I love being a mom of many. It’s that simple. The funny thing is, when I try to tell someone that, they often look at me like I have a third eye. Inevitably, this question always comes up sooner rather than later:
How can you have that many children without going a little insane?
I can’t blame them. Our oldest was an only child for 5 1/2 years, and I remember what used to run through my mind whenever I saw a family with a large number of children.
I used to imagine total chaos.
I pictured a mama with bags under her eyes and spit up on her shoulder, surrounded by children jumping on the furniture and hanging from the chandeliers. The house would be a total wreck, and the noise from multiple children shrieking would be ear piercing. Supper would be burning, the toilet overflowing, and the entire house would seem as if it were going to cave in from the sheer vibration of so much activity.
So, yeah. I’ll reiterate that I can totally see why people say that to me.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Of all the things I’ve learned in my years as a mom of a mega family, the most important thing I’ve learned is this:
The importance of keeping a routine.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but it is crucial to a family of a larger than average size. Additionally, routines have to be all-encompassing. You really do have to have a plan for everything. So today I’m going to share with you…
How to Implement Routines into Your Large Family Life
I cannot emphasize the importance of having a daily routine enough. This doesn’t have to be a minute-by-minute schedule, but there does need to be a rhythm- a specific order you approach your day in so that your children know what to expect when. For example, you may want to try to keep certain things around the same time each day, such as:
- bath time
- homeschool (if you are a home educating family)
My kids know that, in our house, chores are at 1pm and 6pm. School time begins promptly at 10 am. Breakfast is at 9am, lunch at 12:30, and supper is around 5:30 (depending upon how complicated the meal is). They also are aware that bath time begins at 6:30 and bedtime is at 9pm.
It really does help to have a general flow to the day. It gives our family a sense of comfort.
I did mention chores above, however, we also do have a general routine for what we call deep cleaning- an intensive cleaning when we all work together to clean up the entire downstairs. For us, this happens every six weeks.
My kids also have set chores which are rotated on a monthly basis. Although they’re not set in stone, since sometimes I may need them more somewhere else, my kids really do like to know what is expected of them each day.
Homeschool or Before/After School
As a homeschool blogger, I can’t resist the urge to tell you how much easier it is to homeschool when you have a large family, but I do realize that not everyone is going to do it. In that respect, I will say that whether you homeschool or not, a routine is still necessary for this part of life.
As with a daily routine, it is so important to have an order to your homeschool day. An hour-by-hour schedule isn’t required. In fact, I’d advise against being too rigid, but I highly recommend that your kids have an idea of what to expect when. Perhaps a starting time, lunch time, and tentative ending time would be enough. My own children like when I write on the whiteboard what we’re doing that day so that they can cross each item out as we finish it. How you create your routine is entirely up to you, but it is so beneficial to have one in the first place.
If your children are in school, a before and after school routine is crucial. I remember all too well the mad morning rush and after-school chaos from before our homeschool days. Give your children clear expectations of what needs to be done each morning and when. Be sure to include breakfast, getting dressed, grooming, and- this is important- allow yourself some leeway for
if when things may go awry. Your after-school rhythm may consist of a snack, free time, and homework- again, it’s entirely up to you. Just be consistent.
As moms- especially moms of many- we often tend to make sure the kids have what they need- in this case, consistency- but forget about including ourselves.
This holds true here, as well.
Moms, you need a routine, too.
If we don’t set clear expectations for what we need to do and when (such as laundry- that’s a biggie for me…), they just might never get done. If a mother of 1 or 2 kids gets distracted at times, how much more will that happen if you’ve got 10 or 11 children?
I can answer that- A LOT.
Make a list of what needs to be done and how often. Then make yourself your own daily schedule. Don’t freak out if you miss things sometimes. Give yourself a break! But knowing what needs to be done and having a plan for it will make it far more likely your to-do list will be accomplished, right?
Having an extra-large family is truly one of the greatest joys of my life. Implementing a routine has enabled me to accept these 11 gifts God has given to me and to be able to say with all honesty:
No, I’m not crazy. Just blessed.