One of the most common questions I have been asked over the years is: ” How do you handle it with EIGHT kids? I only have two, and it’s all I can do to keep my sanity!”
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I have heard comments like that more times than I can count! People are just SHOCKED that I have eight children, and homeschooled them as well.
I always reply to their comments with “It wasn’t always easy, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world!”
Yes, raising and teaching children is a tremendous challenge and responsibility. It takes time, patience, discipline, and the willingness to sacrifice. But it is also the most rewarding task ever.
Some days the noise and confusion got to me, and I felt like I was going to go insane. However, at the end of the day when I looked back, I realized how blessed I was to be part of such a wonderful, crazy family!
I don’t claim to be an expert in parenting or homeschooling, but the Lord has taught me a few things over the years of parenting and homeschooling our kids – and I’ve learned a few things the hard way too!
So to answer the question, “How do you handle it with eight kids?!”, I’m going to share some suggestions that helped me.
1. Prepare your heart each day for your children.
It’s so important to have the right approach and attitude. If you start your day dreading what is about to come, you’re off to a bad start.
I know there were days when I prayed that God would show me how to love that difficult child, and He enabled me to greet him/her warmly in the morning, rather than thinking “Ugh. Why are you up already?!”
I tried to prepare myself mentally by acknowledging that there would probably be some attitudes to deal with, or fighting and arguing. There would more than likely be messes to clean up, and lots of questions to answer.
I asked God in advance to give me the wisdom I needed, as well as the patience and love I needed for each child that day.
I asked Him to help me to respond right. I don’t want to be short and snappy in my replies, or “bothered” by their requests. I wanted them to see God’s love and joy shining through me.
My goal was to set an example that would cause them to love the Lord more. It starts in my heart, and I learned that I needed to prepare my heart by seeking God in prayer, and through His Word.
2. Put your children and their needs first. (Not before your husband though!)
Parenting requires sacrifice.
It means you have to be willing to put down that book you really want to read, and spend time with the kids. You may not be able to stay on the computer as long as you’d like, and read all those wonderful blogs, or check in on Facebook & Pinterest.
Many of the things that I enjoyed doing were put on hold, or pushed aside for awhile. I knew I only had so many years to spend with my kids , and reminded myself that those other things could wait.
The joy of watching the little ones learn, or the smiles on their faces when I agreed to read to them or play with them was SO worth the “sacrifice”.
Sacrifice also may mean going without some of those “extras” that two income families have. My husband and I talked about this, and decided we would rather do without some things so I could stay home to teach, train, and enjoy the children.
Not everyone can do that, and I’m very glad I had that privilege!
3. Schedule your time so you won’t be continually stressed.
Sometimes I got so caught up in trying to clean, prepare the school lessons, cook the meals, etc. that I had no time to stop and just enjoy the children.
Often I ended up fatigued, irritable, and not much fun to be around.
I remember one of the times when I was feeling stressed with all the things I had to do, as well as the things I felt that I was neglecting.
I sat down and made a list of priorities that needed to be in my daily schedule. It didn’t seem as overwhelming to me when I broke it down, and yet I was able to cover the important areas each day.
Even if I wasn’t able to give the kids as much time as I wanted to, it was better than days of allowing the busyness to keep me from spending time with them.
I encourage you to list your priorities, then schedule them. You don’t want to stay so busy working that you don’t take time to enjoy the process.
Kids grow up too fast, and those days will be over. Enjoy the time you have with them, whether it’s teaching time, working together, or playing together. (See a previous post with the song Please Take Time.)
4. Remember that parenting is a stewardship that you will answer to God for.
Those precious children actually belong to God, and you only have them for about 18 years to prepare them to be what God wants them to be.
No one else can do what you can for your children as their mother. You must remember that, and not neglect the responsibility.
You also can’t try to do it on you own. You MUST seek God for wisdom and strength!
Each child is so different, and has different needs, so it’s vital to seek God’s wisdom in preparing each of them for the purpose He has for them.
Of course ,your biggest goal should be to give them a heart for God, so they will not only be prepared, but also WILLING to do what God has planned for them.
Some days may be rough, but what an awesome privilege God has given us as mothers.
Never forget the saying: “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” If we don’t rear godly children, who will?