The Lily Cafe is thrilled to present a funny and honest guest post by Chelsea Owens. She is the mother of 5 boys, and somehow has time to manage 2 blogs: I Didn’t Want To Be A Mother (a mom blog) and A Wife, My Verse, and Every Little Thing (her main blog). I’ve loved her blogs for the past couple of years and have been incredibly curious about how she manages. Lucky for me she agreed to do a guest post and wrote about just that! Please do enjoy it as much as I do and be sure to follow her blogs.
How Do You Do It With Five Kids?
by Chelsea Owens
Having children is no walk in the park. We parents know this, because even trying to walk in the park with children involves them disappearing, finding the only mud puddle, and making friends with strange dogs.
As such, I am sometimes asked how I do it with five children; with five boys. Honestly, I don’t. I have no plan. I know parents with plans. I also know parents who smile and get sleep at night, but that’s because their ‘baby’ is 32.
I can’t just chalk our survival up to chance, however. It is true that I don’t wing it as much as I joke; that I have a few things that make this crazy family work:
- I have help.
I’m a stay-at-home mother with a husband who brings the bacon, the bread, and the paycheck. He also brings in garbage cans. He’s not so hot at picking his shoes up and often leaves an empty box of cereal sitting on the counter, but I think I’ll keep him. Most of all, he’s an excellent role model and teacher for our children.
- I didn’t have all five children at once.
One of my relatives has triplets. Another birthed seven children in nine years (with a miscarriage in there, to boot). I had our first four about two or three years apart from each other, plus a caboose kid six years after my fourth. Let me tell you: only one in diapers is much easier than a Henry Ford assembly line of poopy bottoms.
- I’m addicted to chocolate.
Seriously; that stuff saves everything except my waistline. We’re working on that.
- I have a religious community.
We belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This explains the number of children we have, but also the support and encouragement we receive in our family-creating endeavors. Our boys get life and religious lessons from our friends at church, plus a solid foundation on which to build their future lives.
- I have a neighborhood community.
While I was pregnant and useless, the sweet lady on the corner invited my then-five-year-old over to ‘help’ her with gardening or housework once a week. Another took him shopping with her. Yet another had him over to play hide-and-seek with her five-year-old. Those ladies were invaluable.
- I have family.
Both my parents and my husband’s had us in their twenties, so they’ve still been around to do fun things with our children. We also have some siblings nearby, and some aunts and uncles.
- I have a list of cheap or free places to go.
From parks to splash pads to trails, we’ve got entertainment. This has gotten trickier as the boys have grown, since the older ones are too big for climbing structures or the ball pit at IKEA. Wintertime is difficult as well; there are only so many times we can pick tags off the floor of Ross or Burlington.
- I know how to budget, shop, and cook.
I used to strictly monitor all spending, putting expenditures into specific categories in a spreadsheet. Lately, I don’t even have time to use the bathroom, so spending has just been ‘careful.’ I plan meals, use leftovers, and fix inexpensive dinners. I rarely make extravagant or time-consuming dishes.
- If we eat out, we go for cheap.
Costco, anyone? Their $5 chicken is a steal; so is their $10 pizza that could feed Big Foot. For Chinese, we’ll do two or three 2-entree meals from Panda Express. Before the boys were older, we’d split In ‘N Out hamburgers and fries between everyone.
- I hand things down, buy things used, or look for deals.
The world has too much waste, anyway; why not reuse and reduce with kids’ clothing? We shop at a thrift store, at consignment shops, and on the clearance racks of name-brand stores. Things like coats and boots can always be purchased ahead. Things that live through one boy can be handed down to his brother.
- I have a high tolerance for annoying things.
Say, like children. I’m not impervious, of course, but can stand several rounds of “Baby Shark” before I snap. It’s catchy.
- I don’t sleep.
Seriously. I mean, when else can I finally mop the floor?
- I delegate the housework.
This takes setting up, and follow-through, and threats, and sometimes yelling, and often my being in the closet by the time my husband comes home, eating the Halloween candy I finally found and asking him why oh why did we have children? Other days, the kids get their chores done quickly and thoroughly. All’s right with the world and I pat myself on the back.
- I really try to be consistent and firm.
There’s a fine line of parenting. I am certain I cross it one way or the other every time an issue arises. Still, I almost always follow through with a consequence or maintain a hard line I’ve set. It’s meant climbing up play places at McDonald’s because the kids ran away, driving away from the house when I’ve told them I’m leaving, and going to bed when they’ve refused to eat for a full half hour.
- Most importantly, I love my children.Honestly, I fail at adequately expressing this. I know that I love my boys unconditionally, but they assume my affection to be directly related to their behavior. Granted, I feel a surge of affection when they’re calmly sleeping. This is opposite to what I feel when they’ve got a brother in a headlock.
That’s all I can think of for now. I didn’t ever picture myself mothering five children; five boys. I’ve got them now, though, so I’m trying my darndest to raise them right. Someday, this world will be theirs. I hope they’ll know how to care for it and will make children of their own for the next generation of earth-stewards.
Thank you so much, Chelsea!
I hope you enjoyed her post as much as I did, and please do check out both of her blogs.
The author of this post, Chelsea Ann Owens, retains all rights to the guest post published above, which may not be copied, reproduced, modified, sold, or distributed without the author’s express permission. To contact Chelsea Ann Owens to request permission to utilize the above guest post, please send your inquiry to Kat via the Contact page.