I am naturally a very unorganized person and generally thrive in chaos. However, when it came to getting 4 kids out the door in the morning for school on time, finding homework, and whose socks went on what feet, something had to give. We went through and organized EVERYTHING!! And, even created a loose schedule for each day. Now, I am labeled and color coded up the wazoo (just don't look at my work desk). Within a few hours life was already easier. Everyone knew where everything was (as long as it got put away correctly), everyone knew what to do, and life just got so much easier.
In the past, I tried to do everything myself. I didn't want my kids to have to do chores. I wanted them to be kids and enjoy their childhood. But, eventually, I just couldn't keep up with everything, especially working full time. I was so overwhelmed, but then my husband basically told me that the kids needed to start helping. The light turned on and the kids started helping around the house. Huge change! Now, if you live here, you contribute. It's amazing how fast 5 loads of laundry get folded with 6 people helping.
Have Snacks at Hand
No matter what you're doing or where you're going, someone will always be hungry, which leads to grumpy! At home it's a battle because someone always wants food or needs a drink. So, I got a plastic tote that I just dump snacks into. Now, the kids can ask and then go get a snack. When we go on long drives, we pack up an ice chest with sandwiches and snacks, and even trips to the store I have granola bars stuffed in my purse.
You go through a lot of food when raising a large family. It can be hard to make sure you have enough food to last through the week. Meal planning comes in very handy for this. You will know exactly how much of what you need. And, be sure to stock up and buy in bulk. By doing so, I've not only made dinner time easier, but cut back on our grocery bill by only getting what we need. Of course, coupons are a life saver too.
There is a huge down side to raising a large family. There just aren't enough hours in the day. It can be so hard to find the time to spend alone with each child. Even 30 minutes a day doesn't sound like much, but when you multiply that by 4, that's 2 hours. I don't know about you, but I don't have an extra 2 hours in my day. So, instead I find little moments to spend time with each child. For example, my daughter loves watching me get ready in the mornings. So, we sit and girl chat while I do my make up. My youngest son is an early bird. So, we snuggle for a little bit in the mornings before the others get up. You have to seize the little moments and make them count.
Don't Forget Your Spouse
With a large family you get caught up in the day-to-day activities. At the end of the day, you're ready to crash. It's easy to let distance slip between you and your spouse. Both of you are busy with the kids, work, the house, and everything else, it's easy to unintentionally forget your spouse. You have to put in effort to spend time together and remember to stop for a second for a quick hug or "how was your day." I know you're supposed to go on date nights, but in our house, that's not a reality. So, we have date nights at home. After the kids are in bed on Friday nights, it's mommy and daddy time. Even if it's just watching a movie, the time matters. We spend so much time being mommy and daddy, it's easy to forget you're husband and wife.
Remembering the Most Important Person
We do so much every day for our families. They are our heart and our world. But, in the mix of it all, we forget about the most important person...YOU! You need to remember that you are more than just a mother and wife. You are a person who has interests, passions, and love that extends beyond your home. Find time to do things that you love. Do something for yourself, even if it is just a hair cut or bubble bath. Remember, you're an amazing person with unmatched superpowers raising a large family. You deserve a minute to yourself and to be happy.
I could go on and on with tips to help you raise a large family, but this pretty much boils it down to the necessities.
What are your best tips for raising a large family?
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