As part of my MegaMom interview series where I pepper moms of large families with every question I can think of, Milehimama has some great thoughts on having support. She has a great blog called Mama Says… that’s definitely worth checking out, and as a mother of seven children under the age of nine she’s certainly qualified to answer my questions about running a large household! You can see my previous interview with her here. (Also, I have some questions out to other moms as well, so look forward to those).
Q: Are you able to handle it all on your own, or do you rely out outside help from family or other caregivers?
I’ve relied on family a lot, but right now (and frequently in the past) do not have a lot of extended family support. Of course my husband is here though!
When God gives you children, He gives you the grace and means to care for them. Sometimes and in some seasons of life, that means doing it all yourself. Sometimes it means letting others help (hey, they need to perform works of mercy too!) Sometimes it is reprioritizing, and letting go of our own perfectionism and realizing that only He is perfect.
I never could do it all on my own. I didn’t get married in the Church (sacramentally) until after baby #4 was born. The graces from the Sacrament of Matrimony really do make a big difference! It wasn’t a huge, major change for us, but more like 1,000 different teeny tiny graces making 1,000 teeny tiny insignificant things easier, or non-issues, or a little attitude shift.
When I get overwhelmed, I think: God made these children specifically with these personalities, and placed them deliberately in this family as the best way for them, and me, to achieve holiness. He doesn’t call us to be holy DESPITE our work as moms, it is THROUGH our work as moms.
Also, this thought cheers me up: “At least I’m not Amish. I don’t have to make my own soap.”
I would definitely rather be near my family, though! It is wonderful for emergencies, when you need someone to help out quick; and also family gatherings. I think it is useful and good for children to learn that other homes have rules that must be followed, as they will at Aunt’s house or Grandma’s house. Extended family also do things like take one, or two boys on an adventure (my dad took my sons on the LightRail public train when they were 6 and 7. They loved it! But I probably would never have taken all of the kids for a ride on it!)
Our family life is pretty much centered around the WHOLE family. We do most things all together, no babysitters. Our current “dates” are watching DVD’s and eating Sonic. I would like to go out more, and I know my husband is dying to see Spiderman 3, etc. on the big screen, but we don’t have a sitter around here so, that’s a sacrifice we make.
May you be filled with His peace,