This post was written by my oldest. It covers so much of what so many of us deal with daily, I had to share! Enjoy!
I’ve had a lot of interesting comments and conversations lately and they got me thinking. Stuff like:
“Six kids? How do you do it?”
“You must be SuperMom.”
“You homeschool? I couldn’t do that.”
“All boys? Wow. You sure have your hands full!”
The most prevalent questions are a variation of how on earth I pull off what I do. So…here’s how.
I make different choices.
I have six boys, age 4 months to 9 years, and I homeschool. That’s my biggest priority. I stay home with them and don’t “work outside the home” (anyone that tells you stay at home moms don’t work hasn’t been an stay at home parent for any period of time), but that includes MLM’s. I sold Discovery Toys for a period of time. It didn’t last long. I did enough to basically get my kit for free and a few other toys, but that is completely behind me and I doubt I’ll go back. I made knitting and spinning project bags for the fiber fair last year and enjoyed it… for a time. That’s also very much behind me. I still have bags at my local knit shop and if I get a wild hair to make some in my spare time to relax, I have a place to take them, but the frenzy of “how many bags can I make for the fair in two months” is not something I want to do again at my children’s expense.
I’m home because I choose to be.
I also don’t frequent a gym, go to every social event I’m invited to, or go on vacations without them. This is my focus and my kids know it. That matters to me. Seasons in life change and I’m sure as they get older I’ll have a little more freedom, but right now my place is at home.
We do it together.
I’m teaching my kids to pitch in. Six children age nine and under is a heck of a lot easier than when we had five children that were six and under (twins had a lot to do with that). My older two especially are huge helps around the house. They volunteer to play with the baby. Everyone has chores, but theirs are getting more complicated. They’ve cooked dinner by themselves and done laundry and cleaned entire rooms. They help with yard work and gardening projects. We frequently set a timer to see how much we can get done in five minutes. Or two. Or ten. We have a dance class we have to be to fairly early once a week, but everyone helps out to get us out of the door on time. There is no way I could pull this off by myself. They’ve learned that if they help with the “have to” stuff, we have more time for “want to” stuff.
Consistency, consistency, consistency. I have to follow through with chores and school lists and assignments and finishing dinner and cleaning up after themselves and there’s a lot of reminding and sometimes nagging. If I’m not serious about their requirements, they won’t be either. If they’re not allowed to whistle in the house, then it’s never allowed and that includes me. If there are exceptions to the rules, they’ll find those loopholes and drive through them with a truck. If it’s not a battle I’m willing to fight to the death, then I try not to get into it at all. Between ASD and giftedness, rigidity is the rule around here. If it’s not a big deal, then we try not to blow it into one. I’ve learned to pick my battles carefully. Sometimes it isn’t much of a hassle, but when it is, it had better be worth that fight. For example, eating with your hands at the table isn’t acceptable, but if you’d rather stand at your place instead of sit, that’s much more negotiable. If it turns into wandering around the house with your food, it’s over, but I have one son who prefers to stand in one spot to eat. He usually doesn’t move when standing, but if he’s in a chair it tends to jiggle all over the place and he ends up on the floor. At home, it’s easier to let him stand (with rules). He also knows that isn’t acceptable if we go out to eat, so it works for us.
I’m not SuperMom. I struggle much of the time. I have crazy days and wonderful days and days where I’d like to park them in a line on the curb and rent them out for the day. I’m lonely sometimes and extremely pleased with them sometimes and ready to pull my hair out sometimes. There are days where I cherish the little milk covered face looking up at me and the three year old twining his fingers through my hair while their brothers play happily together, and days where I wonder what on earth was I thinking to have so many little bodies to take care of and teach and be responsible for.
Don’t we all though?