Here it is– off the cuff and unrehearsed 🙂 — this is the good, the bad, the ugly of what life is like for me as a (home educating) mom of seven boisterous kids. (They’re, currently, 13 & under.)
FULL OF NOISE, CONVERSATION, AND LAUGHTER
- This morning during homeschooling, the 2 year old and the 7-month-old were belly laughing over the noise a game-timer makes (If you haven’t heard the one for 5-Second-Rule, it does sound pretty silly).
- There are always conversations going on… and that can be wonderful, and hard. Wonderful, in that people are learning, growing, laughing, building relationships, asking good questions, sharing funny jokes. And hard, in that there are interruptions to the homeschool lessons, interruptions to your train of thought, and words being spoken all day long. (Ever heard the “spoons” analogy?— I think there’s probably some truth in that analogy for large family moms in terms of how much more listening time we have left in us. Especially for those of us who homeschool and are with our brood all day, it dwindles significantly by the hour.)
- The last few years, I’ve come to the conclusion that I often operate as an introvert. In fact, given reactions over card games this last year at church camp, people who see the extroverted side of me appear quite surprised by it, because my normal interactions are (apparently) so mellow and reserved. Even my previous moments of solitude– like cooking, while the kids entertained themselves or listened to an audiobook– are now, often, accompanied by people, which means more talking happening at a time that used to be reserved for mental sorting and settling.
FULL OF ZESTY & VARIED LEARNING
There is always something being learned by someone, which is wonderful.
- Someone’s learning the violin…
- the baby is walking around furniture now, occasionally letting go… (or, as in the picture above, figuring out how to escape from his playtime barricade)
- someone else is learning how to whistle…
- one kid is learning to read basic letter sounds (aaaa, aaaaaaa, aaaaaaa)
- while another is learning more complex words (what is this word, mom, kah-now? … oh… why is it “no” if there’s a k at the front and a w on the end?),
- two boys are working together to master the same riff (an octave apart) on the guitar and the ukulele
- the toddler just mastered jumping with both feet,
- the oldest is learning how to structure a logical argument for debate
- someone is mastering flips on the trampoline
- while the big boys are trying to figure out how to use the new thrift store unicycle
It’s a joy to see so many different stages all at once, and see the amazing breadth of the human experience and how God has made us. This is a treasured part of my vantage point as mom.
EVERYTHING’S BIGGER IN TEXAS, AND IN A LARGE FAMILY
Having a larger-than-average family means a larger-than-average everything else, except (usually) a budget and house.
- More laundry,
- Learning to cook bigger portions
- More cleaning (because there are more messes),
- More items on the schedule,
- More splinters & ER trips,
- More diapers to change,
- More haircuts,
- Learning to make the budget work with more people living on the same amount of $$$
- Learning to drive a bigger vehicle
- Learning to be content with what you have when you (most likely) give up on having a cute vehicle
- When one person gets a stomach virus, look out! It can be 10 days or more to get back to any semblance of normal.
- More use of furniture... and appliances… and faucets… and dining chairs… which means, in our experience at least, that these things need replacing much more often than a family of 4 that leaves the house every day between 8am & 4pm. We’re in our house for twice as long, and there are twice as many of us. So yeah… we replace things more quickly.
- If a party seems sad and like no one has come, when our family shows up, it’s like the party has started, and the birthday child is happy and suddenly surrounded by friends. 🙂
- There’s more housework, yes… but as they get older, there are more hands to help, and being involved in the household economy gives them opportunities to learn life skills.
- There’s a trickle-down effect that I didn’t really anticipate before a few years ago– there is a great BENEFIT in disciplining the oldest children well, because their baseline “norm” for kindness, respectfulness, and fun attitude toward one another passes down in many ways to the younger ones.
- BUT BE CAREFUL! Because not everything trickles down. You can forget to pass on basic instructions that you were SOOOOO purposeful about to the older ones (i.e., your personal clothing choice rules; why we don’t say “butt,” why we look away and focus on other things when we see someone in too little clothing).
One thing I love about having a big family is that it puts a lot of things in perspective.
There are some things that our culture touts as good or acceptable, that become obviously nonsensical, when you consider if/how it would fit with a larger-than-average brood.
- Long-winding, scripted interactions in order to correct and discipline a child become absurd if you multiply them by 5, or more, children (each needing correction, guidance, and discipline throughout the day).
- Being a short-order cook, where each child has a list of items they won’t eat, is a non-starter.
- 3-5 activities per child, per year, is also– nonsense… that many commitments are simply impossible when you have more than 1-2 children.
- Carrying out KonMari style decluttering and minimalism isn’t quite as crystal-clear as you’d like for it to be, when you have multiple children who may or may not (at some future time) use a pair of shoes, item of clothing, or set of toys.
This is a random conglomeration, but it’s the daily minutiae of life that make up life, today, for this mom of 7.
9 thoughts on “What Life Is Like for This Mom of 7”
We’re going on baby #5 in March, mow homeschooling our oldest who’s grade 1, and much of this resonates with our family. …and it’s good to know what else to anticipate as our family grows in age and number. 🙂
Just a comment for those who are still in the trenches with lots of littles—there will come a day when you can make a trip to Target by yourself. The olders will be capable of babysitting for a short time. And then will come the day when you can have a weekly date night and not need to pay for a sitter (or make dinner for the home team on date night). A little later, and you will have teens who can drive.
I agree with lots of your thoughts here, Jess. I consider myself an extrovert, but I have found a much bigger need for space and quiet as the size of my family has grown. Our furniture and appliances show the effects of our family size too.
Thanks for the encouragement! I can’t yet imagine walking away for an evening.
I have 5 and our house is loud over here too, but fun too…Lots of memories made, but challenges along the way when you homeschool. I am still extroverted and when I get around people I tend to talk more…learning to listen.?
We are in a different season of life. My youngest is six. We have five children: three home educated, one at university and one working. We also have my husband’s elderly, frail mother living with us.
We find that, like you, the wear and tear on furnishings is great and the amount of food we eat is ever increasing! We also have large numbers of people coming and going, partly, to do with the care of Grandma but partly, just because we are a larger family.
We have built in baby sitters and granny sitters. I am very grateful for this particularly, as getting sitters for the elderly is much more difficult than for the young.
I can’t remember when I was last bored!
The down side is that I do end up being a short order cook. It isn’t possible to expect an older person to eat things they dislike but cooking can be challenging as they dislike many family staples: pasta, pizza and rice, for example. This also tends to have a knock on effect on younger members of the family.
Overall, there are many advantages to being a large three generation family. Caring is easier when shared and the older generation appreciate having the grandchildren around.
I like being reminded that I’m not crazy for needing/wanting a little solitude now and then.
My favorite things you mentioned were:
Long-winding, scripted interactions in order to correct and discipline a child become absurd if you multiply them by 5, or more, children (each needing correction, guidance, and discipline throughout the day).
the trickle down effect but also realizing that its easy to depend on that too much and your younger children have some gaps.
Thanks for sharing all this. It makes my life feel less like I’m the only one that deals with these things.
“I like being reminded that I’m not crazy”… and “Thanks for sharing all this. It makes my life feel less like I’m the only one that deals with these things.” This is pretty much exactly what I feel when I see you dealing with similar challenges of life in your vlogs. 🙂
Glad we can each encourage the other that we’re not crazy, or that if we are, we all know why.
Hey! I just read the Konmari book 🙂 I’m doing it and I’ve already started with my oldest two (9 and 5.) Since we homeschool as well, I don’t have to tell you about the books… They did the clothes easy enough. I wanted to hold onto more than they did. I’ll store a few more pricey things (coats.) But I can get away with about 7-10 outfits, plus a couple Sunday’s Best. Try out the method on the kids and see how they go? Keeping a home is a skill and discarding and not having more than you need is a skill we pray they can learn young, not at 33 like me 😀 They got rid of more than half their books… it’s worth a shot!