Family Manual!!

8 children and two adults populate my home, which means that we buy a lot of groceries, make a lot of meals, do a lot of laundry, clean a lot of floors, homeschool daily, pack a lot of lunches -- you get the picture. There's a lot to do. And even if your family can fit in a sedan which we can not, there's still a lot of work involved in raising a family.

I don't know about you, but being the only person in the family who knows how to do everything is very tiresome.  I believe that others in my home should also share the knowledge of how to operate complicated machinery like a toaster, a washer, and the bathroom sink. So I decided to approach my home life as I would a client project: I created a home Operations Manual.

From the get-go, I set out to create a Operations Manual, at first I packaged it in a navy blue three-ring binder. If I had called it "Mom's Journal" or "Family Planner" or anything else, and if I had chosen a prettier binder with -- perish the thought -- decorations, my husband would never have bothered to open it. Instead, I labeled the binder Operations Manual and set it out on the kitchen counter. It took about 3 minutes for my husband to take a peek. I highly recommend that you keep your audience in mind and use a title and theme that will appeal to your family, what ever that might me.

An operations manual is only as good as the information it contains. In mine, the first pages are for anyone who might have to come in my home while I am in the hospital.  It lists the names and ages of my children, our home address and phone number, local numbers for poison control and our hospital, contact information for several close neighbors and if needed our uber account information. I also included our family mission statement, student passwords for our homeschool, shot records, and other vital information.

When I was creating my manual I kept in mind my goal and what content I wanted  in our family manual.  My goal was to make it easy for another person to do my jobs and know my family.   I put together a meal planning page that were easy-to-follow worksheets, along with copies of my families favorite menus and recipes with very specific instructions (Press "Bake 350 Bake" to start the oven.). At the beginning of the week, my kids make lunch choices and check them off, which means that anyone who can read can make lunch.
All the pages in my binder, by the way, are in sheet protectors. That way, spills can be easily wiped up. In addition, I can use a wet erase marker to jot notes on the page as needed and erase them afterwards with a damp cloth.

Remember your  manual won't do  you any good if no one uses it. So when your children are hungry, let them refer to the instructions for "How to make a grilled cheese sandwich." Your tween has no clean clothes? Show him the instructions for doing the laundry will help him. Over time, your family will learn to check the manual first. And you can revel in the joy of an operation that practically runs itself.

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