After the adoption of our 2 boys, I have been asked MANY times if Larry and I are finally done having children. We are told OFTEN that 7 kids are a lot … A HUGE family! I have to disagree with them. We are not finished if God wants us to have more. We know that God will only give us what we can handle and Larry and I after the birth of Shelby knew that we were destined to become parents – the best parents that we could be. We look at families with 10 or more and and I am in awe of how they all work together.
We have a dynamic in our household that people with 2 children just don’t understand. Is is chaotic? Yes, at times… but when is it not chaotic for someone with 2 or 3 children too. Is it loud? YES! But again, I wouldn’t change it for anything. We always have something going on… we always are on the go with activities together. I have a home office where I do 75% of my work from. … I am essentially a stay-at-home mom. We have 4 children who are homeschooled and 3 who are public schooled. We are back on the foster care and adoption lists for a little girl (or 2) under 4 years old.
How with work, school, homeschool, and everything else on my plate do I juggle everything that I do? Recently at a CFT (team meeting for our boys with CPS and therapists) Larry and I were asked what our strengths were of each other. Larry had one for me that I was not aware of… He said that he thought that my greatest strength in the household was my ability to juggle all of the kids and get them to where they needed to be while still being an amazing mom. WOWWIE! I am honored to think that my husband “sees” everything that I do with the kids.
I have been asked an MANY occasions what the essentials in my household are. Here is my “mom” list.
- I know that my house will never be spotless, nor should it ever. Our house is very well lived in and it is NOT a museum. Our house will at times be cluttered and really messy. Do we clean, YES, all of the time! Everything does have a place and will make it there as soon as I stop playing with my children!
- Kids schedule organization is essential. With any number of children in your household, you need to be organized with a calendar. I have both a print calendar that I keep on my desk and take with me in my “Mary Poppins Purse” and I put everything online on my Google calendar that my husband and oldest daughter can access from their phones. Everything is color coded by person.This makes it SO much easier to know who needs to be where and when.
- Take time to do something fun with your children every day! I try not to get stuck in a mundane routine… Over and Over and OVER again causes for BORING! However for many children routine is very important so block a “time” every day.
- Get a hobby that you can include your children. We cook… and BOY, DO WE! All of my children cook. We make everything from scratch and make up so many recipes. They don’t always turn out. But we do write down all that we do create together.
- Always, always, always eat and pray together every night. This will allow you to visit with your children, learn who they are all over again. You can have your “family meetings” during dinner. Our are loud and full of laughter. We do not sit quietly and I love every minute of those giggles and talking about your day moments. Soon enough they will no longer be at home to do this.
- To deal with the loud and crazies, create a “quite area”. In my office, I have a chalkboard wall, a glider rocking chair, children’s books and quite felt and wood toys. This area is a quite zone for all children who need to have alone time.
- To streamline your household, plan out your meals in advance. I know what I have in my pantry, in my freezers and in my refrigerators all of the time (unless I have an older kids help themselves to something. Last week I was missing 2 bell peppers… come to find out my oldest 2 kiddos ate them for a snack – REALLY? A Bell pepper for a snack? At least they LOVE veggies!) We know exactly what we are making for dinner when I get up in the morning to make my day go easier. Most of the time, I load up my solar oven pans in the morning and let it cook all day!!!
- Recruit children to have their own toys, help with clean-up and to help others with their chores. With as many little hands that are in our home, I know that we can accomplish ANYTHING! Use children in the skills that they are best at. Elwyn LOVES to be in the garden. She loves to pull weeds and calls that her private time. Berlyn does NOT like to do yard work, but he is really good at organizing things in bedrooms. We use each child with their own special gifts.
- Make the most of time that you are kidless. I work when Larry is off. I work at night after kids are in bed and during “brain-rest” time. I chose to work like this so that I can give 100% to my kids.
- Lastly, remember that every day is a new day. It has to be or you will make yourself go crazy and pull out all of your hair. You will NOT accomplish everything that you planned every single day, but you can give it your best shot each and every day.