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The Real Answer to, “How do you do it?!” (From a Mom of 10 Kids)
I get a lot of questions and comments from strangers when I’m out in public with my large family. Among them are, “Wow, you’ve got your hands full!”, “Are they all yours?”, and “Don’t you know what causes that?” I usually just smile and say, “Yes, we’ve been blessed!”
… Well, actually, when someone asks if I know what causes that, I generally give a perplexed look and say, “Well, we thought it was in the water, but we moved to a different county and I just still keep having them!”
For real, y’all. If a stranger is gonna get sassy about my bedroom habits, I’m gonna get sassy right back.
But on occasion, someone will count up my kids and with a shocked look ask, “How do you do it?!” This is a difficult question to answer, especially because in that moment, I usually don’t feel like I’m actually doing anything but surviving. These kind of questions almost always seem to happen while I’m just trying to keep my two toddlers from climbing out of a stroller or grocery cart, seperate my 6 and 7 year old boys from their recent wrestling match, and answer the 600th question of the day about what our next meal is.
Seriously, having multiple children hasn’t given me any super powers. I’m just like every other mother who loves her kids and is doing the best she can. I just do what I have to do because it has to be done.
And just to prove it, and to keep it real for all you mamas who think you’re the only one that can’t manage to ‘get it all done’, I’ve put together a list of things I do (and don’t do) when it comes to managing my large brood.
How I do it:
A healthy dose of prayer, sarcasm, and diet coke. Obviously prayer is the most important one here, but sarcasm and diet coke are a close follow, ladies. I’ve always been inspired by the story of Susanna Wesley, mother of 10 including well-known evangelists John and Charles Wesley, who would simply flip her apron over her head in the midst of her chaotic (and often desperate) day to get a few moments of privacy to pray. There is One who has never failed to meet my every need. Prayer is my direct line to Him.
If you don’t like sarcasm, then I suggest you don’t wield it because my kids picked it up quickly! But I learned it from my dad and personally, I appreciate sarcasm and wit and as long as it’s tasteful, it’ll make me laugh all day. By the way, please don’t email me about the evils of diet coke. I know. But I don’t like coffee and I have plans to kick the habit one day…next month…probably.
I do workout, take long walks, long baths, and have lots of Mama friends. Basically what I’m saying is that I take breaks. Quite a few of them. Probably more than I should. I invest in my health and my sanity and I don’t make apologies for it.
I do delegate. My husband does practically all the cooking and grocery shopping (willingly!) I hired a 20-something girl to help me with homeschooling two days a week. And my kids all have chores.
I do care about safety and clutter-free, but not impeccably clean…a little dirt is good for the immune system!
I do snuggle and tell them, “I love you with my whole heart” every day. These babes are mine, and I’m so glad. I want every single one of them and I want each one to know that they are cherished and desired.
How I don’t do it:
I don’t match socks. We have one sock basket in the laundry room. When someone needs a pair, they search through to find one that is approximately the right size. IF we wear socks, they never match (myself included). I don’t even care.
I don’t mend clothes or toys. Hole in it or broken? Throw it out! Heck, if there’s a stain on it or the batteries are dead, throw it out! And don’t get up arms, we are environmentally conscience. We buy practically everything used. We give away anything we don’t need that still has life in it. It’s just that I don’t have time to make stuff work that isn’t working anymore. Stuff isn’t that important to me.
I don’t referee sibling arguments. When you’re grown, I won’t be there to help you work out your every spat with your boss or your spouse… this is your opportunity to learn how to appropriately work through conflict.
I don’t make my own bread or laundry detergent. I don’t raise chickens or cloth diaper. I know a lot of amazing moms who do, but not me.
I don’t have it all together. Ever.
And I’m really sorry about this one… Really, I am… But I also don’t arrive on time.
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