Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Train Up Tuesday: "Large Family Logistics" Book Review
Okay, I know what your thinking since you read the blog heading - "'Large Family'? That's not me! I'll pass!" But just wait a minute, please.
Technically, we are not a "large family" (though we've now passed the 2.5 child per household average). BUT, I have trouble keeping my house in order - clean, tidy, organized, on schedule with homeschooling, open for visitors and friends to drop by, etc. I had trouble with that with one kiddo, much less (uh, er, more) with 3!
Vision Forum has offered a new book recently: "Large Family Logistics: The Art and Science of Managing the Large Family," by Kim Brenneman. My thoughts were, "well, if it works for a 'large family', I'm sure I can learn SOMETHING!"; and learn, I have. :)
I've read other "organizational" type books before, and I have them either neatly on my shelf, or I've passed them along to someone else. Usually, these books are a little overwhelming for me because in the end, I don't know where to really start, I don't have time to figure out a good schedule/method, and most importantly, there is a HUGE lack of motivation for me.
However, in the last few years, God has been doing a work in my life and in my family. Through other books by godly women and studying His Word (especially Titus & 2 Timothy), there has been a bit of a change (well, I say that; hopefully I can get some backup from friends/family who have seen it, too). My outlook towards my role as a woman of God has fortunately changed for the better and more for His glory (though I certainly haven't reached it all yet!). "Large Family Logistics" has added to that, too. The "motivation" behind the "Logistics" is spiritual, and that benefits your family, certainly, but more importantly, your testimony to those who need Christ!
I really want to share a little from this book, in hopes that you will make it a resource for your home. Resource is a good word, because this book is LARGE, as in size! It's like a textbook! But it's well-worth your $20-$25.
Brenneman's motivation for writing this book is to help women who are like she once was - struggling to handle even the basics, longing to master even the "simple" things, and perhaps overwhelmed by it all, even with just 1 or 2 children.
In Part 1 of the book, she goes through the many challenges that are in front of us, from being overwhelmed by the Proverbs 31 woman, lack of goals and systems (the benefits of having them), having a self-check (your attitude and discipline), evaluating your time, life's interruptions, making it work when you have little ones or babies, and getting your family on board. She covers all that and so much more, while offering tips in each of these areas that are both practical and necessary to be successful.
In Part 2, Brenneman goes through what your week can look like in a very practical way. She gives great outline suggestions for your personal "Home Management Book" that include dedicating a day of the week to specific tasks (like "Town Day", "Laundry Day", "Kitchen Day"). Part 2 also shows how you can get beyond just "maintaining" and make your home a source for ministry.
I know some of you are probably rolling your eyes at the idea of "scheduling" your days at home, especially if you are a bit of a free spirit or "artsy" (yeah, I know those code words....I've had them applied to me here and there), but in having a workable system, it leads to so much more freedom and liberty to move through your days and weeks without having an extra load on your shoulders! It gives a great sense of security even if you do have an "interruption" to your day or week. You know that you'll get to whatever you missed later by keeping up with your system.
I feel like I've barely scratched the surface of what all is in this book, but it has been a game changer for me! My sister read it first, and I can see changes in her life, too! I recommended this book to another friend (Laura who is married and has 3 boys 4 y.o. and under). She bought it and had almost all of it read within 2 weeks! Here is what Laura had to say about it:
"The beginning is very eye opening on what we are supposed to be doing as mothers and wives. The second half is filled with so many good ideas. I can't believe that I haven't thought of some of this stuff. I complain every Sunday about how hard it is to get to church, but I have never once thought of packing the diaper bag ahead or laying out all of the church clothes. I have complained about my kids waking up sooo early and how I can't get a shower. Well thank you 'Large Family Logistics,' I have planned out how long it takes to shower, dress, Bible study, throw in load of laundry, and be ready to greet little children with a happy face. And I love love love the 15 minute clean sessions. I always think 'oh there isn't enough time to do these things' so nothing every gets done. It is amazing how setting a timer works and how much can really get done in a little amount of time when I work at it."
To be completely honest, I haven't accomplished everything this book sets out to help you do. The book is a resource and can be read in it's entirety all at once or in bits (for whatever area you want to work on). In about 1 1/2 months, though, I've been pleasantly surprised at the change in our home, both in cleanliness and in general attitudes towards "work". My little helpers (3 y.o. & 5 1/2 y.o.) seem more inclined to help, too. Yes, there have still been days (weeks) where I feel disappointed by what wasn't accomplished or feel momentarily "overwhelmed", but, again, at least I have a workable system that gives me hope! :)
So, if your looking for help in your role as homemaker, this is a FABULOUS tool!