessed to know each of you and thankful for the friendships the Father has allowed us to make throughout the years.
This week there were a few questions I wanted to share with you.
Question: I have three children ages 9, 7, and 3. the two oldest are girls and the youngest a boy. The 7 and 3 yr. old get along wonderfully. The 9 and 7yr. old get along well. However the 9 and 3yr. old are like vinegar and oil! How do I foster a better friendship with these two? They are both strong-willed and control oriented. Being the oldest and the youngest doesn't help either. Any advice?
Answer: Sibling relationships have been an issue since Cain and Abel. Haven't they? There is the unspoken expectation in our society that siblings should not get along with one another. I would encourage you to guard your children from this lie and share with them the treasure they have with each other. There are many examples we can take from Scripture to gain insight into how to develop proper, Biblical relationships within our own family. I would encourage you to read the passages from Scripture where we see sibling relationships discussed. Take your time, don't rush through them... really read them, and talk about them with the children. Consider how they can see themselves and their own behavior as they listen to the story.
Here are just a few examples:
Cain and Able: Talk about bitterness, resentment and how it destroys everyone involved
Jacob and Esau: Talk about Rebekah's struggle to control situations. Share if you struggle with this yourself. Share about the hurt, the foolishness to give up a birth right, the forgiveness in later years
Joseph and his 11 brothers: The pride, the hatred, the resentment, the sin to do evil instead or repent, the forgiveness in later years, the pain that poor sibling relationship caused on the father and themselves for all those years.
Share the story of the brothers who carried their brother with palsy up onto the roof and lowered him down with his bed for Jesus to heal him. Talk about the love, the sacrifice and the work for their sibling.
I would also bring my children's attention to the fact that as a family we must make a promise to work together, to love together and to help one another where we struggle. I would share the importance that their relationship has on the entire household. I would also set up some clear guidelines on how Biblical order works in our home. I would encourage the older child to lead the younger with love and grace while I encouraged the younger to submit to the older cheerfully.
Sibling relationships are critical to the success of the family. Don't grow weary in well doing. Continue to work with your children through their struggles and always, always keep them a priority in your prayer life.
With much love,
Mrs. Joseph Wood
Question: I'm changing our laundry/clothing system because there are TOO many clothes in the house! I'm needing feedback as to how you are doing this. How many set of clothes does each child have? I have one room with shelves for all the younger kids clothes. That is working well, because it's not all over their rooms, but the shelves are overflowing and I'm just washing too much. But not sure how to do this with little ones growing in and out of clothes all the time.
I would really appreciate any feedback you could pass my way. Thanks!
Answer: You're familiar with the phrase, "Lion, tigers and bears oh my!" Well, I suppose we could change that to, "Dishes, Toilets and Laundry, oh my!" Laundry is a constant issue for evaluation in my home. After years of 'practice' I no longer feel bogged down by this daily duty. However, before I share with you where I am today, let me share where I once was.
When my Joe and I were first married I was what I call 'domestically challenged.' I often tease that had marriage required a resume I would still be single! We had burnt meals, laundry piles that were larger than life, empty diaper bags on 10 hour trips, dishes that I would throw away instead of wash.... and the list could go on! I was a mess! So, how did that woman become the woman I am today? I can only suggest that as the Lord transformed my heart it spilled over into my home as well. As I began to understand Him as a God of order, I desired to display that character in my own life. What a journey this process has been! After many years, much prayer and lots of gleaning from others here is how the Wood family does laundry.
First, keep in mind that I am married to a man that likes the laundry basket empty every night. In order to meet this desire of his I had to come up with a plan that would work for our family. I realize that it may not work or even be desired by any other home.
Let me tell you the first 'horror' of my system. I don't sort laundry. Nope- I sure don't! If I did that it would mean that I would have laundry in the basket waiting for enough 'whites' or dark colored clothes and I would then fail to meet the desire of my husband. Each day we do put similar clothes in the loads or take out 'special clothes' but we have no official sorting system. Because clothes get brought up each morning, we typically have a boy’s load, a mom and dad load, a girl’s load, and a bathroom and kitchen load. On a normal day we tend to do four loads of laundry. On days with deep cleaning projects we may have six to eight loads of laundry to do.
Secondly, I have everyone in the house help with laundry. Because I use natural cleaning products I don't mind having the children help in the laundry room. Everyone that can reach the dial can do every step of the laundry process. For my two little ones they take clothes from the dryer and fold and put away the clothes. NO clothes are allowed lying on furniture or in a room. They must all be hung up or folded and put away nicely at the time the load of laundry is done. This keeps the rooms staying clean throughout the day.
Thirdly, I'll tell you a little secret that others may find as another 'downfall' to my system. We don't let the children have many clothes. I found that when they have too many clothes then I am doing unnecessary laundry! I'll find myself washing something I've never seen them wear simply because they left it lying around or didn't have anywhere else to throw it except the laundry basket. Therefore, in our home, each child only has 3 jeans, 5 shirts, 3 pj's and then five undergarments for daily wear. They also have three 'dress' outfits that are kept neat and tidy in a container under my bed. We also keep a few pairs of socks in the bucket (we buy them with colored soles so we know the difference) to make going out not so stressful. Every child knows what their 'dress' clothes look like and that they are washed only with other 'dress' clothes and then promptly put back under mom’s bed.
This decluttering of the closets has made a tremendous impact on my laundry room and our home organization. It has also helped us save money and keep the children looking nice when we go out in public! The only time this system has failed us is when clothes have been given to us and I don't first clean out what we no longer need. The children have learned that they like not being bogged down with laundry as well and will often tell me, "Mom, we need to go through our closets again we seem too be collecting to many clothes." Everyone in the house feels a freedom with this system but it did take us a little while to get use to the 'less is more' philosophy.
I know that each home is unique and the desires of your husband or needs of your children may make my laundry system impractical or impossible. Just take what you feel the Lord is leading you to do and then do it faithfully. You will find He leads perfectly... even in the midst of laundry!
With much love,
Mrs. Joseph Wood