Monday, October 21, 2013
I have six kids and I'm sticky.
I have six kids.
I have some advice about that, did you have a comment about six kids pop up in your mind? If so, lets get that out of the way. For the record: YES I KNOW WHAT CAUSES THAT.
My husband and I wanted a big family. Now we have one. I can guarantee I don't have more patience, skills, or sanity than you. Here are some tips about how I manage a household of eight:
1. Lowered expectations.
This one is sort of self explanatory, but just in case you are a self proclaimed perfectionist let me introduce you to this: Life is not perfect. If you add children especially many children to that equation there will be a high ratio of non perfect moments in the mix. That is ok. There is beauty to be found even on the days where there is too much yelling and crying and everything in your house is sticky. Learn to laugh and practice it often. Laugh at yourself and make sure to do it in front of the kids. Let them see you get frustrated and let them see you get over it.
2. Get over any hang-ups you have about poop.
All moms, but especially moms to many deal in the currency of poop. You have to breastfeed enough, buy groceries enough, prepare said groceries enough so that everyone makes some poop. Then you have to change the diapers, run the toddler to the toilet, assure them they won't fall in, make sure everyone is wiping, and teach the older ones how to clean a toilet before they are one day parents themselves dealing in the currency of poop. Skip the gagging. It just adds time and you have better things to do.
Always clean with one goal in mind. Get rid of 50% of the items in any given room. Don't worry. Somehow no matter what you do - the stuff will return in one form or another. Socks? Give up. Get a GIANT basket throw the socks in and let everyone fend for themselves. They aren't helping enough anyway. Dishes. Everything must be dishwasher safe, if its not, you didn't want it to own it. Trust me. Resist the urge to put sticky children in the dishwasher, though they are top rack safe, they don't fit. Clothes. Sort? who has time for that, like dishes if it requires sorting you didn't want to own it anyway. Ironing? Oh you're killing me, that's a funny one. Safe cleaners? Water, Vinegar, and Elbow Grease in that order take care of most things and all three are safe enough for the kids to drink. They will get to all secured spots they aren't supposed to get to. This is physics 101.
Treat them like criminals that you love dearly. With six, your eyes can't be on every single one at all times, so lock the front door or the two year old will be in the front yard naked in about five minutes no matter the season. In the parking lot everyone must have a hand on the car or grocery cart at ALL TIMES - no exception. If they are very young I recommend tying them to you. I would suggest this under the term babywearing, see? criminals I tell ya. In places where they can roam free the rule is this: They have to see mom from wherever they are. Don't say "stay where I can see you" that is absolutely meaningless to them because as far as they are concerned you can hover in midair. If they must see you it makes it a little more sense to them.
5. Wax paper sheets.
Finally some real advice. Buy, at a warehouse store of your choice, food service wax paper sheets in the box. (hangs head I know they are disposable) but they are less bulky than paper plates and are biodegradable They are perfect for snacks, sandwiches, crafts, bottom of the microwave, lining veggie drawers, and cutting down on the general stickiness of your house. When you are doing dishes for eight people you'd be amazed at the ways you can rock the wax paper sheet.
6. Embrace it all.
Smile and say "I love you" a bunch. When you have a big family, there is always someone to talk to, someone to cuddle with, someone to come home to, and something sticky in your life.