When you have seven kids, you can’t spend a day in public without hearing, “I don’t know how you do it! I can’t even handle my one!” Every time, the theme song to Frozen starts blaring in your mind, and you say, “When you have a lot of kids, you start to let things go.”
Warning: This will leave you with a smile, knowing you aren’t alone or dialing up the obstetrician to schedule a tube-tie.
Kids Are Climbing Everywhere
Encouraging self-reliance is the name of the game when you have a large family. Climbing up the pantry shelves, onto the counters, and even sometimes the refrigerator is a necessity for little people trying to eat high up things. (Okay, so they wouldn’t have to get all the way on the fridge, but hey, the cereal is already put away once they are done eating.) And no, keeping everything low is not an option. It is better for a medium-sized kid to climb for an applesauce cup than to find the tiniest family member surrounded by 12 cups with teeth marks puncturing the top of each one. Food waste is one thing that gets more irritating with the more mouths you have to feed.
Brown Things on the Carpet
Dropping everything to clean up every mess immediately is not a feasible plan when messes are being made at the light-speed rate seven kids can make them. You might make a mental note (but don’t freak out) about cleaning up that poop spot as you walk by it. You automatically assume that anything brown is poop. You’ve been down the road of picking up what you thought was a milk dud…and that won’t be happening again. Occasionally, you get a cheap thrill by discovering it is actually just smashed brownie a week later when you finally check it out. That’s what passes for excitement now.
Weird Items in Bizarre Places
A fork covered in Monday night’s spaghetti sitting on the side of your bathtub? On Friday? You don’t care or wonder about how this happened. You are just glad to have found a fork because there are never enough forks! A urine-covered pool ball in the potty-chair? WooHoo! She got some pee in there for once!
Kids eventually start to walk, talk, and use the toilet. You have finally learned that cutting their own hair at some point is equally inevitable. A few years ago, one of them accomplished the mother-of-all self-haircuts that cannot be beaten, so a few snips here and there pale in comparison. Plus, now that the hair has grown back, your hysterical thirty-minute bawling session seems like it was a bit much.
‘Art’ Projects on the Walls and Furniture
This is one area where spacey big kids and artistic little kids are a bad combo, and there is just nothing you can do about it. You have to focus on nagging about leaving out knives and not sweat the markers. You’ve decided to keep the full handprint on the wall made with a large rainbow stamp pad. It’s adorable. Also, scraping white-out off the cupboard doors for awhile is a great consequence for an arguing child that can be used over and over since it will take hours upon hours to get it all off. The sharpie on the walls can be touched up with a little paint during spring cleaning. When there are a few holes in the walls, cleaning the marker off of them has a minimal effect on your home’s overall appearance anyway.
Reaching Milestones Behind Schedule
If a first or second child doesn’t walk until 20 months, it is worrisome and guilt-inducing. Okay, you completely flip out and research all the worst possible reasons for it. With a seventh child, it’s just a nice break from chasing a toddler for a little while longer. Being able to see a vast array of developmental differences and varied abilities makes you realize they all have their own personal schedule that you have little influence over.
Hearing Blood-Curdling Screams From Another Room
Your mind is subconsciously conditioned to identify and ignore ‘my sibling really angered me’ cries, so the sound no longer creates an immediate, biologic fear-response as it used to when you had to make a concerted effort not to overreact when your first child cried. Plus, you have taught the kids to holler, “Blood, blood!” rather than, “Mom, mom!” when necessary, so you will find out soon enough if things are serious.
Crystal Foose is the mother of seven children ranging in age from teens to a toddler, living out in the middle of nowhere, USA. She aims to hone the craft of giving advice without pretending to have this whole mom thing figured out over on her blog at SoSoMom.com. She is also a Christian, but not the really nice kind who is good at it. Make sure you follow her on Facebook.