Operation Mom; from Nurturer to Coach

mamaI am a blessed woman. I have 9 children, From 15 months to 20 years old. For each of them I’m a different mom. Based on where they are in development, I meet their needs differently.

Dr feelGoodNurturer- My 15 month old   I’m very attentive, nurturing and act as a human bottle and jumping gym to him. I still wipe his nose and change his diaper. This age they are the cutest.I can dress him in whatever I want to with out any back talk. This part is indescribably beautiful and awful all at the same time.

 

 Instructor -My 3, 4, and 6 year old

I’m teaching and reinforcing the rules and introducing new ones. My main job is to start building their self confidence and other essential character traits.For instance the Fruit Of The Spirits, is a great source to use as a model. Right now is important because they still soak up anything and everything.I’m not wiping their nose as regularly,cleaning up all their mess or changing their diaper, But I’m directing them and offering just a little less help.DIGITAL CAMERA

The coach – the 13,14,and 15 year old

An exciting time for all!

These are the girls in the family. Luckily, boys aren’t the main thing on their mind right now! They are still learning about their body, eating to live, what it means to be a girl today, the hierarchy of our family ( I make sure they understand that they have a voice,but because I’m NOT their friend – they must remain in control of their emotions) exploring their God given gifts as sufficiency options and how to do their chores better, To me, this is the most expensive time as they are more into their looks. As they move toward more independence, I still support and protect them. At this point, heck no, I’m not clean up their mess!

The girls with their cousin, Rissa Roo during a night on the town.

The girls with their cousin, Rissa Roo during a night on the town.

The consultant- My 20 year old

This can be an overwhelming time! But if I’ve done pretty well in previous stages, this should be less stressful. My son is in his 2nd year of college,new relationships emerge between us. He still needs me. Just less.

He still makes messes. Just different types. I instruct less and just listen more.Yes, it’s very hard when he gets supper excited about his “Girl flavor of the month” or other possible,weekend choices. But with a GPA of 3.5, I gotta kick him some slack.

My 1st and last born on the campus of Hampton University.

My 1st and last born on the campus of Hampton University.

You’ll find that the phases of parenthood aren’t entirely measurable or scientific. The phases overlap each other; one phase begins long before the previous phase passes completely. And different children will demand differing degrees of flexibility in moving from one phase to the next.

At the end of the day, always do your best!

Wednesday Wow:Living Large!

A couple of nights ago, our family visited some friends from the old neighborhood. While all our friends are wonderful and interesting people, these particular friends are somewhat extraordinary. You see they too have 9 children and they currently live in a garage!

Now, before you feel sorry for them, hear me out.Next to this garage stands a house they are building from ground level up totally debt free. Unless you are independently wealthy (which they are not), this takes time. So, until the house is livable (next year, Lord willing), all 11 of them live in the garage.

This isn’t just any garage either. It is a 2-car garage with a miniature “apartment” at the back. It has a fully equipped kitchen, bathroom, & laundry room. The children share the most incredible space within this “apartment.” They sleep in bunks that, I must admit, even make me a bit envious! On floor level, there are two mattresses for the littlest girls and then a 2nd and 3rd level that sleeps 3 children a piece. A crib stands at the foot of this monstrosity for the 10 month old. My children thought they had stepped into the pages of Swiss Family Robinson! My oldest daughter even asked if when they left, could we please move in!

The kitchen also shares space with the living room/dining room/master bedroom/school room/office/library/pantry that makes up the front of the garage that will eventually house 2 cars–correction…vans–ummm….correction…busses (remember we’re talking 9 children here, with hopes of more!)

Now, the reason I am so awe-inspired by this family is not because they live in a garage. It is not b/c they have 9 children. It is not even because they are building debt-free (although all these things are truly awe-inspiring). What amazes me the most is the use of their space (and patience). You would think that the shear volume of things for a family of 11 would more than overload a normal garage, but everything had a place and things were kept tidied up. 

As I reflect upon our visit to their “home,” I am struck by one thing in particular–the lack of stuff (and their contentment). You know what I’m talking about–the things that just seem to clutter up a home. There were no tiny plastic toys lying all over the floor, there were no unnecessary items invading every inch of available space, and there was no tv which can easily take over the excess room in the home and the excess room in the mind. Here was a family with more than double the number in my family, living in a space that is less than half what I live in. Talk about humbling!

While Mrs. D doesn’t believe their household is as efficient as it could/should be and she is always looking for opportunities to pick the brains of women with larger families than hers (which believe me is not an opportunity that comes often!), I find myself watching her and her family and taking note of how they do things, what they buy, where they put things.  Most days around our home, it’s a well-orchestrated mess…

Do we have enough diapers?  Do we have snacks that will keep them from asking endlessly to eat out? Has everyone gone to the bathroom? Have they kept their water intake to a minimum?  Are we far enough away from or close enough to naptime so that no one will melt down?

Mealtimes now require that the older children pitch in because there is more to prepare which equals more to clean up. I could play the martyr and work myself to death, but I am truly blessed by how capable these two little people are. I am so thankful someone told me early on that little people are adults-in-training and can do way more than you realize if you just take the time to train them.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
~Psalm 127:4