Have you ever seen the movie Pretty Woman? Somewhere in the movie there's a man on the street that is spouting "Welcome to Hollywood. What's your dream? Everyone that comes to Hollywood has a dream."
Take a Step Back
I want you to take a step out of your current chaos. (Yes, as a mother of four I understand the meaning of chaos.) Take a look at where your kids are in regards to becoming the awesome people you want/wanted them to be. Do they have adequate life skills? As much as you want to baby them or that you fear for their safety, have you taught them the skills they need in order to be productive human beings? I will confess that I have been stuck in the baby/toddler rut for so long that I didn't teach my kids to cut their own meat until they started reaching 9-10 years old. Then I realized that as easy as it is for me to do it, I am doing them a disservice by folding their laundry, picking up after them and putting food on their plates.
What are you doing that your kids could easily do? Even at 3 and 4 years old they can match socks and put their clothes into their dresser or closet. I know several moms that have told me their 10 year olds do their own laundry. This was a big eye-opening statement because growing up I wasn't allowed to touch the laundry. So my first load was done on my own with NO IDEA how to do it. I felt like an idiot trying to figure out how to sort colors and understanding what temperature to set things at.
Again I Ask
What is your parenthood dream? Do you want your children to go off to college? Do you want them to have a good work ethic? Should they know how to cook, do laundry, manage their finances, shop smart? There are so many skills that us parents use that we often forget should be taught. These are not ingrained in us when we are born. Just look at the differences in those that were taught to cook and those that were not. For someone that has had to learn the domestic arts AND money management the hard way I want to implore you to start working with your kids now.
Develop a Plan
Work with where your kids are and what is appropriate. I'm starting with a list of age appropriate skills that I want my kids to learn this year. They start with one chore and then add a new one every couple of weeks. They are all part of your family which is like a community. Everyone must do their own part to contribute to the "community". Everyone needs clothes to wear so we all must chip in with laundry. Everyone needs to eat so each person can help with cooking or setting the table. A clean environment makes living easier and healthier so everyone needs to help clean up and keep things clean.
A child that has the necessary life skills at home will feel confident in taking on the world. They have a greater self esteem overall that follows them wherever they go. Take it from someone who had to learn essentially all of her skills on the fly. As a homemaker we often forget that our skills are some of the most important that our children will ever learn.