Thursday, March 7, 2013

How do you do it?

The one question I am asked by woman, more than anything else is... "How do you do it?" (The one question men ask more than anything else is... "What do you drive with all those kids?" -- so for the men out there... we drive a suburban with an extra seat... it seats 11.)

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I may be a little embarrassed to admit this... but one show I love is Celebrity Wife Swap. Kate Gosselin was on this show last week, swapping lives with Hugh Hefner's ex Kendra Wilkinson.

Let's just say that Kendra was a little overwhelmed with Kate's everyday life, as mother to eight children.

Even though I think Kate has some personal work to do in her life and her focus may be a little skewed, I totally understand how she runs her home. I run mine much the same way, and with seven or eight children, I don't know how you could run it any other way.

My day to day life is very scheduled. Do not throw anything in as a surprise, because it will not go well with me and I might just have a little breakdown. Every thing we do is written down in my calendar, or I will forget. And sometimes I forget anyway, because if I don't check my calendar many times throughout the day, things will likely be forgotten. I plan my meals every weekend for each night and these meals have to be healthy, easy and usually thrown into a crockpot so that as our family members trickle in throughout the evening, the food is always warm and waiting. My kids all have their own special jobs to do around the house. The dishwasher, cleaning their rooms, setting the table, putting their own dirty dishes away, cleaning up after themselves, sweeping the floor, etc. And some little extra's here and there, practicing guitar and violin, practicing Tae Kwon Do, doing homework. This is a constant battle. But one battle they won't win, because I cannot do it all. by. myself.

I do laundry every day. If I let one day go by, I have twice as much laundry the next day, which is eighteen sets of clothes, pj's, towels, bedding, etc. If I let my house fall apart, it just makes it that much more difficult to catch up. I am lucky enough to have a maid service come in bi-weekly to clean my house. I can usually keep up with the little day to day stuff, but the deep cleaning... not so much.

So I understand Kate and her rigid schedule and the amount of jobs that she makes her kids do. Unlike Kate, I hope that we also have balance in our lives. That my kids get to go out and play, hang out with their friends, do the things they love... and I do to, because we all help each other.

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I love my down time, where I can read, blog, take pictures, etc. When all my kids are at school, I relish the absolute peace and quiet that I get for a couple of hours a week. If I don't get that time, I will find it somewhere. Even if that means skipping out on some things that other people might not always agree with (church, care group, etc.). I know what I can handle and what I can't, I have no problem saying NO.

And I work out. I should work out more and would like to work out more (even though I HATE it), but it keeps me energized and healthy. It is rare that I get sick, at least, so sick that I can't function. If this Mama gets sick, everything can fall apart in my house and that can become completely overwhelming. For everyone.

Everyone makes choices. We chose to have seven children, we also choose to limit the amount of activities they are involved with. I know parents who have two children, those children are in so many activities the parents are constantly running them around. It is a choice. I am lucky to have a husband who helps out big time when he can. He is also very energetic and is involved in a lot of the same activities as our boys... biking/skateboarding and Tae Kwon Do.

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Like anyone having children, you work your way into this lifestyle, child by child and it just becomes the norm. You find what works for you and your family.

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I am constantly asked by everyone, "How do you do it?" This is how.

6 comments:

Marie said...

I literally chuckled when I read the title! I had a dentist app't yesterday and was asked the same thing...and I only have 4 kids! I didn't bother to tell him we have another one on the way! :)
Your day to day life sounds similar to mine, although I do like the occassional surprises and love to be spontaneous. I find them to be a challenge and the occassional surprise?spontanaity just gives me energy. Weird, I know! I think big families are the greatest. Our kids have to learn to work, share, and care for others. I'm not sure I would teach them all those things if I only had 1 or 2 kids.
I love my calendar as well, and love that you forget even the things you've written down...I do the same thing!
Also like that you found a way to accomodate your family without going the way of a full size van...makes my hubby less fearful of a large family! lol!

the meaklims said...

Your Suburban seats 11? Hmm... from my calculation... that's 2 extra seats!! Haha! Of course, I'm just kidding.

I think you're amazing. I would not have the sanity to have that many kiddos, and I actually feel bad about that. But I'm a type a personality - to the point where I vaccum my house every single day, do my laundry every single day (even though it's only for 4) and every single toy/keys/etc has it's place in the storage and organization of our home.

I work REALLY hard to let go and for my girls to have their freedom in playing and messing up... and then they clean up every night, before bed.

And my Lilah also has jobs... she makes her own bed, sets the table at supper time, puts the laundry into the washing machine. I feel strongly that every child should have responsibilities. Phebe is joining in now too, because she follows Lilah's lead.

And even though I only have two kiddos, I only let them have one extra activity each season, I usually give Lilah two or three options. I want my kids, especially as young as my two, to have plenty of downtime and time to play and just be kids... without the rush of life.

Again, I think you are amazing.
Jill

Jessica said...

you are an amazing mom....thanks for sharing how you do it!!!! P.S. I was wondering about the vehicle as well :)

Denise said...

I love that Tim is as involved with the crazy boy stuff as the boys are. What a great way to connect with them and stay in touch! You do a great job keeping everything afloat.

Monica said...

LOL, I think it's hilarious that men always ask what you drive!

You are an amazing woman, Paige! I honestly don't know where you do find any down time for yourself but I'm relieved that you do!

What you said about choices really resonates with me. You are so right about that! It is important to tailor your life to your choices so that life is as enjoyable and non-chaotic as possible!

And holy moly, your organizational skills must be top-notch!

Patrick and Christina said...

Amazing, organized Mom-extrodinaire!

I love that you drive a suburban and still need a jumpseat! My large family drove one too...at 16 I took my driver's test is that big ol' vehicle! It still makes me laugh...it's so big!

I love that you make choices that work for you and the family. Personal sanity and family balance are important for everyone no matter how big or small our families are. Glad you have found a balance...makes me hopeful we might someday find one too! :)