For those of you with 3 or more, do you get that comment often? “You must have your hands full” or something to that effect is the most popular. It drives me somewhat crazy that people think that having many children can be challenging, although at times it can be the truth when faced with certain situations (like a lengthy doctors office visit in which even YOU are getting perturbed by how long you’ve been there), it definitely isn’t the case the majority of the time. The fact of the matter is – it’s about organization, planning, and ‘being prepared’ (go Girl Scouting when I was little!) My #1 piece of advice for those who have more than a couple of children is – plan ahead. My ways of planning ahead:
- Have a teeny first aid kit in your diaper bag/purse/car just in case.
- Bring water/juice cups and a snack while travelling in the car to prevent “Moooooom I’m huuuungggry” or overpriced snack purchases at the gas station, convenient store, or wherever you’re heading, just in case.
- Have all children go to the bathroom before you leave, just in case (and for some, they’ll still go while you’re out, they have small bladders, you know?).
- Plan your meals in advance, such as a weekly, bi-monthly or monthly menu, doing your grocery shopping accordingly, don’t think about what to serve and shop daily, it wastes gas, money, and time you could be spending doing something else you enjoy with your children.
- Have a daily routine so that medicines and vitamins are admistered in the mornings, beds get made in the mornings, clothes put away after homework before outside play after school, etc.
- Empty the dishwasher everytime it’s done so that dirty dishes can be rinsed and placed in it and not in your sink to pile up.
- Clean up after everything you do, and encourage your kids to not only help but to do the same.
- Take care of chores first thing in the morning, have the kids make their beds while you’re taking dinner out to thaw, preparing breakfasts while children eat and a load of laundry gets folded and put in, water your plants – get it done for the day so the rest of the day is yours.
Baby steps you will find are the key to keeping your sanity. Not all changes will go over like gangbusters immediately, but the more you follow through, the more you keep your calm and help them do the same, and the easier it will get and the more time for fun you will have when suddenly you realize things are done for the day and the rest of the day is yours.
I’m not the most organized person in the world. Heck there are times I have to do the same things over and over (like sweeping or vacuuming) because the little ones have made a mess accidentally (or heck, sometimes cheerios ARE fun to throw like confetti!). Nonetheless, patience and a couple minutes of smiling while fixing what was messed will get you through it.
I still haven’t come up with an ample response for the comments I get, particularly now that they see my blooming belly (25 weeks) while they count how many kidlets I have with me. And I always have to correct them since they either count wrong or one or more of my children isn’t with me for whatever reason. “No, I have 5, this (pointing to belly) will be my 6th.”
You’d think I was referring to an alien coming out of my belly or something with the looks I get. Ah well. If only they knew the awesome moments we have that no one else will see. The early morning cuddles and snuggles and tickle wars. The countless cute moments shared amongst brothers and sisters by way of kisses, hugs, good deeds, and sharing. Or watching as the young ones do something for the first time, and the family erupts in “YAY’s” and “WOOHOO’s” and hugs go around. That’s the stuff that can’t be conveyed into a simple response to “You sure do have your hands full.”
Yup, I sure do have my hands full – of 5 soon to be 6 wonderful bliss-filled children. And I wouldn’t miss a single solitary moment of it for anything. Ever.