When people see me with my kids, they immediately start counting. Then they say all sorts of things, with all sorts of meanings and feelings behind them. I’ve come to realize you can’t hold people’s first thoughts against them, which has greatly reduced my stress levels 😉 But, once people kind of adjust to the shock of our family size, I often hear, how do you do it!? So, for all you Mom’s looking at me and shaking your head, here’s some little quick tips:
1. Mama, take care of yourself!
Eat something, take a shower, get dressed, make your bed. It’s easy to stay in our PJs all day and eat the kids’ left over chicken dinos, but those left over feelings overflow into other areas of our life, too. How we feel about ourselves sets a tone for our days. This is a very important job, taking care of ourselves reminds us of that!
2. Get Organized
I am not naturally an organized person, but keeping up with a family of eight is no joke! There are church activities, baseball practice, homeschool events. There’s team uniforms, pine cars and things being borrowed and returned, if you’ve got kids, you get it! And then, when we eat, we use 8 bowls and 8 spoons, or 8 plates and 8 forks – at every meal! We have a full dishwasher twice a day, every day – and the laundry! It gets crazy here, fast. Seven years ago, my motherhood journey brought me to Flylady. It’s a home cleaning and organization system with a funny name. It was life changing. If you need help getting organized, go google it 🙂
3. Have grace with yourself and eachother
Some seasons I’m making home made bread every day, some seasons we’re eating so much Little Ceasars there’s pizza boxes overflowing our recycling bin. We’d love for all our days to be well organized and stream lined, but caring for little people means some days you’re just holding people all day. And that’s so important, too! Yourself, your kids, your husband – we all have bad days. Getting into a habit of cutting eachother some slack can go a long way in our overall happiness.
4. Assign days
Each of my kids has a day of the week, we alternate so they rotate who is on Saturday. On these days they get to go first, hold the remote, go on any errands a parent may run. They also get taken care of well that day. The little ones get an unrushed bath, their sheets and blankets washed, their nails trimmed and we wash their clothes and check out their dressers for unfitting clothes. The older ones get checked on in these areas. It’s awesome, I don’t have to worry about forgetting someone and everyone agrees that things are fair. “Who’s day is it?”, is something you hear a whole lot at our house.
5. Make sure you have community
Have people over, meet people at the park, join Mom’s clubs. Everyone needs people, and we Moms need to talk to people who won’t start scream-crying because we used the wrong jelly. We homeschool, but I was raised in public school and it wasn’t much different in this respect – everyone needs community! We are part of a church, and I can’t recommend that enough. But, even in a faith community sometimes you have to dig to find some other families to start doing things with. It can be a bumpy road to finding community, but it’s worth it!
6. Have family hobbies
We watch movies together, go on drives in the country, most summers we go camping and last year we added baseball to the mix. Most of us do these things or similar family orientated things, but when you start seeing them as ways to invest in your family the way you think about them changes. Instead of just taking them to a park to get their energy out, you might start identifying the types of ducks there or find a park with excellent climbing trees because that’s what you remember about being a kid. And ask your kids, they have their own favorite things your family already does! These are some of their most favorite things in the whole world, they don’t need to be fancy or expensive.
7. Sometimes it’s just hard, and that’s OK
This motherhood gig is not for the faint of heart. And the more kids you have, the more you realize that. This is where God comes in. You simply can’t do it all. You aren’t enough, but Jesus is. God loves these kiddos even more than you do, and this was His plan! So pray! When it’s hard, tell God about it. And then wait, with expectation! His burden is light. And if you don’t know how to pray, let me know, I’d love to help you.
These are the things helping me these days. What are your favorite Mom tips?