Wednesday, June 30, 2010

may*day...may*day...I am going down.

It is three days in for the school holidays.
I don't know if I am going to make it to the end.

Even though I have made a plan, prepared myself and given the kids a pep talk about 'holiday happenings' there have been a few surprises I was not prepared for and I just don't know how many more days of this I can take.

My original plan was to exercise early to help me feel more motivated, emotionally uplifted and energetic to deal with my days with 7 kids. I even announced on my facebook 'after an early morning gym class I am ready for the school holidays...bring it on!'.

I am here to tell careful what you ask for...oh! so careful...
The kids must have seen it because guess what...they are bringing it on!!!!

Here are some of the random happenings over the past three days:

2 kids pooed their pants
3 more kids wet their pants
1 child decided to play with poo in her nappy...3 times
(are you sensing a theme yet?)
that same child had her turn on my computer and wiped poo all over my computer desk...

let's take a breath and breathe deeply here shall we....

now to continue....

a child decided to let air out of the bike tires
I had to pump them back up.

someone set fire to a loaf of bread sitting on my cooktop....
therefore filling our house with smoke.

(cue me getting extremely frustrated with having to air out the whole house when I had decided to put the heater on and the house had just become warm. It is freezing cold and I was freaking out because the smoke alarm did not go off when we have a deep layer of smoke in our house. Yet it decides to go off everytime we use the toaster ???? let's take some more deep breaths shall we....).

husband working all day and night late for three days.
did I mention my husband has been working...
and not around to help me out...oh! wait I told you that already!

kids and I dropped off the movies we hired ... at the wrong movie shop.
we did not realise until we received a phone call... just when I had the kids ready for bed.

I have also dealt with many disputes, cries for help, physical encounters, left overs, tears, tantrums, washing, dishes, pouting, nashing of teeth and quite a few performances that would be worthy of an academy award.

So now that I am down low in the trenches, the only place I can go is UP!

Let's just hope I am not in the trenches until the end of the holidays....

Thursday, June 24, 2010

when a child dies...changing my perspective

This week has been a difficult week.
I have been stretched to the limit.
The kids have been fighting, the finances have been tight and I have been mega-tired.

I placed everything I could into the 'too hard basket' and left it all until the last minute.
I have been flying by the seat of my pants every day to survive.
I have been hoping that the things I am doing are going to be enough to hold everyone together and to keep the family running.

At moments I felt lost and alone.
I just couldn't see clearly the changes we needed to make as a family and within myself to create better unity and 'ellisium' in our home.

Then something happened that changed my perspective.
A friend of mine had her new born baby die.

Her baby was a beautiful, gorgeous, precious angel of a baby girl.
I had the wonderful opportunity of holding her for a short time.

Her sweet little face, gorgeous lips and darling little spirit were priceless.

I was so overjoyed for my friend who had struggled to become pregnant, who struggled throughout the pregnancy and finally was blessed with a healthy baby girl to welcome to her family.

I was so proud of the challenges she had overcome, the emotions she had faced and my heart was bursting with joy to see her dream come true.

I was shocked to hear several days later that this cherub has passed away at home.
I thought of the struggle she now had to face and tears filled my eyes.

Recovering from birth, changing hormones, crazy emotions, your milk coming in, afterbirth pains and sleep deprevation are enough to send any mother over the edge at the best of times. But dealing with the grief of losing a is surely too much to carry at such a time.

It is something foreign to me and my heart breaks to imagine how women deal and face with these sorrows. I know many women face this daily and I have had several friends deal with such a loss.

As I have watched them in their grief I have been touched to see an inner strength come that they and I surely did not know they had. Somehow they held themselves together to make decisions, supported other family members and even found time to work on healing themselves. To me these women are super-women who have truly entered the valley of the shadow of death, stayed longer than expected and risen out of that valley to be stronger, kinder and more compassionate towards others.

It is also wonderful to see family, friends and even strangers support women during these times. The outpouring of kindness and sensitivity is inspiring and uplifting.

As I pondered my own life and my so called 'crappy' week, my thoughts and perspective immediately changed. I began to see clearly just how blessed I am.

Sure my kids drive my crazy, sure my house is a mess some days, sure I struggle with my emotions and challenges of raising kids. But...I get to hug them, talk to them and treasure them for a little while longer while we journey on our time here on earth together.

It was a huge wake up call for me to remember to appreciate those little moments.
You know the ones that you would not trade for anything....

  • those moments when your kids give you a hug
  • when they plant a sloppy wet kiss on your cheek
  • when a new baby wraps her hand around your finger
  • when your baby looks at you, really looks at you for the first time
  • when you see your child accomplish something for the first time all by themselves
  • when your kids are asleep at night and they look like angels
  • the first time they call you mum and
  • when they run to greet you at the door when you have only been gone a short time.
So I will take my crap week and be happy that I get to share it with my children and be thankful that I get to hug them tonight and love them as long as they are with me.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Does my butt look big with this bus?

Raising a large family has it's challenges.
One of them is finding the right transport.

When I first started out having children, I always envisioned I would have lots of kids.
I went over things in my mind, planned for the future and tried to be prepared for things to come.

I have been blessed that I have been able to have a large family but I never imagined, pictured or planned what sort of car I would drive.

We started out with a Station wagon, moved up to a Tarago and have finally settled on a Commuter bus. At first I felt a little teary about this option.

It is not the nicest looking car, it has a larger turning circle and I just can't get into some shopping centre's because the roof is so high. I am happy to say that I can fit into the drive through at the local McDonald's though, to get everyone a 50c cone when we need one!

I remember when I first got the bus and I was feeling a little self conscious, and maybe just a little bit embarrassed, about driving it that I had a wonderful experience.

I looked in my rear view mirror to see how the kids were coping with this change of cars we had made and I was surprised to see that they were loving it! They had their window's open, hair blowing every where and pure delight was on their faces because they had room, they had space, they were sitting up high and it was almost like riding a ride at the showgrounds.

I have found 'the bus' great for our family. We can fit bikes in, lots of shopping in, camping stuff in, beach stuff in and anything we need for fun adventures.

One of the funny things about me driving this bus is the reaction from others.
When I pull up somewhere, lets say at a playground where lots of other kids are playing. It is as if the whole playground goes stops...parents included, to see what sort of tragedy is about to happen.

This is when I start to smile to myself...

The sliding door opens, normally loudly...and all my kids start to tumble out.
I see the other kids on the playground looking scared and I know they are thinking...'it's a gang of kids coming to get us'. Now my kids are not perfect but they are kind!

Then I see parents counting my kids and it is so fun to see them start to shake their head, like I have committed some crime bringing all these children into the world, and then their mouths drop when they get to the end. Yep! there really is seven!

Then when all the kids are out of the bus. It is my turn.
This is the funniest part.

When I get out of the bus and make my way around to the other side of the car, to normally close the sliding door because the last person out has of course forgotten to close it, people stare at me. It is like they are in shock!

After they have stared for a while they then look me up and down, I mean, totally look me up and down. Especially women!

They start forming a judgement in their mind and begin to wonder about this spectacle and they always seem to look at my butt. I get so tempted to give them a big flash of my butt just so they can have a closer look - with clothes on of course!

They love to see if I am overweight (which of course I am in my own small way) and it is as if they are saying to way are all those kids hers, she doesn't look like a woman who should have 7 kids.

So off I go to play with my kids and after spending a little time at the playground, I sit and wait.

Why? because I know that these other mother's there can't stand it, they have to know.

Sure enough I will either see a mother asking one of my kids or have one of them come over to me to ask: 'Are those really all your kids?"
'Yes, they are." I always reply
and then comes the next statement.
"No, you don't look like you have seven kids."

My next question to them is: 'What is someone with seven kids supposed to look like?"

Now I understand that people are just fascinated, in shock and intrigued with the fact that I have seven kids. I have days where I am in shock about it too! I am happy to answer questions and tell them that yes, I did plan to have all these children (all except the twins, we did not expect to have twins) and yes we do have a television!

I know I am not alone in having a large family, there are so many combined large families today and there are plenty of other women who desire to have lots of kids too. Most comments from people are kind and on the days I get unkind comments I try not to let it get to me.

I am used to driving my bus now, I love it, and I am used to talking to people about our family.

For now though it really has come down to me asking myself when I go out...
....does my butt look big with this bus?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

wearing too many hats

Lately life has been busy. Too busy.
I have been distracted by many things.

I heard myself saying to the kids several times this week:
"Look, your just going to have to wait a minute."
"I don't have time to talk to you about that right now."
"I want to help you with that but I just can't."

When I start talking like that to the kids, things need to change.
The change that needs to happen is with me.

I realised (once again) that I am wearing too many hats.
I am so good at taking on new hats that I end up like The Cat in the Hat from Dr. Seuss
You know the story. Here is little cat A, B, C, D..... all the way up to Z.
Yep, I had allowed myself to get to the stage where I felt like I was wearing the whole alphabet.

Drastic action was needed and I decided to give myself a day off.
I took off my friend hat, no cleaning hat, no gym hat, no blogging hat (man was that one hard to take off for the day) and no chef hat.

I decided to just wear my mummy hat for the day.
At first it was hard but then I felt as if a weight was lifted off my shoulders and it felt like a real relief.
My goal for the day was to just hang out at home with the kids.

I found a comfortable spot outside and just chilled. It was great.
The sun was shining and it was just perfect.

I watched the kids playing and enjoyed watching the chickens peck around the place.
I wore my Ugg boots all day. Love my Ugg boots.

The sky was perfect....can you believe it...gotta love living in Queensland.
This really is a picture of the sky!

Just so you would believe me I took a picture of a tree too.

I sat outside and talked with the kids. Really talked with them.
I listened and loved everything they shared.
They have such cute little ideas and ways of expressing themselves.
It was a wonderful day and I loved just wearing my 'Mummy Hat'.
These are moments I cherish and the distractions that come are not worth my time or effort compared to the love and joy I find in my children.