We became a big family suddenly through foster care—growing by 3 kids in 5 months and doubling the number of children in our home. Not long after, we added one more to our crew through our second international adoption, rounding out the total to 7 children. Growing up, I wanted to be a mom, but I didn’t anticipate I’d be a mom to 7! Parenting has its unique challenges. Parenting children who have experienced trauma has its challenges. And parenting 7 children comes with its own level of chaos. I can say for certain that I don’t do it perfectly; I’ve learned some tips and tricks along the way. So, if you’re like me and trying to create order in your home and need new strategies, this one is for you. You don’t have to be a mom of 7 to implement these tips. Choose what’s right for you and your family. I had the chance to share this message at The Replanted Conference last fall, but I want to let you in on it, too. We are better when we share with one another.
HERE ARE MY 3 TAKEAWAYS FROM OUR CONVERSATION:
1. Take the thinking out of the day to day tasks.
I find myself repeating the same things over and over each day. When the sixth child asks me, “What’s for dinner?” I could lose my mind! It’s not necessarily that child’s fault, but they don’t know that their siblings have already asked me. As much as I can post schedules and reminders, I do. Then, I can point them to where it’s already posted, or better yet, they know where to go with their question to begin with. Creating routines and systems that are repeatable allows me time to enjoy my kids instead of getting frustrated.
“I love a good system because the less energy I spend thinking about those tasks that happen over and over, the more I can actually give of myself to our kids.”
2. Make sure your kids are uniquely seen and heard.
It’s easy to get lost in a crowd. I’ve talked to a lot of adults who grew up in large families, and often they express how they felt like one of the pack. They did not feel like their parents really knew what was going on in their hearts. They had great sibling relationships, but they felt like their parents were too busy to notice them. I do not want this to be the story my kids tell others someday. It takes work to see and hear each child. Make eye contact and call each child by name as they head off to school. Rotate taking each child for a walk for 10 minutes, and allow each child to have space to talk uninterrupted. Share that you are thankful to be their parent. Plan a special date, and take turns with each child. Do something with each child that they enjoy.
“That has been my mission with my kids: I don’t want them to feel like one of the pack. I want them to feel uniquely seen and heard. I want them to know that Mom gets me and that Mom’s in my corner.”
3. Let your people be your priority.
When I’m stressed or overwhelmed by too much on my calendar, my family often gets the raw end of the deal. It’s a rough realization to make when it happens. I’m thankful—although it came with tears—that my husband called me out one summer. I was running from one thing to another. I allowed my schedule to be filled up with more meetings than anyone expected. I wasn’t spending as much time with my kids. I had to make a change. I had to make tough decisions to set some strict boundaries on other things. If you’re always running late, feeling more irritable or emotional than usual, your kids seem more needy or apathetic, you’re struggling to fall asleep, or generally feeling like you can’t catch up, it might be time to re-evaluate your priorities. How can you shift your current pace so that your family can become your first priority?
“Sometimes, we have to let other people down to keep our people, our family, a priority.”
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Meet Our Guest
Adoption, foster care, and advocacy were not part of Jami’s dreams for her life, but God changed her heart when He made her aware, and she is passionate about helping others become aware too! She and her husband Clint are parents to their seven children (five through adoption).
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