December 22, 2013

Contribute to the Calm,Not the Chaos

I have been asked to update on life with five children.

It's a BLAST!

They are so much fun to be around and I feel so blessed to have five little pumpkins calling me mommy.

Life with five young children.
Can it be stressful?

Does it push me to my limits?
Is it sometimes the hardest thing I have ever done?

The answer is YES.

Yes it can be stressful.
But life with no children can be stressful.

Yes it can be exhausting.
There are days I am running only on pure instinct.

Yes it pushes me to my limits.
But so did one child.Two children,three and so on.

And at times,it is the hardest thing I have ever done.
Carting one on the front,sometimes one on the back and often chasing several.

But all things worth doing are often stressful (marriage,jobs,vacations,pets,family events)
Many things in life are exhausting (moving,having a baby,working in the yard,running a marathon)
The best things in life often push you to your limits.
And the hardest things you will ever do...they will make you so much stronger!
And often it
IS what you MAKE it-at least in your mind!

It can be so much fun and such a blessing if we embrace it!

"The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice"
-Peggy O'mara

"Children are great imitators.So give them something great to imitate"

"Listening is where love begins"
-Mr Rogers

It's not perfect.
There is no secret to it being easy,because it's not.

"There's a temptation to multitask everything,but you can't multitask presence"
-Cindy Crawford

There have been several exhausting days of a fussy teething baby,an overtired toddler,bored 4 and 5 year old's not finding anything better to do than argue over one toy,and a 9 year old who was hungry an hour ago.

The best thing I can do when I get worn out and anxious,when I'm ready to cry,scream or snap at a child?

Breathe and refocus.

I often talk to my children-in fact almost every time I am feeling overwhelmed,I talk to them and tell them that mommy is very tired and I want to help them with what they may need and ask them to give me a hug or ask if they might lend me a hand.

They are such willing learners and helpers.

    “God loves a cheerful doer.” — David Clarkson

The baby might be crying and the world feels like it's caving in from pure fatigue.

I reach out to my children.

I use these moments as opportunities to teach.
I don't put my burden on them to carry,but I explain how I feel and they respond.

Children are such kind people!

I also respond to their feelings-I recognize that they have emotions that might be the cause of something treatable,for example:
  • Babies sometimes get bored-a bath or foot rub can change it up without over-stimulating them.Be kind to them and don't show frustration!
  • Toddlers sometimes get thirsty or tired and don't know how to voice it-think of these things and offer a cuddle.Talk to them in an understanding way,let them know that you are there.
  • Older children can get bored too and sometimes a change in scenery helps-in fact it almost always does!If leaving the house to go for a drive to a park or store isn't an option,have them go outside!Or help them build a "fort" out of blankets strung over chairs!
  • I want to add that it also helps to be patient and kind to yourself.Try not to speak unkindly about yourself or get easily frustrated with your mistakes,tell your children why you feel upset-yes,even the little ones,they care too!

Some of the most stressful days of my life have happened when I was too uptight and unresponsive to the underlying causes of the symptoms my children displayed.
We see a whiny,crying child and think "they need to stop" or get frustrated at them.

Sometimes all they need is help to figure out what they are needing.

My children have begun to show more affection towards each other-helping,hugging and talking it out.
It brings so much joy to see them "copying" my tone and loving words with each other-being kind and helpful to their siblings.

Being a full-time stay at home mom,it's especially easy for me to get caught up in my own agenda-the laundry,the cleaning,the cooking,the bills-and forget to treat my children like I should.
I forget why I wanted to be at home with my surely wasn't so my house would just be spic and span!
Most recently I have tried earnestly to be a joyful doer when I caught myself complaining about my work load one day.
I realized,"How can I anticipate eager doers out of my children,when I am a grumpy one?"

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.-Proverbs 17:22

I decided to let some of the chores go a little,take more deep breaths and ask for more help.

I decided to huff and puff a little less and smile a lot more.

When I feel uptight and begin to forget what I am doing on this earth,I get one or more of my children to come to me,I make eye contact and hold the gaze for a moment before asking for a big hug!

Just recently I took the five children to the store by myself-this is only the third time or so going into a store alone with the children.
We were traveling home and the baby was crying,the two year old was tired,and the four and five year old's were arguing.
My nine year old had more than he could take:
"QUIET!!! JUST STOP!!!!" He yelled.

I understand why he did it.It was overstimulating for us all!

I gathered myself and gently replied:

"Caleb,contribute to the calm,not the chaos"

This is something for all of us to work on....when there is enough stress,enough noise.


“A mother's heart is the child's classroom.”

 - Henry Ward Beecher

Do you have any learned advice on parenting you would like to add?
I would love to hear from you-comments are welcome and adored!

Blessings to each of you on your journey!


  1. I have been in the thick of things lately and this post is what I needed!

  2. Denee, this post is amazing! To think that amidst your turbulent life of raising 5 children you have the time and energy to receive and return this kind of inspiration is beautiful in itself. You continue to be such an inspiration to me. Some of the inspiration/revelation I have received in raising (and homeschooling) 6 children is to slow down, do less with more quality, listen with real intent, and put a cap on contention. I don't always do it but the tools are there when I need them. I find that the more we strive to develop these virtues and attributes, the more we are blessed with and the easier they become. It's like strengthening a muscle; we have to work at it. I have also been blessed by the grace of God to overcome some of my weaknesses and shortcomings, and to make me a better mother when my efforts alone are not enough. Thank you for sharing.

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