Monday, June 14, 2010

How Do I "Do Life" With 5 Young Kids??

So, this MUST be my TOP asked question of ALL TIMES....What Are Your Secrets To Raising 5 Young Children????? Well here goes:

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

32 comments:

  1. Love it and I love your family! The pictures are adorable.

    I too have a very hands on husband and that makes a world of difference in being a parent and a wife. It's all about team work :)
    Blessings,
    Amy

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  2. Kristi,
    You are an inspiration to this "old" mom of 9 who has been parenting for 28 yrs. I hope some younger moms are reading your blog and gleaning wisdom from your words. Thank-you for sharing your heart!

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  3. I love your attitude and perspective on parenthood. And it's so wonderful that you and your husband that have found something that works for you. As my family is beginning, I hope I can take some of your laid back attitude. :)

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  4. I love it. I love your philosophy on family. You make it work for you. I have two little ones and panick all by myself in a large pool. One always goes under and i am just not going to do it alone anymore. I cant imgine five. Pools are scarry with tiny ones. And you are right on about cleaning. I drive myself nuts with two boys and a perfectinistic attitude about housework. With our little girl on the way i need to let go and enjoy these days. Good advise!

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  5. That was so beautiful!! Thank you for letting us see into your life!

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  6. I just have to meet you someday! You are so awesome! Great post :) michele

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  7. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful perspective. :) Loved reading it and feel encouraged. :)
    ~Gini

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  8. Rock on, Kristi!!! God is good!! I pray he continues to bless you in every way!! Jennifer
    www.oursweetleap.blogspot.com

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  9. this post made me smile and made me so thankful for you!!! love how laid back you and your hubby are! The Young's just love that family of yours!!!

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  10. u are truly an inspiration to me :)

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  11. Love this post, I thik we are in the same boat. We will surely have to hang out someday!

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  12. Loved hearing what works for you. It is always encouraging to read how others do life and I think it is wonderful that ya'll spend so much time together as a family....what a wonderful foundation.

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  13. Thank you for the encouragement through your sharing. I am 48 hubby is 59 and we are raising our 5 yr old grandson. I think you helped me with this post to not feel so inadequate when it comes to the housework (what a blessing you have a man that helps with that). One thing we are doing different this time around is not feeling like our child has to be entertained w/ costly activities....when he's been dragged around w/ too many errands he'll "ask when can we go home".
    I love reading your blog!

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  15. A piece of great wisdom. I'm thankful you wrote it and I read it!

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  16. Beautiful post Kristi! I have chills reading about how "connected" you are with your hubby and kids. It's like a GOOD romance novel and it's real life!
    Inspired to love my husband and kids WELL,
    Kristin
    www.thisisagreatadventure.blogspot.com

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  17. Love it, love it!! You sound so much like the family I grew up in....I am so thankful my parents passed their thankfulness for us 5 kids and their positive attitude on to me! If I ever come to a day where ALL the laundry is clean and put away and the house is quiet and clean, I hope I realized I have totally missed it!
    You are so right....ATTITUDE directs SO much of our days!
    OK, this is none of my nosey business...but with LL's 1st Gottcha Day....I'm thinking another paper chase may be in your near future?!?!?!?

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  18. Love this! Am totally with you with the pool anxiety thing. We fixed it by making all non-swimmers wear a life jacket anytime we are near a pool. Even if we were just hanging at someone's house with a pool. I still paid attention, but didn't have to worry that a split second would end in disaster.

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  19. "It works" indeed.
    You are an inspiration to us all!
    Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,
    Kim

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  20. This post was so refreshing!! I put so much pressure on myself sometimes because I can't keep up with the housework, etc. but you've inspired me to focus more on the memories, because you are so right about this time being over before you know it! Thanks for sharing what works for your family!

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  21. So beautiful..thanks for sharing..let me know if you know of any other men like the one you have!!

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  22. Kristi, THANKS so much for sharing this and from your heart! I can truly see how much you and your husband love your children! I found many ideas for our future family as I read your post! I LOVE the "special plate" idea!

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  23. Wow, it's so good to read about someone else who makes some of the same parenting choices we do. I have lots of excuses as to why we don't parent like our sisters and friends: regular babysitters for date nights and couples only vacations, cleaning or mowing service, etc. When it comes right down to it though, we just don't know how to parent our kids any other way. We get our alone time and couple time after the kids are in bed. A date night (unless the grandparents are visiting) is eating dinner together after the kids are in bed and playing cards or watching a movies. I've also never been good at deep cleaning and feel like I'm constantly going just doing the laundry and dishwasher loading and unloading. Without my husband doing lots of cleaning, the house would be truly terrible. So the house is always a little dirty but it's more important to me that we have a homecooked dinner together every night and I'm there for all my kids' milestones and antics. Oddly, we often are questioned about how we can keep our marriage strong without lots of kid free time since we don't use sitters, but I usually feel we're more in tune with each other than the couple questioning us who has regular vacations and dates.

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  24. And...once again your inspire me. You have inspired me from the day I found your blog, which was way over a year ago. Going through our journeys to our babies, and now to see how you really do life. I know one time you told me drink lots of diet coke. I do that as well :-). Layed back? well...I have to get better at that one, I do worry about the house getting cleaned etc..probebly way too much. I also want my kids to know and remember me as the fun mom, not the clean freek mom. LOL. Thank you for being true to who you are, not ever fake, not ever foney, ..you are true, and I love that about you and your family! Thanks my friend! You again inspire me to be better...to be more laid back.
    tina

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  25. WOW!! I am amazed and inspired! Such good advice! Love that you said you have to "choose" to be happy and patient and calm with your kids...I need to learn to "choose" that more and more everyday!! Love hearing what all works for your family...and I love the "special plate"...we may have to start that at our house!

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  26. Happy 1 year home LL!!! Looks like you all had fun. I totally agree- some people don't give themselves enough credit. I think many could have more children- just do it. Past 2-3 children it really gets easier- really! I mean by that time you have some that are a little older and can do more things on their own etc. So yep- we have a few dates a year. We homeschool, and do EVERYTHING ELSE together!!!!! LOVE IT!!!! Wouldn't want it any other way- EVER!

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  27. That was a great blog! I'm expecting my first, of hopefully many bio and adopted children, so this blog was very inspiring to me. "Don't sweat the small stuff" rang in my ears since I tend to be a clean freak around our house and my hubby...well...not so much! haha. So I'm praying that I'll just enjoy every moment with my children, not sweating the small things, and making memories that will last a lifetime!

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  28. This is one of the BEST blog entries I have ever read! I love it and whole-heartedly agree. We are much like you all and happy to say so.

    One snot stained mom to another. CHEERS!

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  29. Kristi,

    I found your blog through the Bice's, and tears are running down my face because of what God is doing through you and your sweet family. I have an adopted brother and sister, as well as two biological sisters, and I know how much of a toll it takes on a family, especially the parents. Thank you for your commitment to serving our Lord and answering what He has called you to do. We are praying for you guys!

    Melanie Swinson

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  30. Interesting perspective! You really believe in it and you and your husband are on the same page- that's huge. Good for you. I agree with you on some and not so much on the others, but I appreciate how you preface your choices with "it works for us", realizing that there aren't always better or worse choices, just sometimes different. Your confident, articulate and have a lovely family. Blessings.

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  31. I love this :) I believe the more time you spend with your family, the more they're a priority...then the more you want to be with them. I think moms sometimes forget God throughout their day to day lives. If you pray and stop and thank God for sibling rivalry, smudgy fingerprints, kisses, and hugs, then it puts it all in perspective. They are wonderful gifts!! Moms do need to stop leaning on themselves and lean on Him...we can't do it all and do it well without God guiding us!

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Thank you for your kind words!!