Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Highs and Lows of a mother of 6

The last couple of weeks have been a little crazy around here.  For whatever reason, I am having a hard time lately keeping everything going as a Mom.

We are a preparing for a family trip in a few weeks, and some of my kids are seemingly bent on destroying my mental health before we leave.  A trifle overstated, perhaps....but you get the idea of how things are going around here.

Because of this, I've been thinking a lot about my kids and how having a bigger-than-average family amplifies everything that is good...but also everything that is bad...about family life.  I feel so mercurial as a Mom--one minute I'll feel like life could not possibly get any sweeter and then five minutes later find myself wondering what in the world I could have possibly done to deserve such frustration and pain.  You know?

I think the deal is that when you have more children, the highs are higher, but the lows are loooow-er.  

I feel like things in our family have been skewing low lately, but there have been some thrillingly wonderful things happening around the Smith homestead, too.  And so in the interest of fair reporting, here is a list, in no particular order, of some of our family's recent HIGHS and lows:
  • It is a high to watch little Lucy happily walking all over the place now, completely delighted with herself and her new-found abilities and freedom.
  • It was a low when my 12-year-old borrowed and broke the third camera I have bought in the last year.  I didn't even want to tell my husband because he has teased me about how many cameras (and strollers) I've bought over the course of our marriage.  When he came home that night and I 'fessed up, he joked, "You put your trust in the wrong people..." (since I have never broken or lost a camera--but the kids sure have). Indeed.
  • It is a high to be able to drive in the HOV lane almost all the time.  Because of all my cute kids, I am almost never in the car by myself and thus get to whiz by all the sad sacks who are in their cars all by their lonesomes.
  • It is a low that with all my bickering, opinionated kids in my car that I can rarely even hear myself think :).
  • It is a high to have an amazing 16-year-old who passed the driver's test the first time and is willing to drive his siblings places. Yeeeee-haw!!
  • It is a low that that same amazing 16-year-old will leave home in two short years to have amazing adventures without me.
  • It is a high that I finally finished painting two end tables for our living room.  Heirloom white spray paint (I had to wait a week between coats because our local store was out so I ordered online), new pulls....ahhhhh.  What a satisfying project.  They looked so much better and I was just getting ready to accessorize them when...
  • It was a low that I left my drill in reach of my four year old and he practiced drilling all over the top and front of one of my tables.  Yes, wood putty works and I had more paint.  But yelling at said four-year-old was an even lower low...sigh.
  • It is a high that I'm in the process of decorating Sophie's room.  I painted it as a surprise when she was at her grandmother's a few weekends ago, and I've been working on accessories (for starters: I made a pendant light out of a canning jar lid and some prisms from our dining room chandelier!  So easy and really cute, too).  She loves how the room is coming together and is so grateful and sweet.
  • It was a low when, in the midst of a discussion about chores, the same sweet Sophie screamed, "You hate me, Mom!  You don't even like me one little bit!" as she stormed up to her decorated room several days ago.  What?????!?  If this is the tweens, I am shaking in my boots for the injection of hormones and (more) attitude that the teens are said to bring.
I could go on (and on and on), but now I am wondering: what are your recent familial highs and lows?  Don't feel like you have to get too gritty ;), but please tell me I'm not the only Mom who feels like she's on top of the world one minute and in despair the next.


  1. Oh Erin, this is EXACTLY what I needed to read right now!  While we are not a 'large' family by numbers, we are  large in personality and I share your Highs/Lows :)  Detailing/recalling them all is ACCOUNTABILITY and proof of God's grace/mercy/love/forgiveness.  And by the way, you are a beautiful family! 

  2. Well, having "only" 4, and all of them potty-trained and in school a good chunk of the day (or they will all be in school once the jr. high two get going in Sept....) I think my lows may be evening out a bit, but I can CERTAINLY relate to the bickering in the car, the house, and everywhere else.  At first I thought it was only #1, but #2 is coming on strong lately w/ the bossiness and nosiness.  She needs to know what her little sisters are saying or doing all the time so she can correct them.  For example, the other day my 8 yr old was pretending to talk to her American Girl doll and #2 had to chastise her and remind her that dolls can't hear her and even if the doll WAS real, she would be 12 yrs old so why do you have her in a stroller like a baby?  Good grief!!  And of course, trying to get or keep the house clean is a joke, whatever the kids ages.  Son likes to eat in the family room, no matter how many times I tell him not to and spilled grape juice on our already lovely carpet.  He cleaned it up with.... water.  Yeah, that's brilliant.

    Highs?  Yes, the HOV lane is a good one.  Also, they help with dishes now and the two with pet fish have mastered cleaning the fishbowls for themselves, so I don't have to oversee that smelly chore anymore.  And our saintly 8 yr old left us a lovely homemade card for our wedding anniversary, urging us to have lots of hugs and kisses and "other cool stuff". Hmmmm....

  3. Brynn, it is good to know that some of my lows may be evening out a little in the future.  I know I've done it to myself since I actually wanted to have six kids all spaced out like this, but it doesn't mean it's always easy to be starting over with each stage every three years.  

    Ah yes--Gestapo siblings are another low we experience on a daily basis.  If I had a nickel (heck, even a penny) for every time I've said, "Worry about yourself..." I'd be able to hire a nanny squad Brangelina would envy ;).  Water against grape juice is a noble but ill-fated fight--poor guy.  LOVE the card with the encouragement towards "other cool stuff."  ;).

  4. Hey, I didn't know you had six children. Go you!! I have four - but I am one of seven. So, just to give you a boost, I have to say that I LOVED being part of such a big family. And I still love it - we all met up last weekend and there's just so much love and support. So keep going!! You sound as though you are doing GREAT!


  5. Erin . .  you are never alone when you are a mom.  We all go through the highs and lows . . . even when your baby is 27!!!  What is hardest for me right now is being in the Philippines.  Charlie moved to So. Cali the first of April and I had a real hard time because I wasn't there to help him.  But hd has done just fine.  About the same time, Patti moved all of her 'stuff' that has been in storage for ever, from Denver to her new apartment in Atlanta.  And I wasn't able to help her.  But I know that Heavenly father sees the kids needs and mine.  He gives each of us the strength to go on and rely on him for the help each of us needs. 
    You are an awesome mom with a beautiful family.  Enjoy every minute.  They grow up so fast!!!   KMiss you and your family!!
    Sis J aka Connie Jewkes

  6. High - the 3 year old has finally stopped screaming at high pitch every time things don't go his way

    Low - the 12 year old can almost rival the 3 year old with tantrums and tears.

    Yup, the highs and lows are happening here too.

    Jen in Oz

  7. Erin,
    Thank you so much for being brave enough to put this out there. There are so many days when I tell my husband how glad I am that we don't star on reality TV--so no one has to see those lows when I feel like a complete failure as a mother. Sometimes I feel like such a fake in blog land because I'm showing off a project while there's a complete disaster in the background (carefully cropped out of course). I always appreciate hearing from other women that "it's hard," "I struggle to keep it together some days," "I feel like the yelling mom instead of the nice mom." We need more post like yours to remind all of us that imperfect, uneven days prevail at times behind the polish of a project. But the one thing I think all of us share is the deep love we have for our children and families. We love them with all our hearts, try so hard everyday, and have to pick ourselves up after those 'low' days and try again. *hugs* from another mom of 6 who so gets this.


Please feel free to comment. I love to read what other people think!