time…she flies

May 3, 2016

With Peter, it wasn’t sleeping through the night, or weaning, or hilarious attempts at words…with Peter time has flown as I watch his siblings gather around him. They are so loving in their interactions. Not once (not even once) has there been jealousy or frustration in the need to accommodate this little person. Thirteen months in and he is the most loved, most favored person in our home.

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The funny thing about baby six, is how people ask if you are having more. When we had one, two, three, four, even five kids, there was a bit of judgement – “so you’re done now, right?” Now, the curiosity is more gentle, more wondering, “wow, do you think you’ll have more?” It’s like we’ve unlocked a new level of family size.

My answer, in case you’d like to know, is “what is one more when you have six?”

One more is just more fun, more laughter, ok – more diapers, too; but really, it’s more love to go around.

Let me run through the list of questions/comments I most hear…

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What about college? Um….I’m not sure how you can afford to pay for college for one child these days. I have friends still paying off college debt, who are now looking at going further into debt as their children head off to college. If my kids have the aptitude, the drive and the desire, they will go to college. Not because everyone belongs in/deserves to go to college (they don’t) but because that is  where they can best receive the training they need to fulfill what they are called to do.  I sincerely hope some of them go into trades or do technical training. We shall see and pray about it, in the coming years. We are also giving our kids what we believe is the very best education so that they are life long learners, which I think will serve them well regardless of the career path they follow.

What about your marriage? Married life is hard/amazing. Married life is hard/amazing with kids.13087807_10153646224643553_8879597608950532029_n Married life is not exponentially harder with more kids; it is, however, exponentially more amazing.  Having kids encourages, cajoles (forces) you to think about other’s needs. What is marriage if not death to self? I’m not talking about martyring yourself on the altar of marriage, but rather taking care of yourself in the context of giving to others. If we are supposed to truly love each other, parenthood to a full basketball team (with an alternate) is a great training ground. We work together and take care of each other. In doing that, we are also showing our kids the joys of marriage and family as well as how to handle the challenges. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t agree all the time. But our disagreements are respectful. Marriage is better with six than it was with three. Seriously. I’m really being serious.


What about “me” time?
I am the bedtime (for lack of a better word) Nazi. My kids go to bed and stay in bed at 7pm (Peter), 7:30PM (Jane & Maisie), 8:15PM (Ben & Harry) and 9PM (Gwen). The three bigs hang out with Ed at night, so after the three littles are down my nights are my own. (Often earlier than that as Ed like to do the bedtime routing with P, J & M, too.) So what do I do? Sometimes I go to sleep right after the littles. Sometimes I go out with friends. Sometimes I take an indecently long shower. Sometimes I read. Sometimes I paint furniture (a story for another time). Sometimes I stare blankly at Facebook and zone out. I also have a sitter two hours a week during the afternoon. In theory, the goal is for me to not run errands; in reality, I run errands.

IMG_1264I could never have that many. Well, I certainly would find it challenging to have 6 kids dropped on me all at once, too. We got into this incrementally. It makes a big difference. No one gets up and runs a marathon; we were in a parenting program known as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 THEN 6.  Sometimes people mean they literally cannot/could not have kids. Infertility is no joke and my heart goes out to you. As I have been blessed with the other end of the fertility stick, I won’t offer advice, only my prayers, my shoulder and some tissues.

You seem so calm. OOOOH I love this one. I am calm most of the time. If I freaked out at every mishap I’d be a total basket case. But the mishaps do pile up on some days and on those days I am a basket case. You probably won’t be a witness to those moments as I generally do  not go out with six kids when the merde hits the fan. For instance, I just looked over into the next room and saw this. No lie. Clearly doing his Pigpen impression.IMG_1333

***interlude for sweeping floor, cleaning baby, placing chairs in front of potted plants***

Ok, I’m back.

AND YOU HOMESCHOOL THEM?! Yes. The idea of packing nine bajillion lunches and backpacks gives me  hives. The idea of homework after a full day of school gives me hives. The idea of the social education offered by the “village” gives me hives. Hives. Actually, we home school because we are able to provide them with an amazing education. They are socialized. Any weirdness that is currently there, would be there if they were in school. I mean really, we all knew weird kids in school; home schoolers do not have the monopoly on weird.

My coffee cup is empty and my little girls are ready for their reading lesson. If I missed a burning questions you have about life with six, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer.

I should add, I really don’t  mind when people make comments/ask questions. 99% of the time, folks are curious or surprised. The other 1% meh – who cares? So ask away. I’ve declared 2016 the year of not being offended. We take offense too easily. So ask me your questions. I don’t mind!

 

 

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Michelle May 3, 2016 at 10:57 am

Love this family!!!!! Sierra, you are amazing!!!

2 Beth May 3, 2016 at 4:37 pm

Nicely written! You make it sound easy and fun!

3 Karen May 3, 2016 at 11:04 pm

Sierra, You and Ed are awesome parents with a lovely, talented and very smart family. I tell my CA friends about knowing several families with 6 kids (mostly in defense of 4 and since CA seems to advocate only 2) and they are shocked. Now, I can recommend that they read your Actual Mom blog. Your story is amazing. Wishing you all the best.

4 Kasey May 5, 2016 at 11:03 am

I love seeing updates on your family! Glad everything is going well.

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