Saturday, December 18, 2010

Whew!

Okay, so having 6 kids is A LOT harder than having 5. Or maybe I got spoiled because there was a bigger-than-usual gap between the last two babies, Becky and Anna, and Becky was starting to get really easy to handle. Or maybe I'm just not 20 anymore, as I have been told recently. :)

In spite of my husband and mother-in-law helping me pretty much around the clock since Anna's birth, in spite of the fact that she is an "easy baby", and in spite of mountains of disposable dishes, I still feel stretched to my limits, and then some. But then, seems like that is how I have felt with the addition of every one of the other kids, too. 

The main thing I find hard to deal with, other than the increased workload, is the NOISE LEVEL. Our boys have two volumes: "off", and "loud", and the only time they are "off" is when they are sleeping. They also only know to close doors by slamming them. The girls are not much quieter. 

The other hard thing is the mental energy that I spend just trying to juggle the needs and cares of all the individual kids. My mind is now being pulled in yet one more direction. It really feels like a circus act.

Anyway, I'll post more soon, once I find a bit of a groove. Sorry, no pictures either tonight, too tired for that.

26 comments:

  1. Just wanted to say you'll be in my prayers, and I hope you're feeling better soon. I'm assuming the midwives did check the placenta after you were born and everything was good (ie, it was intact), but you may want to double-check with them. The tiredness and bleeding with all that have me a little worried, so please take care and do see a doctor if you feel feverish or still different than normal after tomorrow. Your little ones need a healthy mama, especially now with a newborn.

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  2. I had 6 children. They were more spaced than yours are- we let the Lord plan them- and I was exhausted after giving birth to my 6th baby(my babies were born when I was 18-38). You must nap and eat right-as you know. We had 4 sons-I heard somewhere the concept of indoor voices and outdoor voices. My children were older and we had a small house at the time-3 bedroom/1 bath. In our Baptist church people speak quieter in the sanctuary than the rest of the church. I would remind my children-"Use your indoor voice". Just an idea I thought I would share.

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  3. I SOOOO know how you feel!!!! I think the newborn stage is the hardest stage of all. Your hormones are crazy, exhaustion,physical weakness, and other demanding crazy little ones running every direction!!!! Sometimes I wonder if I will survive!!! :) It will pass and we will look back and laugh!!! Take care and go for a drive with Anna. It feels so nice!!! I do that sometimes and stop and a drive through and get like a soy chai or sandwitch and just listen to hymns and drive!!!! Maybe I am weird but it is a nice "outing" without getting out!!! Ha!! Cant wait to see more pics!!! Rest!!

    Love
    Jessica

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  4. After the first 6 to 8 weeks you will adjust and then you will start to forget that you ever had less than six kids. You are an amazing mom! You can do it!!!

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  5. It'll get easier as you find a 'new normal!' But then you probably already know that...

    Praying for you!

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  6. I'm sure this will become a new normal for you soon and you will be an even more incredible mom for it.
    So just wondering do you all still fit in one minivan or what do you drive?

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  7. drink water and--if you are bleeding more than you did before-then you are on your feet to much!! That was one of the first things I learned while attending classes to assist midwives. Its time to SIT down!!

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  8. Congratulations! Just take a day at a time and rest all you can. By February you will be right back in the swing of things. If you haven't already - this is a great time to start the "buddy" system - have an older assigned to a younger to take care of some of the daily stuff. Scan some of the large family sites for suggestions. Things like how to manage clothing and meals may give some useful suggestions.
    Blessings,
    Patti

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  9. Fourkid, She had the kids, why do what the Duggars do an assign an older kid to raise the younger kids? Doesn't make much sense. She's the mom, she needs to raise the kids.

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  10. I'm glad that you are trying to get as much rest as possible Zsuzsanna! You seem like such a great mother to six children already!

    I can totally relate to the 'off or loud' comment about boys! And we only have one boy at this stage!

    I have very much enjoyed reading your blog of late. Enjoy every moment of your newborn. Wishing you and your family well this festive season, all the way from Ireland!

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  11. Oh, Zsuzsanna- I know just where you're at. Oddly enough, I felt the change from 2 kids to 3 was the biggest adjustment...it seemed like some kind of geometrical change (2 parents, 2 kids...3 parents...oops, what to do with the third kid!!). I don't mean to minimize the shift to 6..that's a big one!
    You all remain in our prayers.
    Deb & family

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  12. Raine,

    yes, they did check the placenta, and said it looked very healthy.

    Taryn,

    I also have heard of the concept of indoor and outdoor voices, just how to get that into my boys I have yet to figure out. I hate nagging them every time they open their mouth, reminding them to quiet down. Having a preacher for their Dad isn't helping the issue, either.

    Katy-Anne,

    I must say, I really am taking exception to your comment. I for one think the buddy system is a great idea, and something that large families have used throughout history. I was already thinking about assigning "official" buddies before fourkid made the suggestion.

    Helping a younger sibling get dressed, brush their teeth, practice reading with, teach them how to make their bed, etc. is not raising them. It is bearing the burden of the family chores, according to one's abilities. No, mom can't just keep increasing her workload while everyone else isn't. Besides, if kids are not kept busy, they will just get into stuff, creating more work. Giving them chores and responsibilities teaches them future life skills, and keeps them busy and out of trouble.

    The dynamic in large homeschool families is very different from those who choose to use public education, which will "babysit" their children for much of the day. Close ties between family members are a must for us, since we live together 24/7, and none of us are perfect. Helping younger siblings fosters that closeness.

    I helped a lot with both my younger siblings, and never resented that. In fact, when I was pregnant with our oldest, I was glad for all the "training" I had had, and never worried that I would not know how to care for our own baby.

    The stab at Mrs. Duggar is very unkind. I am guessing that you have never once met her (neither have I), so for you to pass judgment on her parenting based on what TV shows us of her is ridiculous. From all I have seen, she has done a tremendous job of raising and parenting her children, but I am not trying to pattern my life after her because again, I only know what TLC wants us to know. But I'm guessing that God must approve of her parenting, since He keeps blessing her with more kids.

    If the older kids are, in fact, "raising" the younger, they sure must have been taught how to do so very well, since all the kids appear happy and well-behaved.

    All this goes back to two common misconceptions in our society: work is bad, and things have to be "fair". Helping others and working hard is a blessing, and kids should be taught that from a young age. And no, things don't have to be "fair". If child X works more than child Y, the world is not treating them wrong.

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  13. I think the buddy system sounds great. Children of large families in all cultures had such responsibilities, but in todays world childhood has become a holy cow everyone is dancing around. I think Mary was around 13/14 when she got Jesus, jewish boys became men after their bar mitzvah, i. e. at around 12/13 ys, and while I am not suggesting to follow these examples, I just want to say that childhood and adolescence have become artificial, sterile and idealized concepts in the rich, industrialized countries.

    Teenagers are actually an invention by clever marketing experts. And it is no coincidence, that boys in their late teens are responsible for most crimes. Just look at the criminal statistics. That is what happens to do- nothings. The cure against it is to give them something to do.

    I also think that mothers who only have 1.8 children can not really contribute with experience here. Not that I want to judge your personal family planning, but I think large families are at a completely different league when it comes to workload and family dynamics. Only if you grew up at a farm perhaps you will know from first hand experience, that every helping hand counts for the survival of the family.

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  14. I have seen their show and read the Duggars book. I don't mind buddying how you are describing it, and I actually admire a lot about Mrs Duggar. But from what I have seen that if I remember rightly is in the book, the older kids are always buddied up with the younger kid. They have to help feed them, home school them, make sure their chores are done. All things MOM should be doing. Helping a younger kid get dressed or take a bath is far different to having your older kids raise the younger by having to be with them ALL the time like it appears the Duggars have set up.

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  15. I hope you get some rest and adjust quickly to all the extra work. I do not know how you do it!

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  16. I wasn't trying to start an argument - just offer some tips I have seen, heard, or used. While I only have 4 children, I am in contact with numerous large families through our homeschool program (ATI - the same one the Duggars use btw). I have met and talked with Michelle Duggar, and a number of the other Duggar family members. The older children do not "raise" the younger - they all work on the same team. They also are not with the younger child all the time. The book and the show only touch the tip of the iceberg of family dynamics, and are a fairly one dimensional look at a three-dimensional family.

    Biblicaly and historically - the mom manages them home - there are many ways to accomplish that. The mom does not have to be hands on for every task.

    As for the boys being less noisy in the home - if the reminders are becoming nagging, and the instructions are falling on deaf ears - then it is time to regroup and restrategize. Nagging is never effective. And children ignoring instruction is developing negative character traits. A new plan needs to be utilized - make it a matter of prayer and ask the Lord for the creativity you need to bring the noise level under control. Many children in a home will be noisier than an average family - but it should never be beyond what the mom feels is acceptable.
    Hugs,
    Patti

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  17. I've been thinking about larger families for quite some time now.

    I like the idea of God's control over number of children BUT what I don't like seeing (or reading about) is the STRESS levels of larger families.

    Mum is busy with her children day in day out, being a good helpmeet, keeping up to date with housework etc, homeschooling older ones, running after younger ones and often pregnant or breastfeeding too.

    Dad works LONG hours or even 2-3 jobs to support his growing family. He is not very 'hands on' as he is hardly ever home. He comes home to everthing done for him and then his wife is expected to meet all of his needs - emotional, sexual etc etc

    This info comes direct from the blogs I read not something I have made up I want to add.

    I understand God can meet all our needs etc and I'm not saying the large families I have read about are unhappy BUT they are pushed to the limit and I wouldn't want to live like that and I'm really not sure God wants them to live under constant tiredness and pressure too??

    I'm just not sure I like what I see.....

    Jill (from Australia)

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  18. Jill,

    everybody deals with "stress", whether that is at work, or in their personal lives. I may be stretched to my limits dealing with children, but on the other hand I never have to worry about making ends meet financially, or wondering if/when my spouse will leave me.

    Just because something is the right thing to do, does not mean it is easy. In fact, the things that are worth the most are usually the ones we have to work hardest for.

    Every day will not be a great day, but thankfully, every day will also not be terrible. This blog tries to show a glimpse of "the good, the bad, and the ugly days", otherwise known as reality.

    As for large families, I am sure that there are strains (i.e. finances, time, etc.) that smaller families may never feel. But then, we get to enjoy many things that smaller families miss out on, such as lots of other kids to play with, little ones to make us laugh, etc. Ultimately, I believe that God's way is best, and that the greatest blessings are reserved for those who trust Him, including in the area of family size.

    I disagree with your observation that Dads in large families are not "hands on". On the contrary, if they did not love having children, they would do as many other husbands/fathers/Christians do and practice birth control, which is widely accepted and promoted among Christians. Only a Dad who cherished his family would be willing to make the sacrifices necessary to support a life of always welcoming children. It is selfishness in one form or another that makes people not want to have more kids.

    And why should he come home and not find everything done for him? I always find it so funny that husbands today are expected to work, as well as to help at home. But if a woman who works outside the home is still expected to also do the housework and raise the kids, that is considered sexist and wrong.

    I would be willing to bet that any homeschooled child gets more individual attention from his/her parents than any child in public school.

    Also, I don't know if you have any children, but I'm pretty sure that anyone who just had a baby a week and a half ago feels tired, exhausted, and overwhelmed at times. That's life. I don't always have a newborn.

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  19. Hi Jill, I can see where you are coming from and I have often felt the same when I read blogs about people with many children. But when I look at my own situation, single and fulltime working, I am stressed out a lot, too. I leave the house at 8.15 and come back at 18.30 most of the time. When I get home, I am exhausted, but still have to cook for myself, clean, do the laundry, go shopping etc. I have no family support whatsoever and need to make all decisions on my own, without emotional support and then there is the fear of what could happen if I get ill (nobodys there to look after me or call for help, i have been in that situation several times with flu, lung infection etc. A friend of mine had swine flu, lived on her own and suffered terribly for 1 week because she could hardly get up to get a glass of water and was in delirium all the time.)

    I think having a big family is difficult especially in the first years when all of the children are still young, but they will grow, become more independent and also helping hands.

    As with all situations in life, whether single or in a big family, there are difficulties, but as believers we can say that God is in control and will help us. He promised that. And he shows himself best in situations that are beyond your strength.

    I know a Christian woman who raised 9 kids on her own because her husband left her. She made it somehow and is still happy.

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  20. Thanks for your comments Zsuzsanna.
    I do have children so I understand and sympathise with the newborn tiredness etc, I wasn't focussing on that, simply voicing my thoughts about larger families.

    I hear what you say about fathers liking children and so being open to having many, but the blogs I have read, state that the husband works from before dawn til well after the childrens bedtime and often weekends too. These dads are not hands on because they are not home. I would not like to be in this situation at all.

    I agree that if a women's role is purely as a homemaker that her husband should not be expected to work when he gets home. I would like to think that he would want to lend a helping hand where he can though!

    I also think the financial pressure that husbands carry alone is a very heavy burden to carry. My hubby and I share all areas of our financial burden/decision and I think that's much healthier.

    Thanks again for your comments,

    Jill

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  21. I hope you find some resting time. You're doing a great job!

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  22. Zsuzsanna - What do you think of women who don't want the life that you lead? I'm honestly not saying this to be inflammatory - I'm new to your blog and am just interested. You seem pretty open to discussing your lifestyle, so I thought I'd ask. For example, I have 3 children. I am a mother first and foremost, but I also work outside the home. I like my job a lot, though it, of course, pales in comparison to the love I have for my husband and children. Maybe it would be better for my children in some ways if I were to stay home full time, but I am honestly not well-suited for that role. So many of the aspects of housekeeping (as opposed to child-keeping) just bore me to tears. I would not want to be cooking and cleaning all day long, even if it meant I could be with my children. (I'm not saying this is all you do - of course not! - but it's obviously a part of being a SAHM.) I feel like I am a better mother when I have some time to myself and adult interaction. And I think I CAN "have it all," if by "all," we mean being able to afford somebody to clean my toilets and do my laundry so that when I come home, I can focus like a laserbeam on my family. And, if by "all," we mean getting paid well to do something I am good at (as opposed to housekeeping, which I am not) and still maintaining a close and influential role in my children's lives. Anyway, I could go on forever. I guess I can anticipate your answer in a way, but I just really can't understand why people believe that ALL women should want the same things in life. Some just don't...But I do find what you do admirable and impressive - maybe you're just much more capable than I am![Side note: You're just a "little" bit busy right now, so I understand if you can't respond right now...]

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  23. I don't have a big family but I am a classroom teacher and as a result have to deal with similar issues relating to noise. One thing I have found that works in a classroom is having a 'noise monitor' who is in charge of the noise level. If the noise gets to much either he or she goes and has a chat to the person responsible and *usually* it helps get that person back on track. It's also handy because it saves you from dealing with a group of noisy children. Most of the time I just say 'who's is the noise monitor this week?' and they mostly jump into line.
    Most of the time kids get noisy because they are off-task or bored. Could you have a box of 'quiet time activities'? It's really easy to set up, a tissue box works well. Your boys are definitely old enough to do this. Get each child to write down 5 quiet things to do on 5 strips of paper and pop them in the box. And, you put in one activity that is: think of 5 more things, do one of them and write the others down and add to the box. Then, when it gets too noisy direct them to the box.
    You can make them as complex or as easy as you want eg read a book, write a play, put all the American states into alphabetical order, each number of the alphabet is worth a cent amount: a=1c, b=2c, c=3c etc Work out the value of your name. One day of the week is worth exactly $1. What is it? Can you find some more $1 words?
    That last activity can go for ages LOL eg whose name in the family is worth the most? the least? put them in order of highest to lowest amount

    I hope some of these ideas help you. Remember: you are doing a good job and it does take 6 - 8 weeks for a new groove to be established :D

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  24. Hi Rebecca
    Thanks for your perspective too.
    I appreciate some thoughts from a completely different family dynamic. I guess we all have our different stesses and joys no matter what our family situation is.
    Jill

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  25. In the Bible boys become men at 20-and eligible to go to war- Exodus 30:14,Numbers 1:45,Numbers 14:29,etc. I don't know if the Bar Mitzvah is a Talmud book teaching. Mary's age is debatable. Matthew 13:55,56(KJV) says she had 4 sons besides Jesus and at least 2 daughters-"sisters" is plural. The word-teenager-wasn't in the dictionary until the fifties. In Mary Pride's book- The Big Book of Home Learning-Volume 3- there is an essay(p.535-540) called, The Myth of the Teenager.

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  26. I must add that Luke 2:7(KJV) says that Jesus was Mary's firstborn son. I read somewhere that Jewish law didn't allow a girl to be betrothed until she had menstruated. Jewish "traditions"/the Talmud are discussed in Matthew 15(KJV) and Mark 7(KJV). When I was in my teens I had friends that didn't menstruate until 15 and 16. We know that the modern diet MAY cause this age to be earlier-hormones in food,soy,etc.

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