Swim practice, basketball practice, soccer, choir oh my! With six active children there is rarely a dull moment in my house. I can’t even begin to imagine what our lives will look like when they are all participating in some sort of extracurricular activity. You know, if I had a dollar for every time I was asked “How do you do it?” I would be a very wealthy woman. The truth is, there are days I don’t know how my husband and I do it. During the spring and fall or otherwise known as baseball and football season, we only see each other’s faces in passing. Bedtime schedules get thrown out, healthy at home dinners are the good ole’ days, and clean laundry…stiffy is iffy and if it doesn’t smell, well that’s just swell!
Another thing I hear a lot is “I could never do it!”. Oh yes, you could, if you had to. If you would have asked me 5 years ago, I wouldn’t have thought I could either. But sometimes life throws you a curve ball and you just have to do your best to hit a home run. My family is far from perfect but we try and that is what counts. Too many times I hear “You must be superwoman”. Oh no, people, there is nothing super about this woman. A little crazy, tired, emotional, yes, but super I am not! However, I am happy and I am proud of the family my husband and I have created, and because of that I want to share some of our “secrets” with you on how to manage a big family.
Write down your children’s schedules on one calendar. Lay it all out in writing. This not only helps with knowing when and where you should be next Tuesday, but it also helps if you have a grandma that is just as forgetful as you are about game times!
Plan your meals out for the week. This little trick helps tremendously! Before I started consistently doing this I wasted so much time staring into a half empty pantry trying to decide what to have for dinner, only to realize I didn’t have the right ingredients anyway! This usually resulted in ordering pizza. Not only did planning out my meals in advance help to save time it also helped save money, and honestly we feel so much better eating home cooked meals. Even if it is hot dogs and macaroni and cheese.
Match those socks right out of the dryer!! This is probably the hardest one! I give myself so much grief over throwing all the socks in a basket or 4, and walking away! I waste 10 to 15 minutes a day searching for matching socks for everybody. This is one I am going to start working on and I encourage you do to the same. Take the extra couple minutes to match the socks and put them away as soon as they are dry. You will be surprised how much extra time you will find in the morning by doing this simple task.
Create a network of friends and family that can and are willing to help. Let’s face it, there are times when we just simply cannot be there, and just because we chose to have kids does not mean we have to do it all alone. Especially when there are multiple children in the family. It is okay to let family and friends help out with rides to and from practices and other things. We were lucky enough to live in the same town as our family for the first 10 years of our marriage and they were all a great help! When we moved a couple hours away, everyone (including myself) was worried at how we would manage to possibly get six kids to six different activities. Luckily for us we have a gap between the big 3 and the little 3, so we only have 3 different activities for the kids to manage at this time. We have also been lucky to find a very supportive, awesome network of friends in our new home town. They are great at helping us get our kids where they need to be. It is so important to have a network of trusted people, whether it be family by blood or family by choice.