She’s been part of our lives for over eight months now. That’s unreal.
How does that even happen? Wow.
The older I get, the more amazed I become about the passage of time. It just FLIES by. I try to impart that bit of knowledge into my kids, but like all other young people, they don’t get it quite yet. But they will. One day they will.
So how am I faring with six kids some may ask?
Whenever I am out shopping, I get myriad of looks while herding my little brood in and out of stores. I can see their lips moving as they count—one,… two,…three, four. And their eyes widen…five, six. Sometimes I mentally count with them. It never hurts to double check and make sure that I don’t have any stragglers. 🙂
Then the comments come rolling in.
You’ve got your hands full.
My, you must be busy with all these kids.
Only one boy, huh?!
And they smile. But I can see it in their eyes, hear it in their tone, and see it on their face. Amazement. Curiosity. Surprise. They are interested. Not for their own experience really, but to perhaps vicariously live —just for a moment—as the parent of a large family.
So what’s it really like? I mean, reeeally like to have half a dozen kids??
Settle in while I give you the low down on lots of littles, the honest truth. I promise.
Life with 6 Kids….So, What’s it Really Like?
Yes, let’s start with the noise. You are struck with the cacophony of what sounds like wild Indians during the settling of the old west before your foot ever crosses the threshold. The rooms echo with the sounds of childish babble and laughter fills the halls. And thudding. There is lots of thudding and thumping interspersed with the pitter-patter of little feet as they chase each other up and down the length of the home. A baby crying to be nursed and the long sobbing wail of one who cannot find her blanket. It all intermingles into one raucous clamor with minimal moments of silence. Long periods of silence almost never happen and if they do, always investigate. Silence during waking hours is not your friend. Nap time and bed time quiet are different story. They are truly golden moments after especially loud days and evenings. But then again, what am I saying? Nap time and bed time are treasured on any given day.
Frankly, it’s everywhere. We have eight people living in 1900 sq ft of living space. I try to remind myself that even if we were all adults, neatness would be an ongoing task and everyday battle. Obviously the entire household is not comprised of grown-ups, thus the clutter can seem even more overwhelming. The kids help out every day and have assigned daily chores, but I’ve come to realize that if I maintain a spotless house, I’m ignoring the lives of the little people in it. And babies don’t keep.
In other words, the mess reigns most days.
Food?? I’m not overly familiar with it, it disappears so quickly. I am loving shopping at Costco more and more these days. Bulk buying is your BFF when you have a large family. Meals and snacks are devoured at a steady rate and you are left there staring at a pile of dirty dishes and trails of crumbs around the kitchen chairs. I’m not kidding. You blink and it’s gone. So dig in while you can. It’s the motto we live by.
It only happens between 8pm and 6am. Any other conversations attempted are interspersed with multiple offspring reprimands and boo-boo kissing. And let me tell ya, this makes some discussions with a spouse difficult and wearisome to follow. Many a tale has ended with these words, “Forget it. I’ll tell you later.” Followed by an understanding peck on the cheek.
It’s a season of life, only a season. At least, that’s what we tell ourselves. (between 8pm and 6am, of course)
Your every waking moment is about others. Feeding, changing, teaching, bathing, cleaning, correcting….the list seems endless. Showers and bathroom breaks are your treasured reprieves. And even they are few and far between.
By now most of you are thinking,” I knew it. I just knew it. These are exactly some of the reasons why I would never want a large family.”
Well, now I’d like to tell you otherwise.
But you just said…. And you just listed….Yes, yes, I know. I know what I just said and what I just listed. Mothering half a dozen kids is rough. I often fall into bed dog tired at the end of the day, both mentally and physically. It can be a struggle. And the kids win, most days.
I said that I would be honest here, and I have been. But I also would be remiss if I didn’t tell you this.
Some noises are nice. Like the noise of an infant laughing for the first time. Or the giggles of the entire family as you all watch the antics of a two year old. Or the happy chatter as you gather around the table for a meal or a game of cards. Or the sound of music as songs are being rehearsed or piano lessons are being practiced. You see, the absence of noise would actually be the saddest sound. And while nap time and bed time truly are golden moments, Hubs and I often find ourselves halfway wishing we could get the kids up again after a half hour of quiet. We just plain miss them.
Food, well, it’s meant to be eaten. And many memories are made when families gather to share meals together. Nothing warms my heart more than to see all of their sweet, young faces seated around our kitchen table. It’s during moments like those that I feel supremely blessed, my heart full. And when you realize how fortunate you really are, what’s a pile of dirty dishes or two? Instead you feel incredibly grateful as you sweep up that trail of crumbs. Again. For the seventeenth time that day.
Money. I didn’t say much about this earlier and I won’t say much about it here either. We have more possessions, riches if you will, than most people in the world. Do we have a huge house? Drive fancy cars? No and no. Material things don’t bring happiness and neither does a fat bank account. At the end of the day, what we obtain here on this earth is of little consequence, but the lives that we impact are everything. Besides, as my dad has always said in regards to wealth, “You can’t take it with you.” End of story. 😉
Adult conversation is on the rise. How’s that? Well, babies and children have this unusual habit of growing up and I’m finding this to be true in our home as well. Bunny and Fuzz love to chat about their day, about their likes and dislikes. You name it and they’ll talk about it. I often find myself gazing into their faces while the sound of their voices fade to the background, completely mesmerized. These beautiful, young girls are my daughters. And I shake my head in disbelief as the topics of politics, world history and religion are frequently discussed at the dinner table. However, there are still days after evening devotions and family time are past and we prepare to leave the table that I come back to reality when my oldest daughter asks me a question. “Can I go play outside, Mom?” Inwardly I smile as I nod my head. Yes, adult conversations may be on the rise, but we are not there yet. And I’m fine with that. Let them be kids.
And then there is the illusive “me time”. Now I will not deny that having a moment of quietness and solitude can at times be refreshing, especially on particularly overwhelming mom days. We all need the ability to unwind and/or recharge. But if every thought and deed is inward focused, then I need to reevaluate my purpose. Since when is life supposed to be about me? Has our generation become so narcissistic that the thought of serving and living for others seems mundane, boring and a drudgery? Sure, I do a lot of the same things over and over every day. And so does everyone. That’s life. I would much rather spend my time in the daily trenches of life with other people—people I love—instead of by myself. I love nothing better than continually shouldering with my husband, working as one as we raise our children. We’re in this together. Plus, he knows me inside and out. He gives me chocolate and a quick escape to a quiet place when I need it.
So what’s it like raising a large family you ask?
It’s messy and it’s beautiful. Consuming and yet worthwhile. Stressful and also satisfying. Wearisome and energizing. Full of tears and full of laughter. It takes and it gives.
And gives and gives and gives. <3