When people hear that I have ten kids. I can usually count on getting several standard responses. 1. Are they all yours? Variation: All by the same father? or Did you actually give birth to them or is it a yours, mine and ours thing? 2. Did you have multiple births? Variation: One at a time?! On purpose?! and 3. How do you do it?
The last one is usually always asked by women with a deer in the headlights look on their faces. And I can see that they're thinking, "I'm so glad I'm not her!"
I'm glad I'm not her either. Wait, I am her. How do I do it? When I sit back and really think about it, all I can say is, I don't know. I have a friend that also had many children really quickly and she refers to those years of up all night, clean, bath, diaper, cook, console, rejoice, teach and do it all again the next day, as the lost years, because she was too tired to remember them.
I remember when I first got married and started having babies, I wanted to be the perfect mother. I would bake cookies for my kids when they came home from school and the beds would be made and the house decorated so cute. That vision started to fade in no time. When number two was born sixteen months after number one, I was still getting up every night with number one. When number three came along I was trying to potty train number one so I wouldn't have three in diapers. Thankfully, number two has her father's competitive nature and she decided that if number one was getting out of diapers so was she. What a glorious day. Before I knew it however, number four was here. With number five close behind. When I came up for air, I realized I had had five children and my oldest wasn't even seven, yet.
Okay, the gloves were off. The older kids had to start watching the younger ones while I did stuff. They had to help fold mountains of clothes, and they learned early how to clean the bathrooms, after all I am not the one that peed on the floor. Making beds and picking up toys was always a battle, but they did it.
My older children became amazingly self sufficient. My daughter even told folks that she could do anything her mom could do except drive a car. My son could make mac and cheese when he was five and we're talking the old fashioned kind not the microwave stuff. Unless they were really stuck, they did their own homework or not. Either way it was their responsibility.
I knew I was on the right track when my son came home from a friends and said, "Mom, M's mom still makes his bed for him." a look of disbelief on his face. My son had grasped the concept that their are things you have to do for yourself.
It wasn't long before the older kids were doing their own laundry. Yayyyy!
Now I have to say that some of my kids have taken the ball and run with it. If it wasn't for my oldest daughter and her get it done attitude neither she nor any of her siblings would have gotten into college or gotten married because she was the one that filled out all the applications and planned the weddings.
I have one college graduate, with three more in college. Another about to start.
Even though I am a long way from done, we found a way to make it work for us, at least through the early years. We're still trying to make it today and we have had to make adjustments. That's how I do it, day by day and sometimes hour by hour.
1 week ago