One of the most common questions I have been asked over the years is: ” How do you handle it with EIGHT kids? I only have two, and it’s all I can do to keep my sanity!”
I have heard comments like that more times than I can count! People are just SHOCKED that I have eight children, and homeschooled them as well.
I always reply to their comments with “It wasn’t always easy, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world!”
Yes, raising and teaching children is a tremendous challenge and responsibility. It takes time, patience, discipline, and the willingness to sacrifice. But it is also the most rewarding task ever.
Some days the noise and confusion got to me, and I felt like I was going to go insane. However, at the end of the day when I looked back, I realized how blessed I was to be part of such a wonderful, crazy family!
I don’t claim to be an expert in parenting or homeschooling, but the Lord has taught me a few things over the years of parenting and homeschooling our kids – and I’ve learned a few things the hard way too!
So to answer the question, “How do you handle it with eight kids?!”, I’m going to share some suggestions that helped me.
1. Prepare your heart each day for your children.
It’s so important to have the right approach and attitude. If you start your day dreading what is about to come, you’re off to a bad start.
I know there were days when I prayed that God would show me how to love that difficult child, and He enabled me to greet him/her warmly in the morning, rather than thinking “Ugh. Why are you up already?!”
I tried to prepare myself mentally by acknowledging that there would probably be some attitudes to deal with, or fighting and arguing. There would more than likely be messes to clean up, and lots of questions to answer.
I asked God in advance to give me the wisdom I needed, as well as the patience and love I needed for each child that day.
I asked Him to help me to respond right. I don’t want to be short and snappy in my replies, or “bothered” by their requests. I wanted them to see God’s love and joy shining through me.
My goal was to set an example that would cause them to love the Lord more. It starts in my heart, and I learned that I needed to prepare my heart by seeking God in prayer, and through His Word.
2. Put your children and their needs first. (Not before your husband though!)
Parenting requires sacrifice.
It means you have to be willing to put down that book you really want to read, and spend time with the kids. You may not be able to stay on the computer as long as you’d like, and read all those wonderful blogs, or check in on Facebook & Pinterest.
Many of the things that I enjoyed doing were put on hold, or pushed aside for awhile. I knew I only had so many years to spend with my kids , and reminded myself that those other things could wait.
The joy of watching the little ones learn, or the smiles on their faces when I agreed to read to them or play with them was SO worth the “sacrifice”.
Sacrifice also may mean going without some of those “extras” that two income families have. My husband and I talked about this, and decided we would rather do without some things so I could stay home to teach, train, and enjoy the children.
Not everyone can do that, and I’m very glad I had that privilege!
Parenting is not about sacrifice; it’s about investment.
3. Schedule your time so you won’t be continually stressed.
Sometimes I got so caught up in trying to clean, prepare the school lessons, cook the meals, etc. that I had no time to stop and just enjoy the children.
Often I ended up fatigued, irritable, and not much fun to be around.
I remember one of the times when I was feeling stressed with all the things I had to do, as well as the things I felt that I was neglecting.
I sat down and made a list of priorities that needed to be in my daily schedule. It didn’t seem as overwhelming to me when I broke it down, and yet I was able to cover the important areas each day.
Even if I wasn’t able to give the kids as much time as I wanted to, it was better than days of allowing the busyness to keep me from spending time with them.
I encourage you to list your priorities, then schedule them. You don’t want to stay so busy working that you don’t take time to enjoy the process.
Kids grow up too fast, and those days will be over. Enjoy the time you have with them, whether it’s teaching time, working together, or playing together. (See a previous post with the song Please Take Time.)
4. Remember that parenting is a stewardship that you will answer to God for.
Those precious children actually belong to God, and you only have them for about 18 years to prepare them to be what God wants them to be.
No one else can do what you can for your children as their mother. You must remember that, and not neglect the responsibility.
You also can’t try to do it on you own. You MUST seek God for wisdom and strength!
Each child is so different, and has different needs, so it’s vital to seek God’s wisdom in preparing each of them for the purpose He has for them.
Of course ,your biggest goal should be to give them a heart for God, so they will not only be prepared, but also WILLING to do what God has planned for them.
Some days may be rough, but what an awesome privilege God has given us as mothers.
Never forget the saying: “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” If we don’t rear godly children, who will?[magicactionbox]
Hello fellow mother of 8! 🙂 So glad that you enjoyed the post, and that it came at a time when you needed it!
So glad to hear that this blessed you! Don’t you love how God shows you truths, and then sends confirmation of those truths
that He is showing you? Love hearing that you are enjoying your kids & your life!
So blessed by this! God just brought me to many of these truths in the past few weeks. I’ve heard them over and over but He made them real for me and now I’m ENJOYING my children and my life. Only 8 years in😉 and only 2 kiddos but recently I’d been overwhelmed and lossed. Thank you!
I really enjoyed this post. It was exactly what I needed to hear today. I am also the mother of 8 children so this post really spoke to me. Thank you!
Ha – I get you on that! I look back and wonder how in the world I made it through some of those days! So glad God gives us the grace and strength we need, when we need it!
I used to get a lot more comments about the number of kids we had when we were having bio babies. Now that we’ve started adopting, people have figured out that it’s not that we’re too dumb to figure out birth control, we’re actually doing this ON PURPOSE.
“I don’t know how you do it,” doesn’t bother me. Some days, I don’t know how I do it, either. Or I look back at different seasons and think, “My goodness, how did I juggle it all?”
Hi Rachel! Thanks for stopping in. I understand you feeling overwhelemd with a newborn! Just read your post on How to Thrive as a Busy Mom. Loved it!! Great post, with practical tips.
Thanks for sharing on your board.
Love this post!!! I only have six, but I can relate…still in the ‘feeling overwhelmed’ stage with a newbie (he’s only three months old), but it really is such a blessing, when you sit back & think about it 🙂
Pinning this to my large family board!
Rachael @ Diamonds in the Rough
Thank you Tia! Thanks for stopping in. 🙂
I love this list!! I was trying to find my favorite # and couldn’t because they are ALL wise words of wisdom! However, I think a lot of people forget about #4 “Remember that parenting is a stewardship that you will answer to God for.” This is one of the things that helps me to disciple our children’s heart toward Christ. It also helps me to remember Philippians 2:4 of putting others interest above our own. It is a short time that we will have our kids and God has entrusted His children to us for this short season for a very specific purpose. Therefore, we must “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16
Stopping by from Women with Intention 🙂
Thanks for stopping in, and for sharing the post on your page. Nice to “meet” you! 🙂
New follower today!! I agree wholeheartedly! Especially with #1.We have 7 children, I always get up before my family and study my Bible! I want to be prepared and do my best for them.Therefore I need God to do that! ..I shared this on my Large Family Living page.Thank you for sharing!
Thank you for these wonderful reminders – for those with 1 child or a whole house full!