Friday, July 18, 2008


The girls have been invited to about 3 places this weekend and my response to the invites gives me pause. Read on if you enjoy my private therapy sessions with myself.

I've been trying to analyze my habit of being home more than "out and about". I am realizing that I'm home more than anyone I know, and I like it that way, but it tends to collide with other people's plans sometimes. It also makes me feel a little backwards, so I'm blogging about it to work it out in my own mind. Keep in mind working part time paired with school in the mornings takes up a lot of time.

First to consider are the logistical aspects of me getting out. I have five children here, essentially a set of 2 year old twins (my cousin's Adri is only 6 weeks older than my Jay). If we are out during Shane's work week, I'm the only adult. Being outnumbered is no fun in my eyes. I don't have a friend who's single, kid free, and ready to go run around at a moment's notice, so there's very little fun involved in the whole thing. Quite the opposite. My children have well thought out debates regarding who gets to sit where in the van. Even Jay has started fully rebelling against her car seat (to no avail, but with much spanking sometimes). Getting all the diaper bags and stuff (Polly Pockets, DS game, whatever) to the car and then back out once we get home is another chore I don't exactly cherish. You know that stuff grows while you happily (or not so happily) move on down the road. It takes 2 trips to get it all out!

Maneuvering around nap time is also a challenge. We don't go by strict schedules, but the babies sleep until roughly 10ish and then go back down in the afternoon. It ain't pretty to mess up a 2 year old's nap-and surely it is miserable to mess up two 2 year olds' naps.

So, how about just running a child or two to another person's house for a few hours? Sounds great and very normal. Yet my first thoughts are to reject this idea at all costs. I know part of this is totally my own issue (yet I don't really know why yet).

This is what has really made me think about my home-habit. What I've come up with so far is that we are really busy at home. (What is everyone else doing? How do y'all have time to spare???) We are still doing some light school work most week day mornings. When we're working through a family read aloud, that's an evening thing, so one of the older girls being out means no reading that night. Karate 2 nights a week and life group takes 3 nights out in a row for family reading. Maybe I work my kids too hard (I doubt it though), but they have responsibilities at home. Keeping Adri is mostly their job, they have animals to tend to and we work throughout the day at keeping the house semi-clean. Our biggest pursuit right now is to keep Jay from biting Adri. This takes man power and when my men, ahem, girls, are out, I feel the loss.

Also, there's always the after effects of an older sister being gone. I guess because we homeschool they aren't really used to one sister being gone while they have to be home. While I completely understand that at times it's very appropriate for only one girl to be invited somewhere, I catch a lot of flack from the sisters who have to stay home.

So, to tally that up, it means I'm left with one less big girl helper and the ones left behind whine to me and bite each other. Sounds peachy, huh?

The ironic thing is, I don't necessarily love being home. If given a choice of a day at home with Shane or a day running errands, exploring the town's little shops, and hanging together, I'd easily choose the out and about day-with no children :) I don't have a home I relish being in all day, but it is the easiest way for us.

Even the entire family going somewhere fun for the day is a huge sacrifice-it takes up many of the few precious hours we get with Daddy and our ongoing need-to-get-done list only gets longer. It has to be a really great thing for all involved or it probably won't happen. Not that we're slave drivers and stay home to get things done every weekend, but without a husband home & able to do stuff in the evenings, it's just reality that we end up hanging around the house on his weekends-both the get stuff done and just to enjoy each other in our own environment.

As I re-read what I have tried to explain, I realize it's pretty much all about me! I don't like the hassle of taking a car full of kids all around town, I don't like being left with the ankle biters, and I don't like our to-do list being neglected. I have agendas for most days and I want to stick to them (rarely happens perfectly). So, is it just "how I do it" or is it selfishness?

Just and edit to add that I was talking to a friend on the phone this morning sharing my little struggle about this and she and I touched on the aspect of it being a totally different dynamic taking your 11 year old to a friend's when I also have little bitty ones in tow. Most people have kids in a closer age range. Not sure this makes a difference to anyone but me, but there ya go ;)


Luke said...

I'm guessing it's a little bit of both. And I think that's okay. It would very bad if you developed a martyr complex: I have to do this for my kids... woe is me! [smile]

So, sure, do what you can get the kids out and about, but when you don't: Give yourself a break. There is no point in coming down hard on yourself when you choose to not do something because you don't want to hassle with it. That would defeat the purpose.

I'll stop interrupting your personal therapy session now. Sorry for barging in. [smile]


Wendy said...

Oh my. I'm totally going to be mature and refrain from saying anything silly about THE Luke Holzmann commenting on one of the lamest posts I've ever posted.

For you non-Sonlighters, the Holzmann family created the curriculum that is nearest & dearest to our family's heart. Our kids have sent John & Sarita Holzmann (Luke's parents) Valentine's cards and we're so thankful for their dedication to providing excellent products & services.

I'll also pretend to forget that since I'm an affiliate of SL's, Luke could just be letting me know he's watching what I say here... ;)

Janet said...

I think you have a very healthy homelife. You are teaching your girls valuable things at home. Although an occasional outing is good for all, it IS ALOT OF WORK for mom. Plan time for the big ones every few weeks or so to visit a friend...give them some independence. But don't feel guilty about keeping a (semi) routine at home, for your sanity and, that's where the good stuff really happens...And Miss All About Me, these are not YOUR therepy sessions, they're all of ours!! We all struggle with stuff and when you talk (write) it out we all benefit!

Wendy said...

Thanks Janet, you helped me with a lot of free therapy this morning :) Love ya!

Summer said...

I know that if I were doing school in addition to keeping my home and family happy, I would probably never leave the house. And I also think that most of us moms are probably "out and about" way too much due to selfishness...We don't want to be stuck at home all the time, and our poor kids just have to tag along. So I think you are perfectly justified and shouldn't feel any guilt whatsoever in being a keeper at home. I guess my only concern would be, like Janet said, making sure that the bigger girls do still have a chance to do things they may want to do every once in a while, even if it means the little ones (and you!) have to sacrifice. And I personaly think that you do a great job...we all have to work it out (lol) and figure out what works best for our individual families as a whole. I stay at home more than I ever thought I would, but my home is more peaceful when I do (and I too wonder how certain people have so much spare time, of course you could be talking about me idk lol)

Wendy said...

Thanks Summer-I trust you to be balanced about this. And no, I wasn't talking about you at all. I picture you being home a lot, in your peaceful little home. I wasn't talking about any one in particular, I just know a lot of moms are busy running around a lot. One mom we know who struggled with this said it was an escape for her, but like you the escape just brings me more work when we get home.

Jennifer said...

Ok, I fear this is going to be long because I'm long winded today :) I too have been dealing with the exact same topic lately, but with a few different details associated with it. Being a mom of one is different than a mom of 4 or 5, but the principles can still be the same however. Joey and I love to be social and we try not to miss anything! If there is a party, we're there. Even with three foster kiddos in tow, it didn't stop us from serving, fellowshipping, hanging out, etc. They went wherever we did. Honestly, it wasn't that big of a hassle for us though. Yeah, we had to pack a diaper bag and other goodies to make life easier, but for us it was worth the efort to have adult time and the much needed fellowship. Now, when Libby was a newborn, we had to say no to some things because nighttime was her fussy time and it was a hassle to take her out. We just had everyone at our house instead and then I could just put her down at home. Now that she is older, she is so easy to take out and we never have to turn down an invitation. We take our pack n play and we put her down when she's tired. We bring her pj's and then get her entirely ready for bed before we lay her down then when we get home, we just get her out of her car seat and put her right into bed. So easy. That's one of the reasons we have trained her the way we have because honestly it makes our life and the other's life easier that have to keep her. We have trained her to sleep anywhere and in anything. She will sleep in her crib, her pack n play and my mom's port a crib. It does make it easier when we have to go places. I'm not necessarily all about ease, but some things we do for their benefit also. Now, we just say "Let's go night night" and we lay her down and she goes right to sleep. That solves our nap issue when we go somewhere. My discontendness being home comes from being so used to working for my mom and having adult coversation all the time and there is always something going on around there that you never get bored and there is always someone to talk to. The last couple of weeks I have found myself not wanting to be at my home because it's so quiet and not enough action going on. I have had to pray about this and ask the Lord to change my heart. Don't get me wrong, I love being a stay at home mom, but sometimes I need a change in my week. As much as I love routine, I need a break from it sometimes or it just gets plain boring. Know what I mean? Now to your situation, there are things I would have to say no to if I had 4-5 children. If you're going to be a homeschooling mom, a wife, amongst other hats you have to wear, it would be unwise for you to be running the roads all the time. You would be neglecting your duties as a wife and mother. There is a balance and only you can determine where that is. Balancing having family time, ministry, friends, etc. can sometimes be hard. As a mom, you have to let your girls do some things or they will hate being at home. You don't have much me time anymore, so letting your girls out now and then might stretch you a bit for a while, but if you know it's coming, maybe you can plan accordingly for extra sitters (Shane's mom, your mom, etc. )or just rough it for a while until they return. I know your girls work hard when they are at home helping out with housework, babysitting, etc. so just look at it as they are getting a break too when other's ask them to do things. A breather so to speak. Much like we mom's have to have a break, so do kids. Sometimes kids need to be kids for a time. Wow, this had turned out to be long. Maybe I should just blog on it. Anyhow, just pray and ask the Lord where the balance is for you and what you should say yes or no to. When Jaika gets a little older it will be a little easier. Maybe when baby Audrey gets here, maybe you could train her to sleep in a bed also...maybe during nap times or something so when you find yourself wanting to be socialble, it will be easier for you. Just a suggestion. Hope it makes sense to you. Sorry it's so long. You're not selfsih...just practical.

Anonymous said...

Hey, give yourself a break! You guys "go" a lot. I have the same issues and I only have 2! And, neither of mine take naps anymore...though I sometimes wish they would. LOL

Put stuff on the calendar, but don't overwhelm yourself.


Wendy said...

Jennifer, you had some very good points. Your post triggered some other things I've been thinking about.

As I think about my kids' point of view and them being able to have a break, I think we're good there. They're with my mom once a week or so, they have karate, their own SS classes, friends at Life Group, and then they go to the church childcare when I'm at work. Of course, we occasionally have a friend over or they go to a friend's house...we did 4-H and baseball...

When I talk about the babies' naps, it not really that we can't put Adri or Jaika down, it's that we're out in the car or something and they won't get a full, regular nap.

The work involved changes when the youngest isn't a baby anymore. Jaybird lives life to the fullest (even if it means a periodic call to Poison Control) and is just very, very busy. It's not easy to socialize while making sure she doesn't get herself in trouble. It's just often easier to stay home where life is more baby proof.

I often try to weigh the benefits of the activity to the older girls verses the cost to the youngers. The younger ones usually get the short end of the stick-like being in the Ergo for several hours late into the night so the big girls can play summer ball. I don't want to hold the big girls back just because they have younger siblings. However, I can't always also let them be gone throughout the day at friends' houses or it just messes too much stuff up.

I hope that makes sense. This topic really wasn't all that serious to me (I have some big daddy issues I'm trying to figure out), but it has turned out to be very thought provoking.

Thanks for your great input, Jennifer. Don't apologize for length :)

Summer said...

lol when I read what you wrote about your "busy" Jaika, it instantly made me think of my Grayson. With one like that, you can just throw out all of your plans, cause it's all about them! They sure make livin' interesting, don't they?
I wanna hear about your "big daddy" issues!? heheehehee

Wendy said...

Oh my, Summer. Grayson & Jaika...lets remember not to get them together alone, there's no telling what they might do. Poison Control, Smoison Control, we're talking jail time for someone!

Big Daddy issues (nice choice of wording, totally accidental): vasectomy, fertility..., moving-and where-our land or not, and immediately: sorting through a half million totes of girls clothes, finishing my last few weeks of work, sewing a very important apron.

Supermom2JakeAndEmmy said...

Er . . . last time I checked, I was home more than you are!! So there. Pppphhhtttt. . . . ;-p

Don't worry about not getting out. Girl, you have FOUR CHILDREN. You are about to have FIVE CHILDREN. Getting out of the house is no longer going to be just a hassel, it's going to be a miracle!!