Oh, Dearest Mother, Sweetest Virgin of Altagracia, our Patroness. You are our Advocate and to you we recommend our needs. You are our Teacher and like disciples we come to learn from the example of your holy life. You are our Mother, and like children, we come to offer you all of the love of our hearts. Receive, dearest Mother, our offerings and listen attentively to our supplications. Amen.



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monique
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Posted: July 08 2008 at 2:55pm | IP Logged Quote monique




I'm right there with all you lovely ladies. I'm so tired, tired, tired. My baby sleeps okay, he does wake occasionally, but it's doable. It is overwhelming with lots of children. I know after reading Elizabeth's book that I'm very burned out so I'm taking her suggestions. I actually started back in January with a planner, but this month I'm trying to do everything I can to pull myself out of this black hole. I'm completely frazzled and so know how hard it is to even think. I'm walking everyday (hopefully by myself when dh is here) if not then we all go. I'm taking vitamins and herbs. I'm trying really hard not to stay up late even though its quiet then.

This week my daughter is at camp and two of my boys are with G'ma in KS so I just have the two little ones. It is amazing how much less irritated and angry I am. I agree it is all too much. I also want to be a happy,gentle loving mother but it is so hard. I get up in the mornings and tell myself, I'm not going to yell today. Sometimes it doesn't even take an hour and I'm yelling.

The discipline thing is driving me nuts also. I have two that fight constantly. My MIL frequently gets very upset with us because she thinks the children are sooooo disobedient and that we really must do something about them.

It is a lonely life. That is for sure. Since we only had two kids this week when we went out in public I didn't feel like an oddity. We were a "normal" family. I know it doesn't really matter what people think but it is hard when you see people counting the children, etc. I know you've all been there and know what people say.

It has been 11 years now that I've been sharing my body with another person either through pregnancy or nursing. I'm wondering what it is like not to have someone crawling on me, sleeping on me, nursing, growing inside of me, etc. almost constantly.

I love my children but some days I really don't like them very much. Sometimes I wonder if I'd be a better mom if they went to school but even as bad as things have gotten I can't bring myself to actually enroll them.

Hugs Angela and everyone else who posted that feels the same way.



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Posted: July 08 2008 at 3:39pm | IP Logged Quote Lisbet

Quote:
It has been 11 years now that I've been sharing my body with another person either through pregnancy or nursing. I'm wondering what it is like not to have someone crawling on me, sleeping on me, nursing, growing inside of me, etc. almost constantly.



I know exactly how you feel, exactly. When I get too wrapped up in the 'woes me' over this particular thing, I call to mind all of the teary eyed elderly women that I have encountered over the years that wistfully tell me to cherish each moment, one day I will miss it all. (of course sometimes I listen to them and think "Ah, so THAT'S what senility is... ) But really, in my heart I believe them. I think I will miss it someday.


I especially believe this when it comes from an elderly widower at our church. He and his wife raised 12 beautiful children, very close in age, she mothered with all of her heart keeping constant contact with her babies. As a neonatoligist he encouraged her in this very much. She met her Eternal Reward last year and I see this dear man each day at church, and each time he see's me and my children, he tears up and tells me to hold on to each moment. He commends me for 'wearing' the babies, he smiles when he sees me nurse even the toddler.   He holds the children close and smiles. I know he misses it, I know he has the fondest memories. This really really helps me keep this aspect of our 'gig' in perspective - sorry for the tangent.

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Posted: July 08 2008 at 3:46pm | IP Logged Quote MarilynW

Monique - your post had me in tears. ( I have emailed you too). I think you echo what all of us want - to be gentle and kind and not yell - but it is so so hard when we are tired and not feeling well and burned out and when our children are not what we feel they should be. (and we blame ourselves for that)

Angela - thank you for starting this thread - we can all pray for each other. I wonder about a novena to Saint Anne - the patroness of mothers - whose feast is coming up - I shall ask Anne (aussieannie) for her advice on one - she has done some lovely posts on Tuesdays with Saint Anne.

Whenever things are tough for me here I am going to pray for all of you.

I always remember what Ginny Seuffert said at a homeschooling conference I went to a few years ago "when homeschooling and mothering gets tough think about when you stand before the throne of God and all your children are around you, God will say - Well done good and faithful servant" - or something to that effect. I am thinking about this a lot at the moment, when I feel so tired that sometimes putting one foot in front of the other is an effort!

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monique
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Posted: July 08 2008 at 4:26pm | IP Logged Quote monique

Lisbet wrote:
I think I will miss it someday.


That is what I what I don't get about all this. There are those people that have such fond memories of when they were raising their children and then there are the couples that would love to have children of their own. I know I will miss it when I'm not nursing or pregnant anymore....so why can't I be more patient, right here, right now?




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Posted: July 08 2008 at 4:29pm | IP Logged Quote monique

MarilynW wrote:
I wonder about a novena to Saint Anne - the patroness of mothers - whose feast is coming up - I shall ask Anne (aussieannie) for her advice on one - she has done some lovely posts on Tuesdays with Saint Anne.


I carry a medal of St. Anne and Mary in pocket to try and remember to be a good mother. A friend gave it to me--I think she knows I needed it!    I think that sounds like a great idea, Marilyn!

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Posted: July 08 2008 at 4:39pm | IP Logged Quote aussieannie

Oh yes, I can relate to sooo much everyone has written in one way or the other...in fact, I've been meditating on suffering of late and it seems suffering is a heavy presence in the lives of those who are trying to head their families in the right direction, the devil tends to leave alone those who are not trying to strive for goodness - there is a great mystery in suffering, we can only thank God that in the Church we have the perfect understanding of it, the problem is following the Church's counsels on handling suffering.

I've just finished reading a new book on the Marian spirituality of Mother Teresa - "Mother Teresa: In the Shadow of Our Lady" and I also read when I was completely down and out after Annunica's birth, "Come Be My Light"- Mother Teresa knew suffering, hardships and the feeling of not being connected to Jesus, relying only on her will - but she made a vow never to refuse Jesus anything...I find myself refusing Jesus all sorts of little things and I am know that it makes my day harder in the long run...I need prayers to be more faithful to God's gentle promptings..

Oh Marilyn I have truly found many answers in the calling out to this beautiful grandmotherly saint, I know my life would be far more grace-filled if I called out to her and her Blessed Daughter much more.

Here is a beautiful novena:

Novena to Saint Ann

Prayers to be prayed before the days' prayers:

O glorious St. Ann, you are filled with compassion for those who invoke you and with love for those who suffer! Heavily burdened with the weight of my troubles, I cast myself at your feet and humbly beg of you to take the present intention which I recommend to you in your special care.

Please recommend it to your daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and place it before the throne of Jesus, so that He may bring it to a happy issue. Continue to intercede for me until my request is granted. But, above all, obtain for me the grace one day to see my God face to face, and with you and Mary and all the saints to praise and bless Him for all eternity. Amen.

Pray 1 Our Father, and 1 Hail Mary
O Jesus, Holy Mary, St. Ann, help me now and at the hour of my death.
Good St. Ann, intercede for me.
                                           
FIRST DAY

Dear St. Ann, though I am but a prodigal child, I appeal to you and place myself under your great motherly care. Please listen to my prayers and grant my requests. See my contrite heart, and show me your unfailing goodness.
Deign to be my advocate and recommend me to Godís infinite mercy. Obtain for me forgiveness of my sins and the strength to begin a new life that will last forever.
Blessed St. Ann, I also beg of you the grace to love, to serve, and to honor your daughter, the most holy Virgin Mary. Please recommend me to her and pray to her for me. She refuses none your requests but welcomes with loving kindness all those for whom you intercede.
Good Jesus, be merciful to the faithful servants of Your grandmother St. Ann.

SECOND DAY

From the depths of my heart, good St. Ann, I offer you my homage this day and ask you to shelter me under the mantle of your motherly care. You know, good mother, how much I love you, how gladly I serve you, how happy I am to praise you, how eager I am to call on you in time of distress.
Good St. Ann, be pleased to extend your helping hand in all my wants. Listen to my prayers, for I place my trust in your gracious bounty. Make all my thoughts and desires worthy and righteous.
Jesus, I thank You for all the graces which in Your infinite goodness You have lavished upon St. Ann; for having chosen her, among all women, to be Your grandmother on earth and exalted her in heaven with such great and miraculous powers. In the name of her merits, I humbly recommend myself to Your infinite mercy.

THIRD DAY

Hail, good St. Ann, who first responded to the needs of Mary, Mother of our Savior and Queen of Angels. Hail to you and to your husband St. Joachim, who watched over her infancy, presented her to the Lord in the temple and, according to your promise, consecrated her to the service of God.
Hail St. Ann, good mother! I rejoice in the marvels you continually perform, because they encourage all to seek your intercession.
Good St. Ann, by the great power that God has given you, show yourself my mother, my consoler, my advocate. Reconcile me to the God I have so deeply offended. Console me in my trials; strengthen me in my struggles. Deliver me from danger in my time of need. Help me at the hour of death and open to me the gates of paradise.

FOURTH DAY

Good St. Ann, you offered your pure and holy daughter Mary in the temple with faith, piety and love. By the happiness which then filled your heart, I beg you to present me to your Grandson Jesus. Offered by you, I will be agreeable in His sight.
Kind St. Ann, take me forever under your protection. Deliver me from the temptations which continually assail me. Above all, attend me in my last hour. As I lie on my deathbed, be present with your daughter to console and strengthen me.
Holy Mary and good St. Ann, show yourselves to be mothers indeed by obtaining for me the grace of a good death. When my soul goes forth, lead it to Godís tribunal so that, by your powerful help and intercession, it may obtain a favorable judgment.

FIFTH DAY

Hail, all-powerful Lady. By Godís special favor, grant consolation to those who invoke you. Procure for them the eternal riches of heaven, and like a good mother, success in their temporal affairs as well.
Good St. Ann, obtain my deliverance from the punishment which my sins deserve. Obtain for me success in my temporal affairs; especially see to the salvation of my soul.
St. Ann, by your influence with Maryís son Jesus, you have won the gift of conversion for many sinners. Will you then abandon me, who have chosen you as my mother? No, St. Ann. Your name alone, which signifies grace, assures me of the help of your prayers, and these prayers will surely procure pardon and mercy from Jesus. You will pray for me now and at the hour of my death.

SIX DAY

Good St. Ann, do not allow my soul, a masterpiece of Godís creative power, to be lost forever. Free my heart of pride, vanity, self-love. May I know myself as I really am and learn meekness and simplicity of heart.
Godís great love for me leaves me cold and unresponsive. I must reflect this love through works of mercy and charity toward my neighbor.
In your boundless charity, good St. Ann, help me to merit the glorious crown which is given to those who have fought the good fight against the world, the devil and the flesh. Assist me to preserve purity of heart and body. With Mary and her divine Son, protect me always.

SEVENTH DAY

Once again, Good St. Ann, I choose you for my advocate before the throne of God. By the power and grace that God has placed in you, extend to me your helping hand. Renew my mind and my heart.
Dear St. Ann, I have unbounded confidence in your prayers. To your blessed hands I entrust my soul, my body and all my hopes for this world and the next. Direct my actions according to your goodness and wisdom. I place myself under your motherly care.
Receive me, good mother. Cover me with the mantle of your love. Look kindly on me. By your powerful intercession, may I obtain from God grace and mercy. Obtain for me remission for sin and release from the punishment my offenses have deserved. Pray that I may receive grace to lead a devout life on earth and that I may obtain the everlasting reward of heaven.

EIGHTH DAY

Hail, St. Ann! I rejoice at your exalted glory. You gave birth to Mary, whose divine Son brought salvation to our lost world by conquering death and restoring life and hope to sinners. Pray to Him who, for love of us, clothed Himself with human flesh in the chaste womb of your daughter.
Glorious St. Ann, with your blessed daughter, deliver me from everything that is displeasing in the sight of God. Pray to your gentle and powerful Grandson that He may cleanse my soul in His precious blood, that He may send His Holy Spirit to enlighten and direct me in all that I do, always obedient to His holy inspirations.
Good mother, keep a watchful eye on me. Help me bear all my crosses. Give me the fullness of your bounty and sustain me with courage.

NINTH DAY

Good St. Ann, I have reached the end of this novena in your honor. I have asked and ask again. Good mother, let not your kind ear grow weary of my prayers, though I repeat them so often.
Bounteous Lady, implore for me from divine Providence all the help I need through life. May your generous hand bestow on me the material means to satisfy my own needs and to alleviate the plight of the poor.
Good St. Ann, fortify me by the sacraments of the Church at the hour of my death. Admit me into the company of the blessed in the kingdom of heaven, where I may praise and thank the adorable Trinity, your grandson Christ Jesus, your glorious daughter Mary, and yourself, dear St. Ann, through endless ages.



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Posted: July 08 2008 at 5:04pm | IP Logged Quote amyable

If you start tomorrow (today for the Australians, I think! ), two novenas can be done and will end right on St. Anne's feast day, July 26th.

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Posted: July 08 2008 at 5:22pm | IP Logged Quote SeaStar

In talking to my mother, who raised 6 children with almost no help from my dad(who worked nights mostly) she said she can't even remember how she did it all by herself... she claims she can hardly remember the whole decade of the 60's because she was so busy raising her children.

She admits there were times when she yelled (I remember her saying: Go outside and don't come in til I call you! ) and times when she didn't get her own dinner until late at night after all the kids were asleep. Also she says she often had my brother in one arm and her rosary in the other, praying he would sleep.

But she says she loved every minute of being home with us and is fuzzy on a lot of the details that seem to weigh so heavily for so many of us now. So maybe it doesn't get easier (my oldest sister says it never gets easier, it just gets different), but at the end it's all the happy memories that count and last.

And when I'm old and gray- oh, wait- I'm already going gray- I'll be glad to have those memories (if I live that long, if I can remember anything at all at that point.... )

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Posted: July 08 2008 at 5:23pm | IP Logged Quote aussieannie

Brilliant Amy, THANK YOU for that reminder - I missed my posting on St Anne at StarryMantle last night due to my husband's need to use the computer but the delay is a blessing, I will mention this in my posting today.

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Posted: July 08 2008 at 5:38pm | IP Logged Quote juststartn

I don't even have the outside sports, or other activities, and I'm worn out. We have had two really "gangbustah" type yrs, iykwim. I had a hellacious first trimester with the boys, was put on bedrest, had them 6 wks early, when they were 3 wks old, DH deployed, he came home in Oct of last year, after 4 mos overseas, he was retired, I spent months looking at houses and traveling long distance to look at them, packing our old house, moving half way cross country, getting unpacked, trying to get settled, now we have the five dc, a 4000 sq ft garden, 66 chickens (50 more arriving the wk of the 23d), 2 geese, 3 goslings, 2 ducks....and DH is planning on pigs for the fall/winter. Plus, with the financial woes (we're still waiting on the letter from VA--PLEASE throw up a prayer for us if/as you read this), I'm keeping the a/c off to save every penny I can, and trying to not heat up the house by "cooking"--which upsets DH cause he wants three meals a day, period--NO SANDWICHES (unless I make them)....

Yeah. I'm tired. He's working shift work--he just shifted over to the 1130p-730a shift--so we're all screwed up that way, the boys have started waking 2-3 times a night (I physically CANNOT sleep with them--I do not sleep AT ALL if they are even in the room with me)....

Plus trying to get the dds involved in some hsing groups here locally, get oldest dd thru her FHC (because of our move, we weren't able to do it in NC, so now we're trying to arrange to do it here in OK, and its just taking a lot longer than it "should", for many reasons)...

ARGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Someone remind me, again, that it is worth it...I love my dc, so very very much, but you're right--there is NO ONE IRL to complain to. Everyone--family, friends, etc, would tell me to not have any more/send them to school/whatever they believe that runs opposite to what we are doing. I have two IRL friends--one in MO, one back in NC--Catholic, with larger families, who would understand. But the pressure to be as "un-obstrusive" as possible when in public is immense....

Sorry for the ramble. I am soooo with you on the yelling thing. I try, every morning, to pray before I get out of bed, a prayer I got on a holy card....sometimes I can definitely feel it work, and sometimes, I'm completely at sea from the moment I get my feet on the floor....

I don't have any advice, other than "chicken tractor". Look them up. We have ours outside in those. It takes maybe 15-20 min each morning/evening, once you get the routine down, to do their maintenance (no joke). We have ours in three different tractors--the biggest chickens, geese, and ducks, are all in the biggest, and they get to free-range during the day. The others are our pullets (layers-to-be), and the cockerels we're going to be putting into the freezer when they get big enough (that's what we have 50 more of arriving the end of this month)...We still have the pullets in the tractors full time--they aren't quite big enough to free range, yet--give them two weeks. The cockerels will never be allowed free range. We have a 2 gallon waterer in each tractor that has the birds in it all day, and we fill them as needed. The big tractor, where we keep the goslings during the day, and all of the free-ranging birds at night, has a 5 gallon waterer (we have another that we leave outside of the tractors full time). THere is a big galvanized feeder in the tractor for the geese (they don't have access during the day) and other free-ranging birds to eat at night, and two-three smaller red plastic feeders in the smaller tractors for those birds to eat when they want to (but they always have access to the grass under the tractor).

We move the tractors twice a day, morning and evening for the two with the full-time occupants, and in the morning only for the coop we use for the free-rangers. I can do this by myself, but the dc do help.

Seriously, once you get a routine down, its NO big deal. Its just getting the tractor built that is your issue now. Ours are low to the ground retangles. They don't take "that" long to build. A few hours a day, for 2-3 days, if you can get your DH to help. We've figured out how to do the least amount of cutting. How many birds do you have again? We use an 8x8x2-3 on them, now that we've made a few.      FINALLY figured out what we needed, and what needed to be done as easily as possible. 2-3 ft high is a good height, as the bird netting is usually in that dimension (you can also get it in 4 feet, which would be good, too, but shorter also means a bit more easily moved).

Hopefully, this will work.

Here's the one we use for the geese, ducks, and bigger chickens...it's 8x8x4, but we're enjoying the 8x8x2s, with a roof door instead of a side door (easier to feed them, that way). If you were going to let them out every day to free-range, then a side door would be more practical.



HTH

((HUGS))

Rachel

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Posted: July 08 2008 at 7:35pm | IP Logged Quote MarilynW

Thanks Anne and everyone. I will be posting the novena on my blog tonight and I will be praying for all your intentions. We CAN pray our way through this season..

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Posted: July 09 2008 at 12:25am | IP Logged Quote teachingmom

Angel wrote:
I pray constantly, which seems to be the one thing that keeps me going, but -- will someone please tell me that things will get better one day???


Dear Angela,
I agree with what many others have written about the particular difficulties of your situation - sleep deprivation, constantly nursing baby, toddler twins, overworked husband who can't be of much help, activities outside the home for older kids, health issues, etc. Oh, and chickens in your house to boot. Any one of those things might overwhelm a mom!

I just wanted to encourage you by saying, yes, I think it will get much better when you have older children to help. My life as a mother to my toddler is so different than it was when each of my other children were the same age. I remember getting so angry and impatient when my children were little and everything hung on me. Now I have four bigger girls (ages 8-13) who are an amazing help with their youngest sisters. I was just thinking the other day that many things my toddler does make us laugh, when the same things done by one of the other children a few years ago might have made me blow up in frustration.

I don't know if it's the help from the older girls, getter more mellow as I age, realizing these years won't last forever, getting better sleep, or what. But I am so much more patient now than I was 5 or 10 years ago. Of course, I still have my moments , as my children can attest, but overall I am a much more patient mommy.

I will pray for you!

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Posted: July 09 2008 at 6:36am | IP Logged Quote Angel

Wow! I was out at the doctor's office all day yesterday and haven't had a chance to reply to this thread until now. Actually, the whole doctor's office experience (well-baby check up) highlighted pretty much everything I wrote about. My kids used to be so well-behaved at the doctor's office, but I think they have been there a few times too often in the past few months. Also, I discovered that the baby is anemic - probably because he resists cereal and green veggies. So it was comforting to come home and read all your replies. Thank you.

I'm going to print out the novena to St. Anne today and put it on my refrigerator. I told my dh last night that the general consensus was that the chickens have to go. (He took it goodnaturedly. ) We were just able to turn off the heat lamp *during the day* yesterday (it was hot and humid yesterday, but up to that point we'd not had temps out of the 70's, and getting down into the 50's at night).

And I agree that sleep is a huge part of it... but not sure how to proceed there. The baby does sleep in my bed, but only because he wouldn't sleep anywhere else. At least we have advanced from him having to sleep sideways on his nursing pillow... I know that part of my problem is also that I can't nurse lying down. I have to sit up. I don't know why. But last night was a little better... he was really tired so I got one 4 hour stretch, and --amazingly -- he is still asleep right now.

Like Amy, I do grapple with the idea of this being a season. I mean, I know it *is* a season -- I can't go on having kids forever, and they won't be young forever -- but it sure seems like a really long season! I could totally relate to your posts, too, Monique. My current baby nurses at night a lot more than the others did -- and my twins were bottle fed, so I could turn them over to my dh for a 4 hour shift -- but the other kids would wake up at night and just be awake for hours. I guess constant nursing is better than being up for 4 hours straight every night while your toddler jumps on your head and tries to poke out your eyeballs.

Anyway, since I've basically given up all hope of having a child who is a good sleeper as a baby... I do wonder how much longer I can do this, how many more times. I'm just reaching my mid 30's, and of course I do NOT know what the future brings and I have had 3 C-sections already, but it seems like more than just 1 or 2 more children are possible. If that's the case and "crisis" seems to be the norm instead of the exception, how does one deal with that?

This year I've been thinking simplification, in everything... but on the other hand, I also feel like I have to make the most of this time when I am *not* pregnant, because doing anything when I'm pregnant is a major challenge.

Well, this post has gone on long enough -- sorry for babbling. You have all give me a lot of food for thought and made me feel a lot less weird and incompetent , so thank you. I'll pray for all of you today.

--Angela
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Posted: July 09 2008 at 8:19am | IP Logged Quote 10 Bright Stars

Angela,

For starters, hang in there!! I know exactly how you feel though. Some days I just think to myself there is NO WAY one person was supposed to be able to DO all of this stuff!! I mean, it is crazy.

I am also the mom of 2 year old twins. I just saw on the news last night that parents of twins are more prone to depression and anxiety than parents of singletons. I think this is a direct correlation to never, ever, ever, ever, never, EVER getting a full nights sleep. I gained 30 pounds the first 6 months AFTER delivering my twins. I went to the docs, thinking my thyroid was obviously broken (I have thyroid problems) and he, a father or twins himself, asked me how much sleep I was getting. I could honestly reply maybe 3 hours of sleep a night. He said, "There's your problem." I guess something to do with the body being in a fight or flight response. Mine thought something scary must be going on since I was always "up" and stressed and it had responded by getting fat!!! Interesting, but my point is lack of sleep can be a MAJOR factor with everything you described. I honestly think I underwent a temporary personality change due to the extreme lack of sleep. I think in retrospect I was trying to mother the twins like I mother the singletons. (very attachment type parenting, demand feeding etc.) When, perhaps given the circumstances I might have been better off getting sleep somehow, even if it meant asking for help from someone! I can remember series of days when I honestly could not seem to even get a shower when they were newborns!! I can't imagine how stressful it was even looking back as the one who lived through it!!!

Anyway, your twins sound older now, but the point is SLEEP. You seem like me; someone who feels THEY must be "all things to all people all the time". But, if you think about it like you would a car that needed repair, it is much easier to see the humor in our thinking we can just "keep going" if we need repair. If your car is broken, needs an oil change, a new battery and has a flat tire, you can't just WILL it to move. You have to re-arrange and re-order your life to get the car to the repair shop and make adjustments to get to work, or the store some other way. So, just the same, your body MUSt repiar itself. You MUST rest. That may mean letting things go around the house a little while you lie down on the couch and nurse the baby while the kids play. Go to bed an hour earlier. Feed the baby a big snack before bedtime and nurse him again. I also sleep with my babies, but since he is a little older, maybe get up to nurse him fully, and then try to put him down to bed again or even beside you if that is what you prefer, but those "night nips" can be sleep snatchers!

Anyway, I would second, or is it third or 4th, getting that chicken coop up on the priority list!! You are a brave lady for letting them take over your laundry room! Just try to think about ALL those eggs and maybe that will help you.        


I think it is times like these where God tries to get us to weed out the things we THINK are important that really AREN'T that important. If we think there is too much to do, then we are doing TOO much and need to re-prioritize and cut things out that may be GOOD things, but not neccesarily things we have to do RIGHT now in life. Believe me, this is an ongoing process for me!!! Maybe make a list, from the couch!!, of have to's, want to's and things like that. Then, force yourself to cut out several things you feel like you have to do that really are not important in the "big picture".   


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Posted: July 09 2008 at 10:08am | IP Logged Quote amyable

Eight Wonders wrote:
     I think in retrospect I was trying to mother the twins like I mother the singletons.


Kim's quote makes me think of something - I wonder if part of our (our being any of us struggling right now) problem is parenting a family we *don't* have, like Kim saying she was trying to parent the twins the way she would parent singletons.

I wonder if some of us with no experience with large families are parenting them (individually and collectively) as if they were a smaller family - the ones we see and are used to, and often grew up in? I'm thinking that things that are OK for a small family may not be for a big family, and vice versa.

I need to think about this some more... (or just wait and let someone wiser than me continue on this train of thought )

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Posted: July 09 2008 at 10:44am | IP Logged Quote Angel

amyable wrote:
Eight Wonders wrote:
     I think in retrospect I was trying to mother the twins like I mother the singletons.


Kim's quote makes me think of something - I wonder if part of our (our being any of us struggling right now) problem is parenting a family we *don't* have, like Kim saying she was trying to parent the twins the way she would parent singletons.

I wonder if some of us with no experience with large families are parenting them (individually and collectively) as if they were a smaller family - the ones we see and are used to, and often grew up in? I'm thinking that things that are OK for a small family may not be for a big family, and vice versa.



That could very well be. I'm thinking right now of the house. I know I have had to change the way I think about keeping house. When I was a kid, I was required to do quite a bit around the house... but we did almost all of it on Saturdays. My mother had *one* laundry day.

With the growth of my own family, I have, of course, had to rethink how we organize housekeeping because we can't just do it one day a week. I know, in theory, that homes of large homeschooling families can be kept in order, but it seems like there's always a disclaimer; I noticed in Elizabeth's blog post on housekeeping ("Why Bother?"), she mentioned that she wasn't directing it to mothers who had two toddlers and an infant. Well, that would be me. But, really, what *are* the standards for a house full of little kids, where two of the those little kids are 2 yo twin boys? My oldest is only 11. Meals are regular and not (usually) junk. My kitchen looks like an 11 yo and 9 yo take care of it... because they do. Our laundry is usually kept up, but it's often only partially folded. The bathrooms are generally sanitary. The front rooms get picked up regularly. But the kids' bedrooms... and many horizontal surfaces...

As Marilyn suggested, I do feel better when the house is neat and tidy, but I also feel like I have to kill myself to get it that way (not being a generally organized person to begin with.) If I focus on the house, I'm not focusing on homeschooling. If I focus on homeschooling, I can't focus on the house. I think it would help if I had a set of objective standards that I could point to and say, "This is done, and it is enough. So it doesn't matter what everybody's else house/education/etc. looks like, I have done my best in these particular circumstances."

--Angela
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Posted: July 09 2008 at 11:32am | IP Logged Quote MarilynW

Angel wrote:

As Marilyn suggested, I do feel better when the house is neat and tidy, but I also feel like I have to kill myself to get it that way (not being a generally organized person to begin with.) If I focus on the house, I'm not focusing on homeschooling. If I focus on homeschooling, I can't focus on the house. I think it would help if I had a set of objective standards that I could point to and say, "This is done, and it is enough. So it doesn't matter what everybody's else house/education/etc. looks like, I have done my best in these particular circumstances."

--Angela
Three Plus Two


Angela - I think you are right - don't worry about anyone else's homes or standards - figure out what you need to be peaceful and efficient. These are my needs which may be too high for some and too low for others - but it works in our house:

My aim is to have the house generally clean and clutter free so that if we have guests I am not psyched out, so that we can move around with injuring ourselves and so that nobody gets ill with dirt! We have daily chores and weekly chores. Our daily basics - each morning each child makes their bed (olders make those under 4 - over 4 they make their own) and tidy their rooms before they come down for breakfast. 9 year old twins clean upstairs bathrooms, one each - quick clean ie tidy up, wipe down fixtures and toilet, wipe down floor - before they come down for breakfast. They have been doing this since they were 6. After breakfast - my dd 11 cleans up - she is able to do everything - pans, dishwasher, sink, counters, sweep floor - she has done this since she was 8. The twins clean up after lunch in the kitchen. When schoo is done - everyone has evening chores around 4pm - my dd cleans the downstairs bathroom - quick wipe down and freshen up of fixtures and floor. She also sweeps and tidies up the mudroom. One twin tidies and vacuums dining room and living room. The other twin tidies and vacuums school room and hallway. These chores take about 15 minutes - so when daddy comes home we have a generally tidy and clean home. After dinner the twins do the clean up with either mom or dad - dishes, countertops, steam mop floor. (I always check before going to bed - I dislike coming down to a dirty sink or floor)

Once a week we do more detailed weekly chores - dd tidies, dusts and vacuums her bedroom and the master bedroom. She has also started helping me with a deep clean of the kitchen - quick arrange of pantry and cupboards, clean out fridge before grocery shopping, wipe down cupboards, fixtures etc and steam mop floor and baseboards. I deep clean all the bathrooms once a week.One twin ds tidies, dusts and vacuums the boys' bedroom and the nursery and hallway upstairs. The other twin does the basement rec room. The twins and I work on tidying, dusting and polishing our main level which is dining room, living room and learning room. Takes us about 4 hours to get it done on a Friday afternoon.

I like to get the weekly stuff done - but if we do not get to it because of illness or whatever our daily chores are sufficient for peace of mind.

I also have a schedule for things I find tough - eg I always change bedding on the same days every week - master bed sheets on Wed, kids on Thursday - and except for dd's I make all up all the beds after laundry. (dh has to help with bunks when I am expecting!!)

At this stage of my life there are some things that do not get done - eg washing windows - I do not do. I try and do closets twice a year with season changes. I use the summer to declutter and try to get some organization in.

Sorry..hope this is not too long and rambling

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Posted: July 09 2008 at 1:26pm | IP Logged Quote monique

Oh wow, Marilyn. It looks like my kids could be doing a whole lot more.

Angela, as far as the housekeeping goes you might try and think about what irritates you the most. Like I hate doing dishes but coming down in the mornings to a pile of dirty dishes is worse. So I've made it a priority to get the kitchen cleaned up at night--no matter how tired I am.

I also come from no experience with large families. My husband and I were both raised as only children. We didn't have any siblings. Don't have a clue what normal sibling rivalry is. My MIL was also an only child so the noise in the house drives her batty for a few days when she comes to visit. I always joke that my husband and I don't have a clue how to raise 5 kids! Now you know why!   

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Posted: July 09 2008 at 2:48pm | IP Logged Quote amyable

Can I just say how much I love all of you?? What wonderful women you all are, trying so hard to love and serve the Lord, lifting each other up in prayer and support. You are the greatest.



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Posted: July 09 2008 at 2:55pm | IP Logged Quote teachingmom

monique wrote:
I also come from no experience with large families. My husband and I were both raised as only children. We didn't have any siblings. Don't have a clue what normal sibling rivalry is. My MIL was also an only child so the noise in the house drives her batty for a few days when she comes to visit. I always joke that my husband and I don't have a clue how to raise 5 kids! Now you know why!   


This is a really interesting tangent. I wonder how much the size of the family we grew up in plays into this? I grew up as the only girl in a family of six kids. My mom was (and is) an amazing mother. She handled our bustling boy-heavy household with a lot of grace. She made it seem very do-able. I bet that is a huge part of why I've never been intimated by the idea of a large family. It must have given me a level of unconscious confidence. The same is true of my husband, who was one of 10 children.

But my husband's parents are a different story. His mom was an only child and his dad had only one sibling. They raised their children with much love and strong faith, but I've heard stories of funny things that happened in dh's childhood that reveal that life in that large family must have been overwhelming at times. An example: I guess he knew that he was supposed to put on a clean shirt each day back when he was a preschooler. But no one was checking up on him and one day his mom realized that he was wearing quite a few shirts, one on top of the other! He didn't realize that he was supposed to take off the dirty shirts at the end of each day.    

I'm sure that lots of people who grew up in smaller families are adaptable enough (or detail oriented enough?) to swing into large-family mode without such mishaps. I just wonder if coming from that background gives some of us valuable added preparation for this lifestyle? That should give us lots of hope for the families our grandchildren will be growing up in!

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