Nov 6, 2009

Horde Momsmanship

So as the mom (suddenly) of lots of kids close in age, I have learned (painfully) a few things.

1) The dull roar just is. I remember when I was a teen, constantly listening to angsty rock music... if I could stand the noise then, I can stand it now. And I have to.

2) Kids have this little heirarchy-- The role of Oldest, Best at ______, Fastest at _______, etc etc etc. Everyone wants to Be the Oldest, in the sense that they want Mom to trust them with responsibility. I've learened, instead of giving all the real responsibility to just my oldest, to instead give everyone a "job" when I need, for instance, babysitting while I am in the next room taking a abath. Loli is the one who watches Squirt, Bella is in charge of turning on the movie, May is going to make sure the house doesn't get messy, and Jaws will find everyone a blanket to sit and watch the movie-- just an example. Giving everyone jobs keeps kids from becoming contentious and resenting each other for being "in charge" of each other.

3) They Have To Clean Up Their Own Messes. It just doesn't work any other way. My house would either be a continuous hazardous waste zone, or else I'd be cleaning all day. Thus: strict enforcement of the policy. yes, you do get in trouble if you aren't cleaning up when mom asks you to. Big trouble!!!

4) I've had to develop a really good memory about "turns." For instance, today when I pulled into the grocery store parking lot I had to remember that two days ago, Jaws and May got to sit in the little shopping cart car, so it was Bella's and Loli's turn this time. This is very very important to kids. Like, so important you're not going to be able to go shopping, you'll have little angry demons pulling on your cart and whining and purposefully ticking the others off and generally making life impossible for you without 'really doing anythign wrong' the whole trip. I call it "being pissy" because I haven't found another, more diplomatic way to describe it. Pissy just sums it up so well.

5) Secret mom treats are now nonexistent. This many kids... there's no way to hide the brownie you bought for yourself because you feel like you need it after "what you just went through." So you have two options: Either buy a brownie for everyone, or admit selfishiness. Eg: yes, this is for mommy. No, you may not have some. yes, I know it's not fair. Too bad. I'm the Mom.

(ha! Nobody turn me in to CPS, OK?)

6) Quiet time, (brief periods, spent by yourself, in a room with locked doors that you can hear pretty well through) is not an indulgence, it's a need. Just every once in a while. a ten-minute break periodically throughout the day. Does wonders for my sanity.... I can recharge and readopt the pleasant, "no you may not tone" instead of continuing in the "wicked witch of the west, I'll get you my pretty, if you ask one more time" direction.

7) I find I love life a whole lot more if I Find time each day to Revel; to take a couple of my kids and individually spend some time just talking to them... even just for a few minutes. Or listening to them talk to you, and allow yourself to well up inside with the joy of their cuteness, smartness, hilariousness, and overall goodness.

8) For me, Humor does a lot for stressful situations. Laughing is much more productive when things are spilled, accidentally broken, or any other thing that happens. But if you don't feel particularly humorous, another thing that has worked for me is realizing the worry/startled feelings my child is experiencing when she/he has an accident, instead of focusing on my own, irritated, weary-of-cleaning-up feelings.

That's all for now. I'm sure there will be many more, painfully-learned lessons to try to gather under my belt in the coming years. These ones have helped...

but the biggest thing has been chocolate. Chocolate really can solve any (small) problem. Anyone have any? Pretty please?


merrilykaroly said...

No, I don't. But I wish I did. Okay, there's the rest of jr.'s Halloween candy, but I feel guilty when I eat it. And there's the chocolate chips in the freezer, but I'm not allowed to eat them unless I put them in chocolate chip cookies. Hmph. Then there's the off-brand chocolate syrup if you want chocolate milk (not the same as eating a candy bar though) or the hot fudge that can go on ice cream. Can you tell that I know where every ounce of chocolate is in my house? I could really use a Snickers. Mmmm.

I love reading about the way you raise your kiddos! Please keep the great ideas coming. (It also helps me gain some perspective that really, two kids is going to be nothing compared to how many kids some people are perfectly capable of having in their home. I hope I'm one of those people eventually.)

merrilykaroly said...

and I just made me a glass of chocolate milk. after so much talking about chocolate, I couldn't help myself.

the nice one said...

5 and 6 are words to live by! the presidents new thing is "that's not being honest" any injustice in the world falls in to that category. mom gets candy "that's not honest" dad says no to ice cream "not honest", it's raining so we can't go for a walk "not honest" having to eat their dinner "not honest"it's pretty funny. needless to say we're working on the true meaning of honesty

David L said...

We'll have chocolate and pizza tomorrow night, so HOLD ON!!!

Most of this applies to Courtney so well, except the chocolate. She does, however, bake non-sugar cookies at least once a week.

David L said...

Oh, and if I might add one more thought....

For about six months now, we've instituted a mom's night out every week. Every Wednesday for about an hour, Courtney gets to leave and go do what she wants, whatever she wants. She normally just goes to the library, for a walk, or to the store, but that one hour is the best thing for her. It's also good for me to take the kids.

NoSurfGirl said...

MMMM... chocolate milk. Dairy+chocolate. Who invented such a perfect food???
I bought some Steven's Belgian Dark Hot Chocolate at the store today. IT was 4 bucks. I don't care. :)

Aleisha Z. Coleman said...

thanks for commenting on my blog about my honey. i thought i would respond here, wasn't sure how often you'd get back to my blog. anyway, didn't get stung, hardly ever get stung and when i do it is my fault for not paying attention. there are many strategies to not getting stung and really the girls (most honey bees are girls) don't want to sting you. beekeeping is AWESOME and I could really go on and on. hopefully next year i will have more and more honey and then i can sell you some of that yummy honey, if you'd like, of course. but since this year is an establishing year, it is about getting strong hives. aleisha

Jayne said...

Send me your address on email (, and I'll make sure you get some chocolate.

Loved reading all of your helpful hints. The first one made me think of my daughter. She has four young children, the oldest of whom is 6. She says that sometimes she'd give anything for one minute of silence.I reminded her that one day they'll all be gone, and she'll have a lot of quiet moments, more than she'll probably want.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I normally don't leave comments but I just thought I'd let you know that this blog is great. I write too, but I can't
write as well as you do. Here are some of my writings. If you want to look at them, if not it's ok. anyway, thanks.

Stihl Chainsaws
Morocco Blogs

Anonymous said...

Hey thanks for all the great information on this blog. I don't have a blog yet but I'm writing for a website right now. I'm just very new to
the blogging and Internet writing thing, but if you want, you can check out some of my articles! Thanks a lot and I hope we can become
blogging buddies sometime when I start a blog.

Choosing a Chainsaw
World of Warcraft