Having a big family was not on my goal poster. In fact I was ready to stop at baby #1. I always say, Life happens while you’re making plans. Maybe having a big family was not in my books but it was what we were given. I used to complain when I had just a few kids running the household, yup, those were the good `ole days.
To be honest and open, the more kids we had the more difficult it was for me. I was going through changes in myself and constant changes in our daily routines. For 10 years I was either pregnant, just had a baby, or had a toddler in diapers. In fact, here I am STILL changing diapers at the age of 42. I remember getting so excited when one of the kids would start Kindergarten. YES! I am so close to having all my kids in school and finally getting some freedom! Haha fat chance sister, you aren’t done yet, here’s another little human.
I love the new modern blogging moms. They don’t sugar coat everything, they tell the raw and real parts of parenting. Its not all meal plans and happy picture taking. Its tough work. Its pushing screaming kids down a grocery aisle, wanting to sleep rather than play, getting your uncooperative family ready and out the door. My kids are 16, 7, 9, 10 and 3 years old. I don’t have parenting down to a science and I never will, but I don’t pull my hair out as much as I used to.
So here we go mama, my journey with lots of kids boiled down to 6 things I have learned during this parenting process.
YOU are parenting your kids, not anyone else.
Let them judge.
I used to shout “Oh No!” and freak out when my kids got hurt in any way. I used to decide what I should and shouldn’t do with my kids based on what I thought other moms would think of me. WhatEVER…
Now that I’m over that stage I can finally appreciate the growing pains my kids need to go through. Parents still look at me funny when I don’t run to coddle my kid for every little mishap. Nope I’m not uncaring, I’ve just toughened up my mom muscles. Nor do I tote around a diaper bag. I throw diapers, snacks and wipes in my purse and think no more of it. Throw out those cookie cutter ways, there’s no perfect parenting.
Hot mess moms are in!
It’s all about what works with your flow.
A mom friend and I sat and watched our sons baseball game. Her son was batting and was hit pretty hard in the leg by the pitch. She jumped up and said Yes! Before you throw stones at her she explained something that was a parenting light bulb. She was not happy because he felt hurt, she was happy knowing he would now not be afraid of the ball. Normally he would cautiously swing at the ball because of this fear. Now that he knew what to expect he actually became more aware of his batting which gave him more confidence. His mom knows how to raise him, let those other judge away. It’s not about them anyway.
Having kids is like running a small business and a mini cafe.
Get used to it
No seriously, you may stay in your home but you will live in your kitchen if you’re not careful. First off kids are picky, hangry, glutton intolerant, lactose intolerant, allergic to this and that types of humans. You cant win unless you do in fact own a cafe. So to make this easy, meal planning is a must. My favorite person to watch is Lori over at Passionate Penny Pincher. I loathe cooking, like despise it! So I need a plan that is already written down ready to go, I’m also very busy so I don’t have time to google and pick through the millions of posts on meal prep. What you’re looking for here is easy crockpot recipes you can prepare and freeze. I even prep snacks over here because it’s a lifesaver. I used to grocery shop every single day folks, not anymore. When you prep meals and snack shop on Amazon, well, you’re prepared to deal with hungry kids.
everyone comes to the table with what they need to talk about, whats coming up at school, activities, parties etc. When kids know what to expect during the week there is less frustration, and more cooperation.
They need one on one time
and so do you
Five kids and they each get special alone time with either mom or dad. If we can swing it, sometimes they get us both. This is where fun memories are made and believe it or not they are much cooler to each other. We have found that solo quality time gives them a safe place to vent and before you know it they are teenagers who want nothing to do with you. Safe venting now prepares them to come to you for anything in the future.
They fight for your attention everyday and it can show up later when they turn into spawns of hell. Whether you have one or ten kids, its all the same. Kids need us to put down our phones and give them special attention.
Learn to become a master planner
I teach this to every mom and mompreneur who struggle with time management. You don’t have to be a hard core planner to run a semi smooth ship. I use a simple Weekly Plan Sheet to get the ball rolling. If you have a basic schedule the family can see everyday and that they helped create (insert family meeting) then your kids are more likely to help. Kids can be cool like that.
Visit my Master Planner Blog Here for more detailed tips.
Nail down a family routine
Amen sister! This right here is the most important thing I had to put in place right away. We would get up for school and run around the house looking for shoes, jackets, missing papers. Getting their stuff ready the night before seems obvious, but your kids are kids. In one ear and out the other my friends. They will forget any direction you give them so you end up constantly nagging and forgetting or doing it yourself. The key here is to try to keep the basic routines the same each day. Kids function better that way.
Our basic routine: *First thing when they walk in the door from school they put shoes in baskets, jackets get hung, backpacks put away and homework goes on their clipboards.
*Snack and a little free time before homework starts at 5, unless there are activities, I switch this up day by day. *Dinner at 6:30, then clean up time, bath time, lay out clothes for the next day, then bed time. Bam! Solid routine. Of course life happens so its not always perfect but the kids know the flow and its worked for us. Also, my toddler has his own agenda which is pretty simple. I just have to keep on my toes when he tries to destroy the house.
Start a secret journal
This has been so awesome for us. There are journals specifically for moms and daughters, moms and sons, even dads as well. They are prompted with writing ideas so they get to know you better and you get a peek into their thoughts, feelings and interests. If you have a child who has difficulty expressing themselves outwardly, maybe writing down their thoughts will help. Below are a few of my favorites.
As much as I would love to go on and on, this is a blog, not a book. I hope you find lots of peace, joy and laughter in your journey with your little humans. You don’t have to have it all together, you are amazing and your kids know it.