Parenting

A few kind words can have a huge impact – spread the love!

Being a mom of five kids spaced over six years I’m used to my share of comments. Most people simply look on with a slight bit of shock as we pass but many will ask us about the kids. We get asked if the little guys are twins (yes), how many are boys vs. girls (4 vs. 1), told that our hands are full (duh), and so many other quips and notes. Occasionally we get a comment that makes us wonder if the person’s mama ever taught them manners or the whole “if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all” mantra. 

5 things I’ve learned from having 5 kids

I never planned on having a “big” family. Micah and I are both the oldest of three and we agreed that three is a great number. I said three or four kids when we did our pre-marital counseling and because I really like even numbers so I didn’t want to ignore the idea of a fourth kid. Micah said he would consider four but nothing higher (and then God laughed). 

After Mercedes arrived I was immediately on board for number four… as in she popped out and I announced she was a girl and then I asked when I could do that again. I really liked labor and delivery with her! We knew we wanted to keep the kids close in age and we liked the age distance between Parker and Jamison (17 months) so we decided to shoot for that again. 

We started trying when Mercedes was about six months old but it took us until after her first birthday to see those two pink lines. Obviously we are now super grateful for that spacing since at our eight week appointment we saw not one, but two little beans bopping around. Twins! And thus we became a family of five. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would have five kids but now I know it was the surprise I didn’t know I needed. 

These might not be mind blowing revelations but they are the lessons that have been important for me as a mom and for raising these five little humans that are spaced a mere six years apart. They are the lessons I need to remember when the chaos is building and I feel like I can’t handle being a mom. That while this is happening it will also pass, there is more than just the loud and the crazy. 

Thank you to my Momma-Tribes

A tribe: a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect (yay for dictionaries!). 

In my mind, moms need a tribe. Mothering isn’t meant to be done alone. Women need to come along side another, share stories, share hurts, share triumphs. They need to lift each other up in times of need and cheer each other on in times of success. Mothering can be so isolating but by finding a tribe we learn that we aren’t alone and that being together and learning from each other can be the most empowering part of parenting. 

I want to say a huge thank you to my momma-tribe. Tribes, actually, I’ve been blessed enough to have four. I know that the support of these women is turning me into a significantly better mother than I could have been without them, so holla! And thanks. 

The easiest art project I ever threw together

Imagine yourself trying to finish up the breakfast dishes and get a few other items prepped for the rest of the day. You’ve got noodles on the stove, a sink full of soapy water, and a cast iron pan drying in the oven. Then the kids start yelling at each other. Again. In the last ten minutes you’ve broken up at least six fights. He’s sitting on her cushion. This one wants the Duplo that the other one has been stacking for a good twenty minutes. She’s tired of getting stinky boy feet stuck in her face. You don’t want to yell but inside you feel yourself screaming. The house needs a change of pace but you don’t have anything ready. What do you do?

This is exactly where I found myself last week. I don’t know what had gotten in to them but they were extra touchy about everything the others did. There were rarely any behaviors that were truly meant to cause hurt feelings but everyone seemed on edge. I knew something needed to pull them out of their funk so I searched the kitchen and found this:

8 tips for having a successful morning (even with young kids)

Now that the school year is winding down I’m pretty proud of the morning routine we’ve established. It took a few hiccups and some trial and error during the beginning of the school year to make sure things fell into place but we seem to have found a routine that works for us. 

I really believe the key to a successful morning begins the night before. In fact, ours starts as early as the afternoon before!

1. Pack lunches the day before (the kids can probably do this!)

Once the big boys get home from school they unpack their lunch bags and repack them almost immediately. They are in charge of their own lunches and have been all year. As a kindergartner and first grader we saw no reason why they shouldn’t be making their own simple lunches. We have a basket in the pantry filled with snacks they are allowed to take (fruit snacks, granola bars, crackers, etc), a basket on the counter filled with fruit, often there are cheese sticks and yogurt tubes in the fridge, and sandwich supplies are always available. They know how to layer some ham and cheese on bread and put it in bags, Then they grab two healthy choices and one treat, throw them in their lunch bags, and put the bags in the fridge. Done. One less thing to think about in the morning. 

2. Set up any clothes/diapers/bags/etc.

Three of our kids pick out their own clothes but the little boys obviously don’t. Plus we use cloth diapers. I try and have any outfits needed, and their diapers set up, before I put them down for the night. This way I’m not trying to assemble a diaper while a kid is on the changing table or trying to decide what to dress them in when I need to be loading them into the car.

This also includes backpacks, shoes, sweatshirts, diaper bags, what have you. We have hooks for the backpacks down by the boys’ room and each kid has a cube cubby in the closet by the front door for sweatshirts and shoes. There are many that find homes elsewhere but it’s slowly clicking that the cubes are where those items belong. If it’s not there it’s a good chance to remind the child where things belong and why they have a home.