When people find out that we have a five children and I stay home with them all day, I get a variety of responses.
A relatively common one, especially when they see that our gang isn’t an out of control bunch of rowdy hooligans, is something along the lines of “You’re amazing!”
Really, truly, and sincerely. I’m not. I don’t have any mothering super powers and I’m no better than the next mom who is giving it her all.
People tell me that they couldn’t have such a large family for a variety of reasons, and I can generally relate to every single one. In fact, I would even venture to go so far as to say that I’m not really cut out for this whole large family mothering gig.
1. I’m Not Patient Enough.
I get impatient with my children like any other mother. I struggle with the length of time it takes a preschooler to find matching shoes or finish her food or use the bathroom when we’re in a rush to get out the door.
On my own, I simply do not have enough patience to deal with a house full of children. Sometimes I lose my patience in a big way, too.
But through the course of motherhood, and as more children have joined our family, God has been so faithful to grow in me a more patient heart. I still ask Him for help when my patience is wearing thin. There’s a lot of room for patience to be increased in my life!
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
2. We Don’t Have Enough Money.
It’s echoed through our culture over and over that children are so expensive. I suppose they can be, and I suppose that to the world’s standards, we don’t have enough money for the size of family we have.
Our children don’t get new clothes, we don’t run them to multiple classes and lessons through the year, they don’t get their own electronic devices, and we don’t do big vacations. We’ve made the choice to live a simpler, more frugal life that’s within our means.
Our family of seven is mainly supported by a teacher’s salary with some supplemental income from pastoring and Lilla Rose. We may not live large, but God has been so faithful to abundantly meet our needs and provide for our family when we’ve been in a season of lack.
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
3. I Don’t Have Enough Energy.
Sometimes I’m exhausted when I wake up, I’m exhausted come afternoon, and I’m exhausted by the time the crew is in bed. Motherhood can just be plain exhausting!
This was hardest in the earlier years of motherhood. I was so hung up on how much sleep that I wasn’t getting that, truly, I had made sleep an idol. I also let the lack of it steal my joy in parenting young, precious, irreplaceable souls.
Yes, I realize that sleep is vital to our health. I’m not downplaying that. But I also believe that God has grace for us during the phases of life when sleep is just harder to come by. There are always naps, right?
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
4. I Can’t Handle the Stress of So Many Children.
Any job that demands time, energy, attention, and care around the clock will cause stress. That’s certainly motherhood, and I’m not immune to it.
But would you believe me if I told you that I was much more stressed with two or three children than I am now with five? I was.
With two children, I was still unsure of myself. I didn’t have much help. I was outnumbered while caring for them.
But with five? I have help from my older children. I’ve also become much more comfortable doing things in a way that works for our family, even if that means being a bad homeschool mom and getting up later in the morning.
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
1 Peter 5:7
5. I Don’t Have Enough Time.
We all face the challenge of using our daily hours in a way that makes the most of them. Sometimes I really fail at that. I stare at my phone too much and I forget to look into the eyes of my children and experience life with them.
It can be a challenge to connect with my children as individuals during our day when I let myself become too distracted by the constant noise that’s just a screen tap away. I mean, I really don’t need to know about pop culture when I need to tend to the culture in our home.
Instead, when I unplug and look up into the loving little faces around me, I often find that there is plenty of time to show them the love they need.
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Clearly, I’m not cut out to have a large family. But as God has sent more children into our home, He’s also provided me the extra grace for it.