Hi Guys! Here’s a picture of me with all five kids this past weekend. I think now that we have five children, I feel like we are a “big” family. Not as big as some, but it’s definitely been a bit of a learning curve figuring out how to manage homeschooling with everyone’s unique learning styles.
Here are some things I’m doing that are helping me in this new season of life with a newborn and his four big sisters.
1- Many Hands Make Light Work:
It’s true what they say: many hands make light work. When I had fewer children, I tried to do it all. Now that I’m outnumbered, I let the kids help me in my day to day tasks and chores. I count it as “life skills” – and they are learning things that will help them as they grow and adventure off into the world! 🙂
Everyone has a chore or task here – even 3 year old Ellie is able to help with unloading the dishwasher and feeding the dog.
2- Baby Wearing!
I’ve been a big fan of baby wearing since my oldest daughter was a baby. It was wonderful carrying her close to me, and it helped calm her down so much. Now that I have busy days when I can’t sit and rock the baby all day long – babywearing is a must!
My favorite carriers are the Ergo, Tula, and LilleBaby. I have tried wrap carriers like Baby K’Tan but found them a little confusing for me. I always get a little envious when I see someone wearing a wrap or a sling because I wish I could surmount that learning curve – but so far, the soft structured carriers are my go-to hands-free choice.
With prior babies, I’ve loved the Tula and Ergo carriers but so far with Huck, I’ve been happiest with the LilleBaby. It breathes really well, and you can use it from birth! He’s 2 months old now and really enjoys being in the carrier.
Me last week with Huck and the girls, out for a walk:
3 – Let Them Help Entertain The Baby:
I have to say, little babies in big families get so spoiled by their siblings! It’s been so helpful for me to help the kids with their studies while other kids entertain their younger siblings. As you can see, my kids had an impromptu craft session last week and made the baby a crown for his head. He is the prince of our house, after all! 🙂
4- Encourage Independent Learning:
It’s tough to micromanage when you are outnumbered. One thing I’ve learned in parenting (and in life) is to let go and allow my kids to pursue their own interests! Here are two of my girls last week after they’d made a math board game up by themselves. When I see them playing by themselves like this, so happy and bursting with creativity, I try not to interrupt! They are forging their own paths, and that means (for me, at least) formal instruction can wait until later.
5- Take One on One Time When You Can!
I know it’s hard to escape mom guilt when you feel stretched so thin. Last week, for example, my 6 year old daughter desperately wanted me to paint dolls with her. We find thrift-store Bratz dolls, erase their faces with fingernail polish remover (acetone) – and then paint our own dolls with acrylic paints.
It’s one of my daughter’s favorite activities, and we hadn’t done it in months! Well, I finally got the baby down for his nap, and although I wanted to retreat for some much-needed alone time, I came out and painted with my daughter while the other kids were busy with their school work.
It was wonderful to have that one on one time with her, but I had to make it a priority. I’m not going to feel guilty when I can’t do it – that’s just the reality of having multiple children. But when you can make the effort to focus one-on-one with each child, it can make all the difference in your child’s mood and happiness!
One of the benefits of having a larger family is the incredible bond that siblings share. I was an only child of a single mother, so when I look at my kids and their special bond, it warms my heart! Know that this season of life may be difficult, but it is worth it. 🙂
And even if you are in a season of life when it all seems overwhelming, know that this, too, will pass. The days are long, but the years are short.
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