When someone does something outside the norm, we are all at least a little curious. I have a friend, for instance, who breastfed her son, who is adopted. I was truly amazed at the whole process! And I was curious, asking lots and lots of questions. She was always willing and even excited to answer. It was what became normal to her, but to me, it wasn’t the norm, and I wanted know the how and the why.
All that to say, I get it. We are not a “normal” family, so we draw attention. I know that people are really (usually) just curious about how we make it all work day in and day out. Therefore, I’m willing to be open, and honestly answer your questions about large family living. This post is part 2 of the Large Family Living Series that started last week. Be sure to check out Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Large Family Living, Part 1.
Onward to the next 7 questions…
#9 Are you trying to be like the Duggars?
**None of my sweet Facebook friends asked this question, but I have been asked this. Seriously.
Typically I just laugh, although the snarky side of me wants to throw a “What you talkin’ bout Willis?”
I’m almost 40; no way am I catching up with Michelle!
On a serious note: this isn’t a competition. We’re not collecting babies, and we aren’t trying to catch up or beat anyone. We are simply following the leading of the Lord in our lives.
#10 How do you do pizza night?
Friday nights are typically our pizza night. Almost every Friday night, we all eat pizza together in the living room while watching a movie–usually on Netflix but lately, we are in love with Redbox! (I’m wondering why it took me so long to get with the program!) We throw out our “pizza” blanket and enjoy our relaxed evening!
On occasion we order Dominos, using our handy dandy slice the price card. That card has saved us so much money and sanity. Really. However, even with the discount cart, ordering out pizza every weekend can add up very quickly.
Therefore, I usually make homemade pizza on Friday night. I’ve tried many pizza dough recipes, but this is my favorite. However, I don’t follow the sauce recipe because I’m kinda lazy. Instead, I buy Kroger’s roasted red tomatoes spaghetti sauce and use only about a ⅓ of the jar for two extra large pizzas. We top with mozzarella, pepperoni, and sauteed peppers and onions.
The time is coming very soon that I’m going to have to make a 3rd extra large pizza!
#11 How do you do get them all bathed?
If you know me, you know that I don’t believe that kids need baths every night, but my kids don’t go do public school. If they did, I’m sure I’d see it differently! 😉
But when we do baths, the little girls bathe together and the little boys bathe together. They typically bathe themselves, though sometimes it requires a “mama (or daddy) once-over.” Hair washing is a different story: I let them do it when we don’t have anywhere to go, but we make sure it’s scrubbed really good before church on Sunday.
Of course the two year old and the teenagers have different routines. Chris or I always bathe JBear, and the big kids…well, they are on their own!
#12 How do you plan your days?
While I like to have order to our day, I don’t plan every time block. Honestly, I’ve tried scheduling our days into 30 minute to 1 hour blocks, but it really stressed me out trying to juggle everything and move on to the next then at the right time.
What we do instead is have a routine that we follow most every morning. When our mornings start later, they still function in the same way, and I don’t feel like I’ve “lost” time blocks. Rather, they are just shifted a bit.
Let’s just assume that all of these times are “ish” times, okay?
- 6:30 – I get up and have coffee and time with Jesus
- 7:30 – 9:00 Kids get up, breakfast, morning chores
- 9:00 – Start school (we aim for 9, but it’s often closer to 9:30 because we have animals to feed, too.)
- 9:00-11:45 – School
- 12:00 – Lunch, cleanup, play time
- 1:00 – Rest time for little ones (bigs and middles finish school) until around 3.
- 3:00 – Free time
- Now that it’s beautiful weather, we are pretty laid back until 5:30 or 6 when I start supper. We eat much later in the spring just because we all love being outside. Summer is different because it’s so hot. We eat a little earlier and play more after supper.
- 7:30 – Bedtime for little people is around 8, though it’s supposed to be 7:30 — it’s hard to get them to bed and unwound when it’s still so bright out.
- 8:30 – Bedtime for middles
- 9:45 – 10:00 – Bedtime for bigs
- 11:00 – Bedtime for Mama!
(I do my blog work during rest time, afternoon free time sometimes, and some evenings.)
#13 How do you actually cook for all those people?
You know, it’s funny. You kind of just grow into it. Yes, over the years I have had to resort to larger pots and pans. Just recently I retired my old skillet and bought a nice large one. For the first time last week, I cooked grits in my 5 quart pot rather than my 2 quart! That’s a lot of grits, ya’ll!
Recently, I was blessed with an amazing 12 quart stock pot! That thing is ginormous, and I LOVE it!
True, I have to double and sometimes triple recipes, but I still have little people, and they don’t typically eat a whole lot at once. I’m sure once I have multiple teenagers at the dinner table, I’m going to have to endure another learning curve.
Someone also asked how long it takes to cook a good home cooked meal. I’ve never actually timed it, but I’d say 30-45 minutes. I don’t typically buy too much packaged food, and almost never ready made dinners. For me, it’s easier to cook simple recipes with simple ingredients and veggies as sides. Not too long ago, I shared my 6 favorite go-to meals, and I almost always have the ingredients for these meals on hand.
#14 How do you keep up with each child’s schedule?
For school, I plan for six weeks at a time. We have six weeks on, one week off; it’s called Sabbath schooling. (I first heard about Sabbath schooling in the book Teaching From Rest.) Therefore, I have a master copy of what everyone should be doing every day of each week, and I print a copy for them each week so that they stay on track and know what’s coming for the week. It takes a lot of work up front, but it makes the weeks much easier.
Grading is another story! While it’s easy for me to check the middles’ and littles’ work right away (I’m right at the dining table with them), grading the bigs’ work is a challenge for me. There are some subjects that are computer programs and are self grading. I have them self grade some things, and I grade some things. Even Daddy gets to get in on the fun of grading, especially when it comes to science labs. Yuck!
As far as extracurricular activities, we have a calendar on our refrigerator that has all appointments and horse shows, ballgames and church functions written on it. I suppose it would be our “central command center” though very basic and not at all exciting!
There are times when something is overlooked and we have to scramble to make it work, but overall, this works well for us. I have to admit, though, our kids don’t do a whole lot of extracurricular stuff. The three oldest kind of have their “things” they love, and we do accommodate those, but we are not typically running kids here and there very often.
#15 Do you ever wish you had time all by yourself with no one needing your attention? If so, how do you NOT feel guilty about it?
Yes! Sometimes you are just mama-ed and touched out. You just are. And you need time alone even if it’s a quiet evening on the porch or a night completely away. I confess that while I’ve dreamed of nights away, that has never actually happened! Honestly, I think if I could get past the guilt, I’d be a better mom for it, and so would you!
We all need to take care of ourselves, not in a selfish way, but in a way to take time to seek the Lord and recharge from the demands from the everyday. As moms, we punish ourselves far more than anyone else does. We expect far more from ourselves than anyone else. We talk about showing grace and realizing we can’t do it all, but we forget that the same grace covers us!
Be Encouraged Today!
Let’s end with that today, Mamas! Show yourself grace. You are doing a fantastic job whether you are mama to one treasure or 15! You really are, so don’t let the enemy whisper the lies that you aren’t. Remember: don’t listen to yourself; instead, speak the truth to yourself! God’s grace is sufficient for all of us. His grace is all we need. You are loved, and you are important!