I have four children. Probably not enough to warrant me my own television series, but surely enough to have someone say everyday, "Boy do you have your hands full." My reaction, "You should meet the puppy." Then of course I get this strange glare questioning how could I possibly have a puppy in addition to four kids.
People also often ask me about my parenting styles, whether I own a tv or if I allow kids on an iPad. I laugh at this because by no means could I possibly survive without technology. It helps. Plus today, the shift in educational technology has been on the rise. I often wonder if children even have to know how to write anymore? Meaning with a pen and paper. Of course they should, but our everyday is usually done on a computer. As an adult I don't have to use a pen much. Maybe your occasional thank you note or a card, signing a document, but that's it.
There has been a dramatic shift in my home and I am trying to find my way. A new baby, a new puppy, a new home. That surely is enough to make any mom feel like she's in a tail spin. Trying to find a balance between taking care of me and them can be quite challenging. Recently at a doctors check up, she sat me down and explained to me that I came first. I looked at her with that one eye glare. She went on to say I had to work out at least four days a week for an hour and she wanted me to take some me time. Go out with friends, get a pedicure, get your hair done. I can't seem to turn that (doctors orders) corner but, it's on the horizon for sure.
I am home most days with my youngest two. Roman who is almost four and baby Brody who is close to four months. Roman goes to preschool a few days a week, but he is done by noon. And lets not forget the sweet puppy. She has needs too. The baby is attached to my hip due to me nursing and Roman wants to explore. The puppy is beautiful, but taking care of the three of them is definitely wild. The puppy doesn't have all of her vaccines so we have to stay close to home. There is no holding back Roman's exploratory ambition, he is ready to ride his scooter up the California coastline if I let him. I didn't come from a family with lots of siblings so this is all new for me for sure. It surely is quite a balancing act. Meeting all of their needs at their individual levels is quite the challenge that I have to plan out most of my days.
One of my goals is to get the puppy very used to the kids. I was told by her previous owners that I should let the baby nap with the kids. I find it to be a beautiful thing but I have to supervise closely due to the age of both Brody (4 months) and Mabel (9 weeks). They cuddle and it's definitely the cutest thing I have ever seen. Definitely makes a really cute Christmas card if you ask me. However, I don't have the time to supervise, so this cute Hallmark moment will be very very short lived.
As far as Roman, we recently got ABC Mouse for him and he is loving it. It's so educational and challenges his perfect sweet little mind. We save that for when Daddy comes home so he can have his one on one time with him. The older two, Jackson and Dylan help out a lot, but they too have a ton of homework and projects that need to be completed. This is just the everyday madness of having a lot of kids and making sure they are ready to thrive in this world.
Tips on raising a large family
- Organization is key. Mom or whomever is home must organize the house and have a system in place. Everything should have a place. Sure there have been moments where homework was done way after bedtime or even done in the minivan (which I proudly don't own anymore). No, I am not proud of those moments, but I am human and definitely not your "Leave it to Beaver" kind of mom. To bring some order to my life I just set up a large family calendar in my laundry room. It's for all of us. The kids can put their important dates on it as well as Bobby and I. I like the idea of glancing at four months in advance so we can plan accordingly. I plan on adding a dry erase board and a bulletin board where I could pin invitations etc. I also will add a section where kids can display their proud accomplishments, or simply hang their art. I strategically placed this in the laundry room, which is close to my future mudroom.
- Everyone has to pitch in. This one is crucial for me. I struggle with Roman who still walks to the beat of his own drum, but when everyone helps around the house, it just seems to run more smoothly. I have mentioned in the past how I use a reward system for allowance and it works for us.
- Menu planning. I never was a fan of this one. But, now that we are six with two fur babies, its important to plan out your meals. The best way to do this is to know what your eating. I start with three recipes for the week and if I can make four I am winning. For the past three weeks I turn toward Practical Paleo. Its been a pure hit in my own, even with the kids.
- Say NO to the clutter. Like I said earlier, everything has a place. Put it away. Don't leave piles out. You can't think straight if there is clutter. We try not to allow the toys downstairs. The kids have a playroom and their own rooms they could play in. There is no need to have toys though out the entire house. It's a tough one for sure. But we are in charge as parents, not the little ones.
- Take time for you and your husband. Right now we go to the movies once a month and we go out with other couples at least once a month, but for the most part we hand out with other families with kids on most weekends. It's just what we prefer. Sure I have friends that go out with their husbands three times a week, but that's not us. You have to do what's best for you. As far as taking time individually, my husband goes tot he gym before work and I am working on getting there when the older two are in school.
Having a large family takes a lot of work, a lot of love, a lot of tears and plenty of joy (thank the heavens above)! No one knows better than you on what you need as a family to thrive. Take it day at a time like we do, with some organization and you too will find the time to make the movies. Of course I would love to hear from you. Comment below and let me know what you do with your family.