I'm writing this post because I want to remember this stage of my life and what it required of me as a mother. Plenty of woman are and have been busier than this. I, personally, have not, and just wanted to write it down.
It kind of blows my mind what it takes to run this household. Feeding, clothing, cleaning up after, making appointments, driving, supporting 8 people is such huge job that I'm just floored by it sometimes.
In a typical week, to feed these people, I:
Plan a menu and a grocery list
Do a Costco, Winco and usually filler grocery store run
Make breakfast, lunch and dinner for 4-8 people every single day
Clean up after (or supervise the cleaning...sometimes harder) every meal
And the clothing of them is never done! I used to enjoy shopping for clothes for them, but that ended about 3 kids ago. Trying to remember sizes, and who's out of what, and who hates what item, and whether they're buying it or I'm buying it, whether it's modest, how long it will last is so expensive and exhausting. I'm Old Navy's favorite customer, I'm sure. And the washing! I'm going to guess 20 loads a week (but they do all of the sorting and folding so it's not too painful).
The appointments! I have pretty healthy children and we still have so many medical things: dentist, orthodontist, physical therapist, neurotherapist, well child visits, eye doctor. Many of these things take place during school, which most of them hate because it's hard for them to miss, and require driving to school, picking up the kid, driving to the appointment, driving back to school to drop off the kid and driving back home.
Which brings me to the driving: we have lots of carpools which minimize the driving but, honestly, just this week, I:
do a 6:00am carpool for zero hour high schoolers
do 1-2 soccer carpools because Jane had 3 different practices/games
do 1 high school track carpool pick up
do 2-3 kindergarten carpool pick ups
do 1 girls camp leader carpool early Sunday morning
do 1-2 middle school track/math is cool or art pick up
easily 5 extra drives to the high school (15 minutes away) to pick up or drop off E or G
I'm also attending band concerts, play performances, track meets, soccer games, parades, elementary school programs, mother daughter book clubs, art shows, school volunteer responsibilities and church meetings most weeks.
And my kids only have one sport or activity that they do at a time (besides piano, church and school!)
This can't include the talks, the fights, the scripture reading, the lessons, or the homework help. I'm afraid sometimes that's where I fall down on the job. It's hard to get the extra but oh so important mothering in. Sigh.
Then there's Levi...the 16 month old whirlwind that requires diaper changing, lots of holding, carseat-ing, stroller-ing, repairing of messed drawers/bags/cabinets/walls, napping, and playing.
I wake up almost every day by 5:15, take a nap from 1:30-2:30 (it's the only way I survive that after school craziness) and then go until about 9:30 when I start getting really grouchy with anybody that's still requiring parenting. From 9:30-11, I do a little prep for the next day and important couple/me time that includes TV, books, and conversation.
This is the thing: I mostly love it. I don't like the cleaning (not my thing) and sometimes the driving is so inefficient (though I'm starting to love the conversations that result from trapped chauffering) but, mostly, this is what I've always wanted. I've always wanted a big family, I've always wanted to be a stay at home mom. I'm blessed with a happy marriage and lifestyle that supports how I want to raise my family. This is not a complaint. It's a statement of fact and the fact is, that though I really didn't know what I was getting myself into and how much is would require of me mentally, physically, emotionally or financially, I feel so lucky that this is my job. Plus, I'm getting better at it...it's like anything: you practice doing it long enough, and you learn how to do it better. It's fun to be progressing and facing new challenges every day. There's nowhere I'd rather be.
Seth lost his shoes and had to wear Faith's too-small pair to a soccer game. He was pretty miserable. After the game, Ryan asked what he'd learned from it. Seth replied: "To have a happy attitude when things are hard?"