First...There are NO secrets...Again, life is about perspective and attitude!! You are given a choice in this world to BE HAPPY or NOT TO BE!! That's how I look at it!! I CHOOSE to be HAPPY!! I CHOOSE to live my life a certain way that WORKS FOR ME AND MY FAMILY!!! OUR WAY WILL NOT WORK FOR MOST OTHER PEOPLE!!! I truly believe everyone holds the key and formula to making their own family WORK and RUN smoothly!! We ARE NOT perfect...We get things WRONG every day...but I'm a firm believer that if something isn't working for ya...well..then change it!!! Here are some things that we do that work for us..and well...some things that don't:
We are BUSY...Yes it is TRUE!! I run basically 24 hrs. a day for my children and hubby and house!!! I'm exhausted most days...but i don't want it any other way...I ALWAYS want to be exhausted at the end of every day knowing that i'm living my life the way God had intended!! I always knew I wanted to be a mommy...I always knew I wanted to stay at home with them..I told my hubby that on one of my first dates (yes, brave, i know :) But I made it clear that I'd give up anything to stay at home with my children some day...And, well...he said he wanted a big family too and he'd love a stay at home wife/mother some day...and well..the rest was history..I knew I could marry him!! :) (ok, so there was a little more to it than that...but you get the idea....)!!! So, we had 5 children in 6 years...and they keep us on our toes!!! But I find success by being laid back and CALM!! Yes, I'm the calm, soft spoken parent...it works for me!! Our children have never been spanked or had any physical pain inflicted on them (not that they didn't need it according to many friends and family members :) but we've chosen OTHER discipline tactics that have been successful with OUR children!! (again, i know this doesn't work for some of ya...but just sharing what we do :) I have the gift of PATIENCE with children...I think this comes from being a teacher to 20something children FIRST before becoming a parent..I was a calm teacher and IT WORKED FOR ME!! I loved my job and my students loved me..it was very rewarding!! So, I just transferred some of those skills into parenting..and wham...it worked!! I have this theory that I can't expect my children to be all those qualities that I AM NOT!! Meaning..how I can expect them to be patient, and kind, and to speak kindly to people..when they see the opposite out of me all the time???...So, modeling what I want/expect out of them is important to me!! So, i don't yell..I don't scream...and I go to bed at night with a clear conscious.....Again, i wasn't a calm and cool teen or college student...this is a behavior I CHOSE as an adult...and it works for me!!! :)
What works for us??? Spending ALL OUR TIME TOGETHER!!! You see...I choose NOT to have any other hobbies other than my family!! I don't exercise, shop, get my hair/nails done, use babysitters, work outside the home..I dont' do girl's weekends, read, or have any family helping us, etc....and if my hubby and I want to go on a date...well...we take the kids with us!! :) The hubby and I have NEVER been on an overnight trip EVER without the kids!! We literally spend every waking (and sleeping) minute with our kids. My hubby's job has NO traveling required and good hours...so we're basically always together!! And, this works for us..I wouldn't have it any other way!! Again..i know this doesn't work for most of you...but because the hubby and I are night owls..we can connect at night, check emails after the kids go to bed, I can blog...he can catch up on sports ALL at the midnight hour!!! It just doesn't work for me to be away from my family...I sincerely have more fun when the 7 of us are all together!!
Women, you aren't giving yourself enough credit!!! So, I hear all the time...I could NEVER handle 5 children that young!! Oh, really YOU COULD!! I have many friends with twice as many children as I have...and my life seems simple and easy to them!! We women are capable of SO MUCH MORE than we give ourselves credit for...We are selling ourselves short by saying, " I could never handle it"!!! You can do ANYTHING with God by your side!! Through prayer and a constant focus on each one of my children...I am able to successfully make them feel special in their own unique ways!! Which leads me to:
Lucy Lane is just another sibling in our family!! I might keep an adoption blog at midnight focusing on advocating for the orphaned child...but I do it in the middle of the night to NEVER take away time from all 5 of our children!! It amazes me HOW people are either so concerned about "how the bio children feel" OR "how does the adopted child feel"!!! The truth is...they all feel special because we work hard 24 hrs. a day to make that happen!! In a normal day LL is dragged around to ALL of their activities...The focus is on each one of them at different times as they do their sport or their talent!!! We eat dinner together as a family every night where one child gets the "special plate" and we all take turns saying what is special about that child!! LL is LOVED and SHE IS THE BABY right now which brings her a lot of attention...but each of her siblings had their turn at being "baby" and I pray some day that LL has the privilege of being a big sister too....we'll see!!! :)
Ohhh, the house work!!!! Yes, I fail miserably at house work!! I would much rather be setting up craft, gluing on eye balls, working on school work books...anything other than cleaning!! You can ask my college roommates: I've stunk at cleaning my entire life!! My hubby used to come over and clean my apartment before we ever got married because he felt sorry for my roommates!! It's NOT that I don't try...I feel like i'm constantly shifting laundry from the washer to the dryer, changing out the dishwasher, picking up toys, etc...but it's the actual DEEP CLEANING that I always put aside...So..the hubby does help out LOTS around the house too since we have NO HIRED HELP!! We mow our own grass, clean our own house, iron our own clothes, etc....AND, i could never do it alone...My hubby is a "hands on" Dad and helps around the house as much as he can!! We both just know that we can't possibly keep up with it all and spend the quality time we want with our 5 kids...so lots of the chores around the house get put on the back burner...This is where being laid back works for us...We just don't sweat the small stuff!! :) Yes, I'd love to have a pretty, clean house all the time...but it's NOT going to happen...so we don't strive for perfection....it works for us!! :)
Yes, there are times I just want to cry!!! It is actually rare that I cry (not really sure why that is) but going to the pool with my 5 children is one thing that causes lots of anxiety for me. So..the pool and any other deep water activity where a child can go under..JUST DOESN'T WORK FOR ME!!! I can't stand going to the pool...it is awful to me! It scares me to death and I feel VERY OUT OF CONTROL!! I've even resulted in taking my niece with me to help me..and it still is no fun...So..if you want to see me stressed and NOT COOL...come to the pool...you will see a basket case of nerves trying to keep up with 5 kids running in every direction!! :) Oh, i feel the anxiety just thinking about it!!! :)
We are different...but I like us being different!!! While my friends are all talking about their "date nights" to concerts and such....my hubby and I are talking about WHERE we're taking our kids to "do something fun" on a Friday night!! This past Friday night you could find us at one of the local baseball fields practicing Softball and enjoying a family game!! We were the ONLY ones there...I had my coffee and camera in hand..the kids ran the bases and made "dirt angels" by lying on their backs in the dirt!! That's our kind of fun!!!
You see..the hubby and I are on the same page...This is important!! We love each other more now than we did the day we got married...but we have a mutual understanding that we are doing this parent thing together and doing it well!! Again, we're not perfect..we fuss and argue at times like any other couple...but at the end of every day...I know i'm right where I'm suppose to be...I'm suppose to be exhausted, dirty and smothered in snot, kisses and stinky diapers!!! It is just the chapter of our life right now...and it will all be over in a blink of an eye!!
So, as my hubby came in from work tonight and had the kids bring me a dozen roses to remember our 13 year dating anniversary...(Yes, 13 years ago today was OUR FIRST DATE..and my hubby remembered..I didn't!! :) I'm reminded of HOW LUCKY AND BLESSED I AM.....I wish I could freeze time and remember this stage of life forever!! Again, I know the laundry must get done...but it certainly isn't the important stuff...I pray it's those DIRT ANGELS and that SPECIAL PLATE that lasts a life time with my kids...I pray they look back and remember a HAPPY MOM that loved being with them more than anything else in this world!!!
So..that's it...that's HOW WE DO 5 Kids...by being together, being thankful, Praising God, and always remembering that Life's What We Make It!!!! Happy Monday to you all, kj