We have a LOT of children living in our home….this is true. 5 unique, beautiful and talented children 8 and under ! I am asked this every time I leave the house with them all in tow. After the stares and gawks some brave soul will venture to ask….”Are they ALL yours?” like I am gallivanting through Target with an entire army!!
So, how do we make this work?? What gets me through the day? Though I know I still have a TON to learn and perfect-here are my little mantras—what keeps me going through the day.
1. Patience is more than a virtue – it’s a necessity! I practice deep breathing nearly every day, I’m sure of it. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the fury when Skyler and Abbie are screaming at each other, Trendon’s crying cause he can”t find his toy, Livie can’t believe Mia stole her baby doll and Mia’s ticked off that everyone is being so loud!!! These moments are fairly few and far between but when they happen I try to step back and breathe deep!
2. Enjoy the little moments. With many children its hard to spend quality time with each of them. Zack and I have found ways to steal away short but special moments. Abbie and I spent time tonight singing Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes as fast as we could while the others were distracted by their own games. Those 8 minutes were priceless.
3. 50/50 marriage is a must! Without a supportive, loving husband I would absolutely be a wreck. This house can be chaotic and there is an ever-growing list of to-do’s. Even though I work from home, he realizes I work. Even tonight he worked 7a-8p–but realized that meant just as long a day for me. I am one lucky gal–I know this for sure!
4. Money doesn’t grow on trees. I don’t know what the magic number would be to have plenty of money for every activity, lesson, fund raiser, birthday party, etc with 5 kids. Whatever that number is….we don’t have it. Though we are blessed to be able to provide for these children we do have to skip some of those extras. Our kids are still well-adjusted and smart even without karate, piano, gymnastics, dance, horseback riding and fencing lessons every single night of the week.:)
5. Steal away moments with your mate. Hiring a sitter isn’t always an option for us so we have become creative in our ways to spend special time together. Our house is set up so that we can shut off the basement completely–we have been known to put the kids to bed, order take-out, light a few candles, and turn up the tunes. It’s a completely romantic dinner for two without the cost of a sitter!
6. Accept help. What you’d like to take the kids to the movies?!?! Why, SURE!!!! 🙂 We have some amazing neighbors, friends, and family that have extended incredibly generosity to us.
7. Let the ceiling fan be dusty. There is not enough energy in my body to keep an immaculate house and care for 5 children and a dog. My ceiling fans might be dusty, baseboards might be too — I am learning to come to grips with this reality!
8. Be alone. Mommies and Daddies all need time to recharge! I sneak away for a night out with girlfriends about once a month.
9. Turn up the music!! Or find another family ritual that the kids can expect to do with you every day. Ours is cranking up the tunes at around 5 o clock when we start dinner. Sometimes I have patience to let the kids help me in the kitchen – and others I just want dinner on the table quickly. But, we ALWAYS have the radio up loud and we dance like no one is watching!:) I’m confident that I enjoy this time even more than they do:-)
10. Entertain them. Kids are so much more well-behaved and easy to handle when they have a good balance of being entertained and entertaining themselves. A lot of the family activities we choose to do include a mix of this. For instance, we head downtown to the “Big Grey Slides” (don’t you love our creative nickname). We get a chance to play with them—and an opportunity to sit together and watch them play. A good mix seems to work magic for us!
I am far from claiming to have all the answers but I sure know that I have learned a lot growing from a momma of 2 to a family of 7!
Have any of your own family tips to share? Leave a comment–I sure love reading them!!:-)