Taxi Driver or Mama – What’s Your Profession?

How would you describe yourself? Does a coffee-drinking, legging-wearing, messy updo sound familiar? Do you feel hurried and stressed? Feel like you never have a free moment at home, let alone to cook and clean? Are you always in the car taking the kids to activities, hoping these events help them grow up to be well rounded adults? Can I just say–

Stop it mama!

Stop and think if all those activities are really what makes your kids well rounded. Stop and ask yourself if your fear of failure is causing you to feel the need to run the family ragged?

Are we really so worried that we are going to mess this child-raising job completely up?

If that is your main motivation for keeping your children so busy with outside activities, then lean in close and listen up. Children need ‘free time’. They actually like to have time that they are not expected to be somewhere or do something. Will they admit that? NEVER…they will drive you crazy whining how bored they are and can you please take them somewhere. When they finally believe you that you are staying home for the day, they will eventually find something to do to entertain themselves and use their creativity in the process.

Know ahead of time that there are a few points that will keep them from being creative right off the bat:

  1. If you say “yes” when they ask you to use anything attached to a screen. Phone, iPad, video game, or tv—it doesn’t matter. Once they them turn it on, the day is blown! If this is your plan, give up now and head to the park.
  2. Start to nag them about all the things you need them to do like clean under their bed, throw out last year’s Valentines cards, or sort through their too small clothes.
  3. Tell them to go play but don’t make a mess. Let’s face it—kids are a mess! They love messes like finger paints, mud pies, and playdough. They love to drag every blanket and pillow out for forts. They are experts at dumping the toybox to find that one tiny Lego hidden in the bottom. Yes mess might be their middle name.

Now don’t misunderstand and think I am calling for all out chaos to take over. I myself would be driving off if that was the case. However there are some simple solutions to allowing creativity and reducing messes.

Know what supplies you have and where it is appropriate to use them. Plastic bins with lids can be a mama’s best friend as long as mama is the only one who gets into them. We have a bin of Legos, dress up, kitchen foods, little animals, tiny cars, and baby dolls. We also have a bin of kinetic sand, one of playdoh and cutters, and a bin of painting supplies. Long ago, I learned to never allow art supply bins in the bedrooms. Instead, we use large cookie sheets with an edge on them to place our paint, water cups, paper towels, and paper on, all the while ensuring the kids sit at the table. Each child keeps their project on the pan, and it saves when spills happen. Another great use for the pan is to do playdoh on it. Most of the mess is contained and kids understand that boundary.

As for the toy bins, I store them where the children do not have access to them. They come ask me for Legos and I hand out that bin of toys. When it is returned with the pieces in it, I offer another toy. This saves my sanity from huge messes being dumped and deserted. When I had many little children at home, I did not allow them to take this bin into the bedroom. Instead, I often shut the bedroom doors and allowed them to play in the hallway. It’s usually a clear space perfect for lots of small pieces and much easier to clean up. An added bonus is that we usually had a baby gate at the end of the hall, making it the perfect ‘sibling free’ spot where the babies couldn’t mess up the play. Think of it as a large playpen that you allow your big kids to play in.

As for the little children, ages 2 and younger, clean their toys out. Keep a bin or two of little toys that you can rotate. Children that age are exploring life. They do not needs lots of plastic stuff to make them happy. A small purse, plastic keys, a pretend phone, a baby doll. Just a few things that mimic mama helps this age child role play and keeps the mess manageable.

  • If you believe that kids are creative, you will save on all the plastic trinkets that we buy and then throw out.
  • If you can remind yourself that kids do not need all the bells and whistles, your home will be much more peaceful.
  • If you can retrain your brain to not believe that kids need to be on the go all the time, you will save time and gas.
  • The more you are home, the less you will eat out having more options to make healthier meals.
  • Being home gives you more time to keep your home neat and tidy, even time to train the kids to help.
  • If your home has less chaos, you will enjoy being home much more often.

While this can sound overwhelming, you are not looking for perfection. Make a goal and do it one step at a time. Over time your goals will change, especially as the kids grow.

Many of these tips come from my days of raising my large family. With nine kids, we often had a lot of people living in our home at a time. Life was busy and full, yet I wouldn’t trade it. Now that most of my children are grown up we are trying to learn how to do small family life. Our current working plan it to be home each weekday morning until we finish lunch. I schedule all appointments and activities in the afternoons. Homeschooling and homemaking take morning priorities. It’s not perfect and there are days we have no choice but to get out, however we have a mindful goal to keep us moving in the right direction.

You can do this mama! Take back control of your free time…

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Courtney Mount
Hi, I'm Courtney! Born and raised in Oklahoma, I have birthed 9 babies who have given me 7 grandbabies--so far. I am a slightly crunchy, homeschooling mama of 28 years. In 2020, I also became a grieving mama as my 3 year old lost her battle to Neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer. I currently write about our everyday life, child loss, grief, and Jesus at You can also find me at


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