let's face it... having a house full of young children is not always conducive to sanity! it's always messy and loud and expensive and tiring... in order to get by, there are a few areas of parenting where we've become downright rigid. but at the end of the day...we gotta hold it together over here!
10. no kids in the parents' bedroom...ever. not during storms, not during sickness and never, EVER in our bed. i have to share a bathroom, towels and every dessert i ever eat with these little monkeys. i have to have some sanctuary! and that is our bed. it's ours. if you are sick? you can sleep on the couch (right outside our room) so i can hear you. if you have a bad dream? i'll be happy to come tuck you and in pray for you in your own bed. this ties directly into the next one...
9. children go to bed early. period. after 8p is mommy and daddy time. you are free to stay awake (quietly) in your room until 3am if you so desire but do not come downstairs. (under penalty of death... or at least grounding!) this means that no later than 7:30 should you have your chores done and your snack eaten cause your little behind is heading up to get ready for bed! goodnight! mommy loves you! see you tomorrow!!
8. a smooth evening and morning routine! kids are responsible to pack their lunches, lay out their clothes and empty their own folders each night after dinner. i am not the personal assistant. here's the deal: if my kindergartner can do it- your kid can too! it's never too early to teach self reliance and personal responsibility! and with five kids, it's a necessity. as for the morning, you get yourself dressed, brushed, combed, fed and ready to head out the door. daddy is available for hugs, kisses and reminders for mittens. you are responsible for the rest!
7. kids who don't watch tv all the time learn to play and entertain themselves! shocking, i know :) my five children (ages ranging from 1-11) will all play together! they make up plays and songs and imaginary villages and forts and worlds where polly pockets are married to little people and barbies are married to power rangers. is is sometimes easier to turn on the tv? not when your kids ages are so varied. tv is just another thing to fight about... don't try convincing theMr of this.. he won't believe you :)
6. proper manners and behavior can be taught at a very young age and should be. especially when you have a family our size. any unruly child is a distraction and irritation to people in public. five unruly children are a nightmare of epic proportions. do i expect perfection? no. do i expect them to act like adults? nope. i do, however, expect politeness, respect, appropriate voice levels and consideration. even out of the little ones. no matter how cute your baby is, the people in front of you at church do not appreciate the talking all through the service!
5. patience is a virtue and a child who doesn't interrupt is a blessing! this is a tough one to teach... especially with certain, ahem, personality types. now i have a child with ADD so i understand how challenging this one can be but it is possible. it's another one that needs to start young, as early as 18 months. the key is teaching an appropriate, non intrusive way for the child to let the parent know you need attention. and being consistent in enforcing it.
4. learning to see the humor in things. especially when the alternative is to cry. and remembering that this too shall pass!
3. having mom friends you can be totally real with. i'm talking real. as in "can you come and take this child before i shake them" real. sometimes we all need a little break...
2. date nights! (or if you are single, nights out!) the best mom is a happy, content mom. the happiest, most contented moms are those who have strong, fulfilling marriages. those types of marriages do not come from spending 24/7 with your children, having them all sleep in your bed and never shaving your legs! let's face it ladies, it's a jungle out there. keep your marriage alive by taking care of your spouse and taking care of yourself. you know i'm a fan of the sweats, that's no secret, haha. but when i'm out with theMr, i try to always look nice. one day those sweet children will be all gone and it will be in your best interest to still like your husband when that happens!
1. give yourself grace, each and every day. give your husband extra grace ( i need to work on that one :). give your kids all the grace you can summon. hug them, love them and don't treat them like the center of the universe. they'll thank you later!