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Old 07-07-2014, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Question What is it like to have multiple children?

Hi, I am a college student doing a project on what it is like to be a parent with multiple small children. I hope to get some input and feedback from anyone willing to respond.

How many children do you have? - what ages?

As a parent, what is your/your child's schedule like on a daily basis?

What difficulties do you run into on a daily basis? What is a constant or persistent struggle for you?

Do you have any organizational products that you use that make your life easier?

What needs to be better organized (in your/your child's life), but you have not found a system that works (or works well) for you yet?

Thank you for your time
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:16 PM
 
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Hello bradlenl,

I have four children, ages 8, 6, 4, and 3.

Our schedule is fairly loose. We wake up, pray morning prayers, eat breakfast, put dishes in the sink, and start school work and other chores.
At lunchtime (around 11) we pray grace, eat lunch, put dishes in the sink and my children get a break to play while I wash dishes and sweep the floor.
More schoolwork in the afternoon along with lots of playing. We usually eat a snack between 1:30 and 3:30.
At dinnertime (around 5) we pray grace and eat. If the weather is not threatening we'll go outside before dark, and on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays they all take baths (girls then boys).
Every night we pray the rosary a half hour before bedtime along with night prayers. Then comes brushing teeth and bedtime.

Difficulties include getting them to clean up after themselves (and preventing major messes in the first place by hiding scissors and using sippy cups for example) and breaking up fights.

My planner helps me keep track of appointments.
It would ordinarily be here http://miqcenter.com/shop/books/books-calendars but I guess it'll be there in a few months.

I also use "chore charts" which have a long list of things each child needs to do each day where I check off what they've done. When they finish all of their schoolwork and other chores they earn a "bitcoin" (not really a bitcoin that's worth anything, just a little plastic coin that my husband brought home from a conference) that they use to pay for dessert and snacks.

What needs to be better is clutter and mess control.

May God bless you and His Blessed Mother Mary keep you!  :-)

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Old 07-22-2014, 11:58 AM
 
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Hi! I have two boys (two and almost four; they're 21 months apart) and am possibly thinking of having a third child eventually.

We're pretty relaxed with our schedule. We get up and the boys will usually watch a half hour of TV (PBS or a dinosaur documentary for my dino-obsessed preschooler) while I drink coffee and try to wake up. Then we'll have breakfast and get dressed and the boys play while I clean up the kitchen and throw in some laundry. They then help me pick up the living room and we usually leave the house (play date, children's museum, zoo, pool, library, etc. We have zoo and museum memberships, which cuts down on the cost and makes it affordable for us.). I have very little patience for hanging out in the house all day, especially in the summer since we live in Minnesota and tend to be trapped in the house for most of the winter. I'll either bring lunch for us to eat while we're out, or we'll come home and have lunch. In the afternoon we will often do something fun and crafty (painting, sensory bin-type stuff, etc) or play in the backyard and work in the garden, or we'll run errands. The boys might watch a bit more TV or play while I do more housework and start dinner. When my husband gets home he plays with the boys while I make dinner (he's much better at the imaginative play type stuff like pretending to be superheroes or playing dinosaurs, and I enjoy cranking up the music and cooking in peace!). After dinner the boys and my husband usually play a bit more and clean up their toys, or the boys get baths if they need it, and he gets them ready for bed while I clean up the kitchen and dinner dishes. Depending on the time I'll often try to sneak in a shower, and then we put the kids to bed. If all goes well my husband and I will have some time to ourselves before we go to bed.

I think this schedule works well for us because my kids are so close in age and it's pretty easy to keep them entertained by the same thing. Also, they usually get along and play well together, but as they get older that's getting more challenging.

This is all very best case scenario. If any of us are sick, or didn't get enough sleep the night before, or something else goes wrong, the entire schedule tends to go down the drain. My husband also works a second job a couple days a week, in which case it's just the boys and me from morning until bedtime, which can be exhausting and frustrating (although I really do appreciate my husband working so hard for our family). The winters here can also be a huge struggle. It take a long time and a lot of work to get two small kids ready to go out when there is three feet of snow and a wind chill of -25 F. Staying home all day drives me crazy and saps my energy, but it can be hard to get motivated to spend an hour getting out the door.

I have a calendar where I keep track of appointments and whatnot, but other than that I'm not the most organized person. I'm planning on homeschooling when my oldest reaches kindergarten-age, so organization is something I need to start working on. I tend to develop a lot of organizational systems, then let them fade away within a week. I can see this becoming a bigger issue as my kids get older.

My main focus right now is finding a better system for meal planning and grocery shopping. I'm very disorganized in that department and it's costing us extra money that we can't afford to waste.

Hope this helps!

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Old 07-22-2014, 01:17 PM
 
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How many children do you have? - what ages?

Twins, age 16 months.

As a parent, what is your/your child's schedule like on a daily basis?

We wake up around 8am. I let them wake me up and then they watch a TV show and drink bottles while I get ready for work. Then I try to get them ready, too. My husband gets home from working nights at 8:30am and we ideally all leave at the same time. I go to work and he takes the girls to day care. Then he goes home to sleep. He wakes up around 5pm and picks them up. We all get home around 5:30 and eat dinner. Sometimes we spend the evenings at home and other times we go to the mall, the water park, parks, restaurants, museums, etc. The twins go to bed around 8:30pm and I go to bed around 10pm. My husband goes to work at 11:30pm. Fridays the twins stay home with Dad. Saturdays we all spend the day together. Sundays my husband has to sleep because of his work schedule so I take care of the twins. We try to get out in the morning and they nap around noon. Then my husband gets up around 3pm and we run errands, go to a family dinner, etc.

What difficulties do you run into on a daily basis? What is a constant or persistent struggle for you?

Getting ready for the day. Getting three people dressed and ready to go out the door is very crazy for me. Often I'm late to work because I just wait for my husband to come home and rescue us. If I, AHEM, got up earlier this obviously would help a lot. Nap time alone is a challenge, but it's getting easier. Packing up supplies I'll need while I'm out is stressful. Especially while the kids are upset and wanting to get out of the house. Most everything else feels manageable.

Do you have any organizational products that you use that make your life easier?

I like to keep the bags packed as much as possible. But I don't have specific products that I use.

What needs to be better organized (in your/your child's life), but you have not found a system that works (or works well) for you yet?

Better bags, transportation. We use a wagon instead of a stroller (they don't like the strollers) and so there is nowhere to hang a bag. In order to be comfortable, I have to carry a backpack, but things get lost in there and sippy cups get turned over and leak, so it's hard to pack and hard to find things. A bag that has more pockets, but is easy to carry or a place to put a bag on the wagon would help a lot.
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Old 07-31-2014, 02:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradlenl View Post
Hi, I am a college student doing a project on what it is like to be a parent with multiple small children. I hope to get some input and feedback from anyone willing to respond.

How many children do you have? - what ages?

As a parent, what is your/your child's schedule like on a daily basis?

What difficulties do you run into on a daily basis? What is a constant or persistent struggle for you?

Do you have any organizational products that you use that make your life easier?

What needs to be better organized (in your/your child's life), but you have not found a system that works (or works well) for you yet?

Thank you for your time
Hi there
I have two kids, an older daughter who's just 2 and a son who's just 1 (12 months gap). We have to keep a pretty strict schedule in our house or chaos reins!
A typical day looks like this:
6-7am my son wakes and plays/has milk in my room until 7.
7am go in and get my daughter up.
7.30 dressed and washed
8 breakfast
9.30 snack
10-11.30 going out, some kind of morning activity!
11.45 lunch
12.15/30 my son goes down for a nap, about 1-2 hours.
1pm my daughter goes for quiet time or a catnap if she needs it in her cot.
3 snack
5pm tea
6.15 bath
Quiet time in bedroom with stories
6.45/7 milk and bedtime for both.

The only struggle that we run into is that my son isn't walking yet so anywhere we go has to be suitable for him as well as my energetic 2 year old.
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:46 AM
 
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How many children do you have? - what ages? 2 boys. DS1 is 4, DS2 is around 18 months.

As a parent, what is your/your child's schedule like on a daily basis? We have a pretty crazy routine that fluctuates due to all the medical appointments and therapy for both kids (who have a variety of medical issues). Daily life is a constantly revolving collection of of scheduled activities, with fun interesting stuff thrown in the mix. It's nice to have a quiet day at home once in awhile.

What difficulties do you run into on a daily basis? What is a constant or persistent struggle for you? Managing the provisions of daily needs outside the home on a regular basis (managing things like making sure the kids get naps, regular meals, using the bathroom, while being out of the house much of the day is very challenging. I have to be really on top of managing the shifting schedules and anticipating what we'll need the night before. I'm very committed to the idea of eating healthy, getting regular exercise, and avoiding screen time, so combining this with a lot of time spent waiting in lobbies, and driving around in the car can be rather challenging.

Do you have any organizational products that you use that make your life easier? My smart phone! All those calendar features, alarms, and timers really are a sanity saver. I'm not very detail oriented or organizationally minded, so having all those reminders really helps!

What needs to be better organized (in your/your child's life), but you have not found a system that works (or works well) for you yet? This is always a work in progress. What I need is more time to keep up with all the paperwork these two kids generate, it's insane. Some days I feel like a data clerk! And keeping up with anything in the house on top of all of the above is just...yeah. The madness.

So I don't feel like that even addresses the original question: What is it like to have multiple children? Kind of like those days when you have three different kinds of weather in the same day.
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Old 08-14-2014, 12:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradlenl View Post
Hi, I am a college student doing a project on what it is like to be a parent with multiple small children. I hope to get some input and feedback from anyone willing to respond.

How many children do you have? - what ages?

As a parent, what is your/your child's schedule like on a daily basis?

What difficulties do you run into on a daily basis? What is a constant or persistent struggle for you?

Do you have any organizational products that you use that make your life easier?

What needs to be better organized (in your/your child's life), but you have not found a system that works (or works well) for you yet?

Thank you for your time
We have 8 children and are expecting our 9th. The oldest is 17, he just graduated from high school from our home school, and completed 1 semester at Bible college-his choosing. We have a 12 year old son, 11 year old daughter, 9 year old daughter, 5 year old son, 4 year old son, 2 year old son and a 9 month old son.

During the Summer I allow my children to sleep in a bit. When they wake, they all get dressed (older ones shower, younger ones bathe at night) take care of personal hygiene, eat breakfast and then do family chores. We do not do chores (except what is necessary for functioning) on Sunday. Every other day each child does their chores and family chores, with the exception of their birthday or if they are sick. Then, in the Summer, they play, go outside, read, swim, etc. In our school year, September through May, they begin school. We eat lunch, and usually school is completed at lunch or shortly after. Afternoons are spent being children/napping, etc. We have a 1 hour quiet time after lunch that is my time for coffee, email, whatever. They read or nap. We eat dinner every night together. Nothing comes between that but a very rare event. They all have bed times, even the 17 year old goes to his room at a certain time, so that dad and I have time together, as we believe a strong marriage is essential. We read to the kids before bed, (even the 11 and 12's) and start a routine from the time they are babies.

Difficulties are usually when someone or several children are sick. Thankfully, it's rare. A constant struggle has been selflessness. What has led to our desire to have children is a belief that God is blessing us with children, and also challenging us to raise them well. This does not allow for selfishness. I am, by nature, a very selfish person. God is continually teaching me, by way of these little blessings I adore, to put myself aside and do for them. To allow them to learn by example of selflessness. I am easily frustrated and angered by nature, but will not allow that to be my legacy. God, via these miraculous little beings, have changed me!

What makes our lives easier is living simply. We are not involved in co-ops, we are not involved in sports or running around. We do not eat in the car, and run from thing to thing. Just a personal choice, but our lives are much quieter, more organized, and less chaotic than many we know with a couple of children. We just prefer home and quiet and family. We are involved with church, but this is a whole family activity and an extension of home.

No real organizational products. I don't want a lot of clutter....sooo..the main thing is teaching them responsibility and contribution so they learn they are not the center of the universe and they impact others. With their contributions, I do not have to carry the entire load of the home on my shoulders. Through that, I am imparting valuable lessons largely lost in today's me-centered culture.

I would like to better organize the toys/books for my little ones. However, they are constantly playing with them, and one of the biggest lessons learned from this Martha Stewart overbearing clean freak by nature self has been that my house will be perfectly organized when they are grown...for now, my house will be well organized, and their "kid spaces" need to be cleaned and they need to learn how to keep their areas picked up, however, the toys and books and changed outfits are evidence that love lives here!

Blessed Christian Wife and Homeschooling Mother to 8: 17 (our 1st homeschool graduate!), 12, 11, 9, 5, 4, 2 and with blessing #9 and #10 due to arrive April 2015




Last edited by MyFillingQuiver; 08-14-2014 at 12:16 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 08-14-2014, 12:26 PM
 
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I also wanted to offer a bit of encouragement to any mama's of a couple/few small children. I've been there, and that is the roughest (and quite joyful!) it will ever be! It's tough when they are all little and no older hands to help...it gets much better, IF you commit to teaching them while they are small, to be HELPFUL givers and not just TAKERS.

At one point, I had a not helpful by nature 7 year old boy, a 2 year old boy a 1 year old girl and a newborn. That was the hardest it ever was. However, now, I can have a multitude of children, because my older children actually want to help. This has also translated to older children who also help others outside the home.

Blessings!

Blessed Christian Wife and Homeschooling Mother to 8: 17 (our 1st homeschool graduate!), 12, 11, 9, 5, 4, 2 and with blessing #9 and #10 due to arrive April 2015



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Old 08-15-2014, 02:01 PM
 
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.its a great question, and i am glad you asked it. Now you have given me the opportunity to express this life changing process called raising a family. Having the first baby is life changing in itself. But with 3 children now, i sometimes look on that time wistfully because i was so much freer then. The baby and i had our own schedule and didnt answer to anyone else. I remember staying out in the playgrounds till sunset in summers, while other parents whisked off way too early to meet husbands, and to make sure older children were getting to bed on time for their school or camp day... life was simpler, no need to try and balance so many different needs, and no need to skip wonderful opportunities because another child had a conflicting commitment.

But i wouldnt change a thing! Having more than one is like constant party. I dont worry about playdates anymore, we have in build playdates my youngest giggles so much because she has her older brothers who make her laugh... no need to worry if my 2yo runs ahead, because my 9yo can run after her and make sure she's safe.

Ok, its a party, but its hard work.

I will answer your specific questions at another time.

I have 3 children, aged 9, 6 and 2
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Old 08-15-2014, 06:14 PM
 
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Hi Bradlenl! Hopefully you're still taking input for your project! Looks like you have a wide variety of responses here!

How many children do you have? - what ages? We have almost 3 children. (My EDD for #3 is Aug 17th) A 6 1/2 YO DD, and 4 1/2 YO DD and the third is a boy.

As a parent, what is your/your child's schedule like on a daily basis? We run a small family farm growing veggies and pork, lamb and eggs that sells all direct to market at farmer's markets and to a few restaurants so the schedules are different daily and seasonally. This fall will be our oldest's first year doing school full-time as a first grader. (kindergarten is 1/2 day here). During the summer, we don't typically wake the girls up although our younger one is typically an early bird (up by 8-9am) while the older one is definitely not. We sometimes will let her sleep (until 10-11am) or wake her up by about 9am, depending on the day's schedule. Lunch often happens with the farm crew, about 12:30pm and then dinners vary between 7 and 9pm. During the daytime, one of the adults (my in-laws live with and farm with us as well) will often take one or both children outside to work on a farm project if they're in the helping mood or they'll be allowed to just play outside. Sometimes afternoons will consist of some quiet time and then a chore like tidying up or folding their laundry or household laundry like towels.

During the school year, the younger one who is not yet in school will tag along with one of the adults either on the farm or helping Grandma around the house. Sometimes she'll have several hours to just play or work on an art project as it suits her and is more or less on her own, i.e. supervised but not entertained by an adult. The older one will be in school all day and has very long bus rides to and from school since we are near the end of a rural route. Mornings will have breakfast at home and then most likely she'll need some sort of quiet time once she gets home for a little while before she is sent outdoors to play or assigned chores. Dinner in the wintertime is typically closer to 7pm since there aren't as many farmer's markets in the evenings to keep adults out later and chores are typically done during daylight hours whenever possible.

What difficulties do you run into on a daily basis? What is a constant or persistent struggle for you? For me, personally, I work part time now and will be working a full time 8-5 job after baby is about a month old which I'm sure will present it's own new and unique challenges overall. My biggest personal challenge right now is working on some of my anger issues and dealing with a very persistent and head-strong oldest daughter in a positive manner. This comes up almost daily and I typically have to place the offending child(ren) in their room for a while and remove myself from the situation until I can act like a grown-up again.

One of the biggest challenges we run into as a family is a much newer one and that is making sure that our oldest daughter participates as much as we and she would like her to in 4-H this summer. Operating a farm leaves little time for these types of things, especially since the bulk of our working hours are in the summer months and it is very common to have my husband working 14 hours each day. My schedule isn't flexible either so it can be a challenge to make sure that we're meeting all of her extracurricular needs. Part of that is, I think, inexperience from the parental side of extracurricular activities and part is that we lead very busy lives.

The biggest school-year challenge was homework. Having homework as a kindergartener is a totally foreign idea (and in my opinion, silly for many reasons!). While it didn't count against her grading, my oldest probably could have benefitted from a routine of doing her homework earlier. It doesn't help that I tend to be a procrastinator myself.

Do you have any organizational products that you use that make your life easier?

I've been pushing for years to get my husband to participate in using a family calendar. With my in-laws working with us on the farm and having plenty of OB appointments this summer for our new baby, he's finally gotten on board with at least looking at the calendar. It helps keep us all on the same page or more so than we used to be. It's becoming more important as I transition to having a FT job and am away from the farm during normal business hours.

What needs to be better organized (in your/your child's life), but you have not found a system that works (or works well) for you yet? We will see how getting up and out the door for school/work turns out this school year. I am hoping to craft a better morning routine for both of us since we are both starting out in something new (FT job and FT school) that allows us both to have a healthy and filling breakfast and have a lunch packed so that we are both full and happy all day since buying food on any regular basis is not really something we can (or want to) afford. Hopefully attending to homework will work out a little better as well. Kindergarten had weekly homework but it was assigned over the weekend. (how many students do homework over the weekend, I mean really? unless it was do or die in highschool or college?) Hopefully it'll be a little different this year. I'm sure that there are also about a hundred different ways we can better organize ourselves so that doing homework isn't such a big deal or so time consuming in even finding materials!

I hope this helps you (and any other interested parties!). Best wishes for your project!

Farming mama to DD1 (10/18/07), DD2 (10/3/09) who are always DS born 8.21.14 and wife to loving hubby (6/23/2007).
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Old 08-17-2014, 09:47 PM
 
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I had four. I was the oldest of nine.

Our schedule was busy. The household in which I grew up was chaotic.

Maintaining order was a struggle. My mom gave up trying to organize things and simply relied on the older ones to fill in for her with household chores and babysitting; this fell apart as I and my sister graduated from college, married, and moved out.

I color coded everything and had a prominent calendar that had everything listed. My DD would try to leave things out and this caused problems. Communication is the key to organization. Make sure that responsibility is passed on to the younger ones.

Living in a community as a religious community or something similar is helpful. I did not, but I admit being in a group of supportive people outside the family would have been nice.

My own married life with my own children was complicated by a very sick, dying spouse who died when the youngest was still a minor. I homeschooled him. My experience with larger families is that they are usually healthier since there is less $ for junk food and running to the doctor for every little thing. They are also less selfish and know that the sun does not revolve around them. Children from a large family are able to deal with different age groups.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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