Motherhood is amazing. However, no matter how amazing it is there are still a few hurdles you have to overcome, which sometimes cause you to feel like pulling your hair out. One of the main problems I often hear about is the difficulty of rocking motherhood when you have multiple ages. In fact, it took me a long time to figure out how to spread myself out with just my four children much less all the little extras running around my house daily.
You see, Monday thru Friday I have 7 extra littles running around my house. Four of my own and three who…well, I’ve had in my home so long I forget they aren’t mine. The ages in my home range from 13 years down to 19 months. And here are a few things I have learned in the different areas of life, to help keep it all balanced and in check.
Tips on Housekeeping with Multiple Ages:
- Teach them to help clean up their toys. Our children have all started out with a little basket in the living room. When they were old enough to crawl to the basket and pull things out, I began encouraging them to put the toys back in when they were finished playing. This skill taught them to continually clean up after themselves and eventually led to cleaning other things.
- Encourage your younger ones to follow you. My children call this “being my shadow”. When they were about three, they began following me as I cleaned. I gave them a dry cloth, to begin with, and they helped “wipe” things down, they also helped “fold” laundry and other various tasks. They loved being involved and eventually, it taught them how to do all the things that needed to be done in the home. Currently, our 13 yr old can clean and maintain all our household duties except for balancing my checkbook. Not that we make him do it all but it does come in handy when I’m sick.
- Give up the idea of the perfectly kept home. Life is too short to think that when your children are little your home is going to be perfect. Instead just clean what you can. People expect to see toys on the floor when your children are little.
Tips on Maintaining Your Marriage with Multiple Ages:
- Connect with your spouse often. They want to know what is going on with your day as much as you want to know about their day and life outside the home. This is easily done in the evenings after the children are in bed.
- Make sure to make your needs known. Don’t try to handle everything alone. Instead, nicely express the things with which you need the most help. You are a team and as a team, you are in this parenting gig together.
- Have a regular date night in. I am all too aware that going out isn’t always an option. At the very least rent a movie, have a living room picnic or something together once a week so you can maintain your spark.
Tips on Maintaining Your Sanity While Parenting Multiple Ages:
- Wake up a little earlier to seek time with the Lord. I know it is hard, but that time alone with God before the day starts will help maintain a calming effect throughout the day.
- Take 15-30 mins a day to pursue a passion. Maybe it is writing, reading or just taking a bath in silence. Whatever it is…do it. It is so easy to lose yourself in motherhood, so pursuing your interests will help you maintain your own unique style.
- Allow yourself downtime. Maybe this requires a movie day, a trip to the park or an indoor dance party. Remember your children need a mom who is somewhat relaxed and present. If you are so concerned with all the tasks at hand, you will not have time to enjoy your children.
Tips for Homeschooling Multiple Ages:
- Combine what you can. Three of my children do science, history and Bible lessons together. They also do the fun subjects together like art, music, computer and Spanish. Of course, each child has their favorite and I encourage them all to explore their passion but this has helped me maintain my sanity.
- Allow older children to help tutor younger ones. Each day I do the lessons with each child. While they are doing their independent work, my oldest usually helps me with each child, only after he has finished his own work. This helps build a bond among the family and encourages them to help each other. This will also carry well into adulthood.
- Do harder subjects while little ones nap. This will ensure that you have some uninterrupted time to concentrate on the subject. It also ensures you aren’t constantly stopping and starting a lesson to deal with the younger one’s needs.
Parenting Multiple Ages can be hard, but in the end we can all rock it with a little planning. I pray these tips will be useful to you. I know they have helped me as I walk this journey through motherhood.
What are your best tips for rocking motherhood?