Adjusting to a new normal

After every pregnancy it is like there is a reset button that someone presses.  No matter how disciplined my kids are, no matter how strict our schedule is, and no matter how consistent we are with our daily lives- everything turns to chaos for several months!

Month one is the worse!  It is the month where I have to rest and have no choice about it.  This means no school and minimum chores!  The kids take advantage of the no school in the mornings and think they can replace that with TV instead, and then they each throw their version of a tantrum when I make them turn it off and at least do their chores that day!  Then they lose out on TV because of their attitudes, along with tablet time, and are forced to go outside and play!  (gasp!!!)  They fight over every little thing!  She touched me, She said I had a stinky butt, she made a face at me, she moved two spots to the left, she isn’t doing HER chores, she she she she she…..  it is EXHAUSTING to the point where I just give up disciplining and tell them to go to their room and there is peace for at least 10 minutes!

Month 2 after baby, well it is still hard but you start to see the light at the end of the tunnel!  I am feeling more active, I am able to get back to my daily duties as mom and housewife.  I am anxious to get so much done that it gets a little frustrating having to stop and feed the baby every 2 hours when I am ALMOST FINISHED!  But- once I sit down and look at that sweet face, I am thankful for the break!  The kids are doing better at their chores, the TV only comes on about once a week (trying to test me).  I still have to make a sweep of the house when they come in and tell me “I’m finished with my chores, can I go outside and play?  or Can I play on a tablet?” because they are not doing them correctly still!  I have to send them back many times over and over again to pick up the trash under the couch, or remove the underwear and socks they stuffed into the bookcase.  The bickering has settled a little, but not as much as I would like, and we are starting up some new routines and learning what needs to happen to get our home and life back in order and have peace!

Peace has been my ultimate goal for a year!   I felt like last year we really found it about a month before the baby came, but then like I said- everything went into reset mode and we had to start all over.

It used to be, my solution for this amount of chaos was stricter rules, more discipline!  But recently I realized that is not what my girls are needing in this season.  We still have the same rules, same discipline, but my older girls are entering into the pre-teen years and are really needing their mommy right now.  They are both struggling with the changes they are going through and are very sad and emotional that they are starting to grow up!  My 6 year old 5  year old are struggling with having to give more effort with chores around the house, my 4 year old finally is almost completely potty trained after two years of constant struggle, my 2 and 1 year old just wants to snuggle, and well my newborn- snuggle and eat!  Everyone just needs mommy!!  So- what do you do when you have 8 children and only one mommy?  That is what I’ve been asking the Lord for a while!!  And here is what I have been learning:

  1. Having a clean house helps there to not be so much chaos but being so strict and hard on yourself to have everything looking perfect all the time- makes mommy stressed, grumpy, and very unhappy!  While it results in a beautiful home, and impresses people when they come over that I can keep a clean home while raising 8 children- it is not beneficial to any of us!  I’ve realized that just keeping things picked up off the floor, dishes, and laundry always going, kids chores done, and me doing one extra chore each day- my home will not stay the way I prefer but it will be clean enough to live comfortably without the chaos; I will be happier and so will my kids.

2. Facebook is evil!  When I think about my life before social media I was much happier!  Everyday there is something in my news feed that causes me to be scared of the world we live in, compare myself to other moms, have low self esteem, feel like I’m doing this mom thing completely wrong, second guess my life choices, feel like I have no friends, feel like I have a ton of friends, feel degraded, disrespected, praised, feel like a supermom, feel like a crappy mom, have anxiety, and then by the end of the week it just makes me feel depressed!  Talk about a roller-coaster!   Yet- as a stay at home mom, it is my outlet, my connection with the world, my only way of talking to another adult during a day filled with children.

3. If someone comes over to my house and notices there is something that needs cleaned, repaired, scrubbed, washed down, bleached, organized, put away and they make me feel like a failure because I haven’t gotten to that thing yet- then they aren’t truly there to see ME!  I have got to realize myself that it is OK for me to not have my home in complete pristine shape- it really just isn’t realistic in my situation right now and I am coming to terms with that slowly!  I am someone who is very priorities driven and if that thing that is noticed is not done- it isn’t a top priority!

4. My kids need the Lord.  Don’t get me wrong, they go to church, they LOVE GOD so much!!  They want to please God in all they do!   They have been begging me to get baptized recently (which I need to make a priority soon).  We learn about God during homeschooling, and church, but they really need a deeper relationship with the Lord so that they can begin to become refined.  The Lord has really put on my heart recently that I need to take each child every morning individually, before they start their day, hold them in my lap and pray with them. This I feel needs to be a new TOP priority!

5. During the afternoon each day- instead of freaking out because chores are not done or school work isn’t finished.  We will take a break and play a board game together for 30-45 minutes and then when we are finished, I will send them back to complete their chores and work.  Some days have been so chaotic with me constantly being on top of them to finish up, pick up, and clean up, that we stopped having fun around here!

6. That bring me to my last one!  Find happiness in the midst of chaos.  Let go of things that don’t matter and enjoy my life.  Instead of getting upset that they are playing in the dirt outside and are a mess and that means a later bedtime because of baths- I’m going to just be thankful they are playing together outside and happy they are having fun!  Instead of getting upset that instead of watering the garden they sprayed all their sisters with the hose and now everyone has to change clothes and that is more laundry- I’m going to be happy that they were being playful with their sisters and not fighting!  I am determined to be happy in the mist of chaos because with 8 children under 10 some days that is all you can do!