The 8 Best Things About Having A Bunch of Kids

8 Best Things about having A Bunch of Kids

I guess I might as well come out with it.

I’m the mother of 8 children. And I love it.

This often surprises people when they learn that I have all these kids. They’ll say things like, “But you don’t look like a mother of 8 children!”

And then, occasionally,“Do you actually like having so many kids?”

I’m never sure how to answer that first one (Thank you…I think?).

The answer to the second is easier, Yes, I do.  I love it! Which some people seem to find interesting.

I could write a long list of all the things I love about having a bunch of kids, but here are some of the best . . . . 

The Best 8 Things About Having A Bunch of Kids

1.   I love the joy they bring. How their sweet faces look up at me with so much love.  The hugs. The laughter. The fellowship of family.

2.   I love all that I learn from them. They remind me to stop and wonder. They ask good questions and challenge me to think.They reveal areas in my life that I – apparently – need to work on. Ouch.

3.   I love how they have built-in friendships. If you’re bored or lonely, there’s always a buddy nearby. Someone to help with the work or someone to play a game. Someone to talk to or someone to snuggle.

4.  I love watching the older ones care for the young ones. How the teenagers get the opportunity to be selfless and put aside their own plans. The chance for them to look after the interests of these little guys—and their reward of smiles and sticky kisses.

The 8 Best Things about having A Bunch of Kids

5.   I love that I still have a young ones at home. Even if their older siblings have left home to pursue their own calling (Why do they grow up and go off on their own anyway…??).

6.   I love how much fun they are! Let’s face it, there’s nearly always a party going on around here. The little boys wake up ready and raring to go and the older girls look forward to the late-night thingYawn.

7.   I love how the little ones look up to their older siblings. For instance, our oldest son is something of a celebrity – a basic rock-star –  to our young boys whenever he comes back from college. Thankfully, he walks with God.  Could be worse, I figure.

8.   I love how they can reach the world. In ways that I can’t. Children seem to have this ability to soften even the hardest of hearts. There’s something about young people that breaks through the toughest barriers. They’re a bright light in a darkening world.

8 Best Things About Having A Bunch of Kids

So however many children you have – whether one, four, eight, or twelve – they are a gift from God, aren’t they? Children are truly a blessing.

*I’d enjoy hearing those things you love about being a mom to your children too! Share?

In His grace,
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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

That One Question That Unlocks {The Door to Your Child’s Heart}

That One Question That Unlocks So Much

“Pray for this one,” I told my friends that I knew would pray.

It was a subtle drip of negativity coming from this child whose once-orphan wounds had threatened to be scars. Subtle enough that no one bumping up against the world outside our home would see, subtle enough to avoid what might incur discipline. (But mama’s have an eye for what brews under the surface.)

I didn’t just hear it, I felt it. The passive-aggressive drip that said less about the sibling or situation of which they were speaking and more about the torrent underneath all those words wore treads under my everyday mama-hood.

So I talked to God.

Change this one’s heart, God. You are healer, would you heal these wounds spilling up and over in front of all of us? Make this one new.

Weeks of prayers became months and I was settling in to what Nate so often calls “the long view.” It may take a decade to see this heart move. You hone your eye for the little milestones when you see the haul ahead as long.

But one day this thought came to me.

What if I made a shift? 

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Love Unhinged

I’d done it before with variables that just weren’t budging. Not frequent enough for it to be second nature, but I had stories of how God moved in the one right in front of me when I started asking “what’s the issue, lodged within me?”

So over a series of days I asked Him: “what is it in me that’s adding to this child’s mess?” It’s a hard question for a mama who knows the history of her once-orphaned child’s wounds. I could list the perpetrators — people and time and loss. I live the consequences of life’s big hits on this child. I’ve studied them. Did I really play a part in all this negativity? This child couldn’t be more different than how I walk.

I wrestled through all those reasons not to ask, while still remembering my history. This wasn’t the first time I played a role, subconsciously.

And just as soon as I asked, I knew.

I needed to love different.

I needed to love unhinged.

This one was craving a love from me that required nothing of them to get it. They needed belly-tickles and a game of chase and time without instruction or correction, but expectation-less love. They needed my delight, not my dutiful kiss or my quick hug because that’s what mommies do.

This child needed to see that spark in my eye as I looked into theirs — the kind of spark a mama can’t muster on her own.

I’d been trying. Striving. Mimicking love. But in all of my effort, I’d neglected to see my own heart’s failings.

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Something in Me

Two of us sinners in a relationship make two of us culpable. Always.

When I spend all my energy searching out the flaws in another, God’s love — through me — gets stunted. This reconciliatory love can not move towards its full expression in this child or in me if I am unbending.

And I was unbending.

Isn’t it easy? Especially with a child. We study their gaps and wait for their healing — all in the name of God’s timing — when maybe, just maybe He’s waiting on us to ask “what is it in me?”

I spent nearly a decade of my life avoiding this question. It spanned most all of my relationships. Something ingrained in human nature leads us to believe that this question is the death-trap. We’re going down when we take eyes off of them, and ask Him for a lens on us. Justice is when their wrong is righted or their hurt is finally healed. It can’t possibly be me, here.

“What is it in me, Father?” digs my grave.  Death-trap it is, I suppose. The kind of death that invites life.

It is this very question that’s putting an end to years of this child’s severed story bubbling up and over the rest of us.

I asked. I heard.

There was something in me.

So I repent and stumble towards turning in the form of words and belly-tickles and games of chase. I ask God to give me that spark in my eye that this child will know is just for them. I ask for an unnatural love, imparted. I bend.

And this kid? This one with history and hurt and a dozen reasons to be hindered for life, they begin to show signs of change. Friends, my stuck-child is getting unstuck. Surprise hugs and unsolicited kind words and that note on my desk that read: “I love you Mommy and I know you love me.” My child has spiked a giggle.

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The other day I heard songs from the kitchen — from this one whose known a new form of mama’s delight — and I knew it was from God to me: never stop asking the question your flesh most resists. When you go low, with them I am lifted up.

For the mother, the wife, the daddy, the pastor, the co-worker, the sister, the best friend and the neighbor: when was the last time you asked Him — when faced with that rift in another — what is it in me?

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Sara Hagerty, EveryBitterThingIsSweet

For Your Continued Pursuit: Matthew 5:5 | Psalm 25:9 | Matthew 7:1-5 | James 4:6-10 | 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 | Matthew 11:29-30

Photographs compliments of Mandie Joy.

23 Tiny Things That Really Annoy My Mom

23 Tiny Things That Really Annoy My Mom

It all started in Costco . . . .

When one of our daughters bumped into me as we were walking into the entrance. I bristled a bit.

Then she bumped into me again a few yards later.

I looked over at her and informed, “That really annoys me, you know.”

She gave me that questioning look (you know the one).

So I elaborated, “Well, it’s like you’re knocking into my personal space and it bugs me.”

Neither of us spoke for a moment.

Until we both burst out laughing.

And she threatened to write a blog post about me.

Then she followed through with it and put together this list . . . .

*Shouldn’t I get extra points for resisting the urge to “edit” some of these? #don’tjudge 

23 Tiny Things That Really Annoy My Mom

by Cambria Jacobson (age 16)

1.   Bumping into her (literally) while walking around Costco. ;)

2.   Hollering for her from across the house.

3.   Leaving the guest bathroom door hanging open.

4.   When we don’t match the few socks left at the bottom of the laundry basket.

5.   If  you hug her while she’s putting on her makeup.

6.   When we don’t use up the leftover oatmeal.

23 Tiny Things That Really Annoy My Mom

7.   When the piano in the front room doesn’t get dusted.

8.   If we forget and leave our homework spread out over the parlor (her place of “refuge”).

9.   When anyone - including daddy! – tries to tickle her.

10.  Those times when everyone waits until the last second to take down their laundry.

11.  When we girls talk and laugh until late and keep her and daddy awake because our bedroom is right above their room.

12.  When we kids suddenly decide we want snuggle with her…when she finally has a moment to read a book , or to rest.

23 Tiny Things That Really Annoy

13.   People knocking on her door during naptime (see #12 above).

14.   When we all watch a movie and the TV room is messy. That really bugs her :)

15.   When the heat is turned down in the car and she is freezing, but everyone else is roasting.

16.   When the boys insist on wearing the same sweatpants with holes in them….3 days in a row.

17.   When we let Jessie (the dog!) in the parlor and onto the carpet.

18.   Feeding Jessie (the same dog!) bits of her newly baked bread because he likes it.

23 Tiny Things That Annoy My Mom

19.  When people put their feet on the glass table in the parlor (goodbye “civilization”!).

20.  When the kitchen table doesn’t get wiped down.

21.  When she’s in the middle of cooking dinner and everyone – one after another – comes up to ask her what she’s making.

22.  When kids wander around  looking like they have nothing to do (especially if they haven’t done their chores yet!).

23.  If we ask questions, or talk to her about plans for the day . . . before she’s had her first cup of coffee. ;)

There, that’s the list! 

~ Cambria Jacobson

23 Tiny Things That Annoy My Mom

Here’s Your Take-Away:

1.  Those things that bug you when they’re six? They might still bug you when they’re sixteen (possibly even more).

2.  It’s better to laugh than to cry (or yell).

3.  There’s no such thing as “personal space” when you’re a mom.

4.  You still won’t be getting much sleep, even when they’re teens (see #11).

5.  Be mindful that your kids might just write a blog post about you some day.

Now my husband is threatening to write a blog post, except that he said the title would probably be more like: 103 Tiny Things That Really Annoy My Wife.

Haha! Very funny, dear. (You can be pretty sure #23 will be on his list too.)

And so now you know. These are the tiny things that really bug me. 

I hope you won’t hold it against me and I hope we can still be friends.

Just, please, whatever you do, please don’t ask me what I’m making for dinner!

And I won’t ask you. ;)

From one mom to another,

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*Okay, your turn! Just for fun, what are some of those little things that annoy you…?

Jacobson Family Photo

Cambria is the sweet girl on the front right. Jessie is the dog, front & center – where else?

 

100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

Boys Are Awesome and the Best Way to Love Them

Boys Are Awesome and the Best Way to Love Them

I was terrified that my pregnancy was going to result in a boy, because I had no idea what to do with one of those.

We did the no-find-out thing, so it wasn’t until after three hours of labor that I heard the doctor say, It’s a boy! That was after my husband subtly turned off the television in the room, so the doctor would look at me instead of ESPN.

That was my first lesson in boys. They cannot split their attention between ESPN and a woman who is in labor.

So I took home a little boy. Six pounds, seven ounces. Now his shoes weigh more than that, and he’s about to graduate from high school. That boy of mine is handsome and charming, and he has my heart wrapped around his little finger.

Boys Are Awesome

I’ve learned some things about raising my own boy, so here are some helpful tips…

First, invest in a good mirror for your bathroom. My son goes to take a shower, and about 40 minutes later we hear the water turn on. My husband informs me our boy is making faces in the mirror. He says this as if it has not been all that long ago since he made faces in the mirror. I mean, really not that long ago.

Give one instruction at a time. Just one. See if that gets accomplished before you attempt instruction number two.

Learning and moving must go together. If you will permit him to tap his pencil like a drum on the table, he will be able to do his work and will learn the most while his body is in motion.

Someday he will be able to stay seated in the dining room chair for the length of an entire meal. Do not despair.

Celebrate magnificent sound effects. Praising his good helicopter imitation is the equivalent of admiring biceps.

Roll down your windows when you pick up him and his friends from soccer. Drive fast.

Ask for his muscles and strength, even when he’s little. Ask him to help you carry things and pick up things for you. Boys know they were meant to be strong, and the most glorious words are from a mom who acknowledges that quality.

Besides said biceps and astounding helicopter sounds, one of the most appealing traits in a grown-up man is kindness, so put great effort into encouraging and praising even the smallest act of kindness. Kind words. Kind service.

You know, the whole coat over the puddle for the lady. Teach him that.

Brace yourself to empty his pockets before throwing his jeans in the laundry. Stop to admire the great treasures from his day. A nail. A rock. A piece of plastic. These were great finds.

Know that boys will never outgrow the simple enjoyment of bodily sounds and description of bodily sounds. The best you can hope for is to teach him the place for this is in a locker room. I’m at a loss to know what else to tell you.

We can learn to appreciate are boys and know how to build them up. -christyfitzwater.com

Finally, let me tell you that to build up your boy is to invest in your own future. If you have respected him as he has grown into a man, you will find him your fierce protector and sweet help when he is 6’ tall and you fit under his armpit.

Armpit.

Boys can get so many great sounds to come from there . . . .

~ Christy Fitzwater

100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

I Haven’t Cleaned the Kitchen in 12 Years {& Here’s Why}

I Haven't Cleaned the Kitchen in 12 Years

I was truly unprepared for this one.

I don’t remember discussing it beforehand—he simply announced it out-of-the blue:

“Your mother will be not doing the dinner dishes tonight.”

I don’t know who was more shocked – them or me?

We all stared at their daddy and tried to figure out what he could possibly mean.

So he explained, “Your mom spends hours in the kitchen every day, cooking and cleaning, and now she is going to be done with that the moment our dinner is finished.”

Just what is that supposed to mean??

“. . . . and that means you kids are going to clean up the dishes while your mother sits down and spends some time with me.”

Our four oldest children were ages 8, 7, 5, and 4.  And our kitchen was a BIG mess.

Maybe you think I should have been ecstatic with this announcement.

But instead, I only quietly panicked.

  • They’re too young.
  • The kitchen is  a terrible disaster.
  • I don’t know if they can handle it.
  • Maybe it’s asking too much.
  • And . . . what if they don’t do it right?

I was wrong, however, because they weren’t too young and, even though the kitchen was a big mess, they managed it just fine. And while it’s true that they don’t always do it exactly right, the benefit of the break for me and the job-training for them far outweighed all of my concerns. It turned out to be a win-win deal!

I Haven't Cleaned the Kitchen in 12 Years

In the Kitchen: 12 Years Later

So now here we are, 12 years later, and I’ve helped with the dinner dishes only a few times in all these years.

Our basic nightly routine is that after dinner, my husband and I go and snuggle on the couch and catch up together. . . and our children all pitch-in and get the kitchen knocked out.

Now don’t misunderstand: it’s not a quiet or calm event.

The kitchen is noisy, clanking, and somewhat chaotic. Dishes get broken and they sometimes argue. They often sing at the top of their lungs or turn up the music. (For instance, last night they all came marching in, prisoner-style, singing loudly Look Down from Les Miserables:  “Look down, look down. You’ll always be a slave….” ;) Very funny, kids. Very funny.)

But you know something? It’s one of the best announcements my husband has ever made.

The dishes get done (maybe not as perfectly as I’d like, but they do get done).

Our children learn to work together.

I am basically “off work” for the rest of the evening.

And I get to spend those sweet moments connecting with my husband and hearing about his day, and he mine.

Because sometimes as moms we can try to do everything (or most everything!) ourselves.  We forget that it’s not only a blessing to us to have the extra help, but it’s also a blessing to our children to get to serve us too.

Some Questions Answered

* What if your children complain about the work?

First of all, we do encourage them to have fun while they work. Sometimes they’ll play a game like, “Guess My Animal” or they’ll take turns telling a story. On some nights they play upbeat music and sing along.

If a child is determined to complain, however, then we figure that child probably needs more opportunity to practice working (without complaining) and so we add jobs to their chore list OR have them clean the kitchen alone, without the help of siblings. We do this until the child decides to get happy about having a job. :)

* What about the other meals such as breakfast and lunch?

Right now the younger boys – ages 8, 10, and 12 – clean up the breakfast dishes (we homeschool) and our 16-year-old daughter (bless her heart!)  takes care of the lunch dishes.

* Do your children ever resent you for not helping out in the kitchen?

Good question.  Nooo….I don’t think so. For one, they respect and appreciate that my husband and I want to spend time together. Also, I take care of many other areas around the house (e.g. laundry, housecleaning, and cooking) and so the children know I’m willing to work hard myself. I make a point of expressing appreciation for their help too.

* What if  your children are too young to help out with dishes?

Hmm….Well, we do encourage our kids to help out from a very young age—even if it’s only carrying their plate into the kitchen or putting away the silverware. It’s a natural training opportunity from the time they start walking!

So this is the story behind why you’ll find me snuggling with my husband after dinner . . . instead of cleaning the kitchen. And I’m not saying that this should be everyone’s story because each of you have your own unique situation.

Real-Life HomemakingBUT in case it inspires you to think differently about sharing chores around the house? Here’s mine. And I have my husband to thank for it!

. . . . Oh, and my kids, of course! :)

**Your thoughts? Further questions? I’d enjoy chatting with you, if you want to comment below!  

In His grace,

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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

9 Things I’d Say My Mom Got Right

Club31Women.com_9 Things I'd Say My Mom Got Right

I hesitated before asking him.

He was only home for a week after all. Just a single week over the Christmas holidays. Only one week gathered together as a family.

The rest of the year our 20-year-old son lives, works, and goes to school a few thousand miles across the country from us. Not that we don’t keep in close touch—because we do. But still . . . it’s not the same as sitting on the same couch together and everyone all talking at once.

And so it wasn’t until the end of the week that I ventured to ask him. Somewhat hesitant.

Makes a mom feel rather vulnerable to ask her oldest son such a question.

You see, this was our first-born. Our experiment. The one with whom I’d messed up and made the most mistakes.

Stressed over.

Cried over.

Prayed over.

So I honestly didn’t know what he’d say now that he’s all grown up and gone.

9 Things I'd Say My Mom Got Right

What really matters and what makes a difference? What would you say to a mom? . . . to me?

He said he’d think about it and get back to me. I opened up his email a couple of weeks ago and here’s what he said:

9 Things I’d Say My Mom Got Right

The following is what I remember – what I loved and what I needed. 

1.     My mom was the one who listened to my hopes and dreams – my heart.

In my life Dad played the role of pushing me to succeed, but my mom was the one who let me just talk. She listened to me share the contents of my small undeveloped mind and heart.

2.     She allowed me to love her.

As I got a bit older my mom was the only woman I ever really hugged. Sure, I hugged my sisters here and there, but generally my mom was the only one who I would go up to and randomly hug. She did not pull away or make a face—in fact she loved it (or at least I think she did).

3.     She encouraged me to play for hours.

Literally countless hours. Hundreds and hundreds of hours. I played – key word here – OUTSIDE all the time growing up. Yes, I had homework and chores, but outside was where I spent my extra time. Those moments are some of the happiest of my life. I have heard, “Go play outside,” about a billion times and 99.99% of them came from my mother.

9 Things I'd Say My Mom Got Right

4.    She gave me the chance to read.

On top of chores, schoolwork, and playing outside, I also spent endless hours reading. I was a relatively late bloomer when it came to reading, but once I started, I read A LOT. My mom often let me off the hook from other tasks ;) when she knew I was reading.

5.    She took the time so I could play with friends.

I still remember when mom would take us to the pool. I remember how she fit in times to hang out with other families. She was willing to drive and move schedules so I could be with kids my age and further stimulate that little brain of mine.

6.     She let us build forts in the house.

And sleep in them. I have built a number of forts in the Jacobson house (along with my ever-willing sisters). Together we built huge blanket forts, pillow forts, cardboard forts—I think we even set up an entire tent in the house once. We read, ate, listened to stories and slept there. It was awesome.

9 Things I'd Say My Mom Got Right

7.     She didn’t let me fill my mind with garbage movies or technological entertainment.

This wasn’t something that I appreciated then, but looking back I certainly do now. Like every kid I wanted to play games or watch movies, but for every time I got to do something in that category there were plenty of hours spent outside or reading. I am certainly much better for it and if you need professional proof – consult any study on the matter.

8.     She never allowed me to disrespect her.

This fits more into the “what I needed” category. My mom never let me hit her or really be anything but loving and gentle with her. That does not mean she had a bad attitude about how rough or just generally boyish I could be—just as long as I treated her respectfully.

9.     She sacrificed for me and loved me with her actions.

I am telling you, there is nothing like a mother’s soft hand on a young boy’s neck and back. I vividly remember one time when I was sick and miserable, burning with fever. I went to the couch and lay down, quite miserable and now lonely. However, only a minute or two later my mom was by my side with a cold wet rag touching my neck and face. A small gesture that still stays with me.

She sacrificed for me time and time again, caring for me with her actions and doing it in a loving manner.

~ Britain Jacobson

Britain JacobsonBritain Jacobson is in his junior year at Patrick Henry College where he is studying Strategic Intelligence. When he’s not busy with classes, homework, or working at one of several jobs, he enjoys reading books, playing soccer, or catching up on current events. Britain is also the well-loved big brother to his 7 younger Jacobson siblings.

So If You’re A Mom….

Those small acts of sacrifice? Those moments of standing strong? Those prayers cried out on your child’s behalf?

Now we know.

They really do matter and they do add up.

You got it right!

~ Lisa Jacobson

P.S.  If you’re wondering if I cried the first time I read this? Why, yes, I did. Sobbed, actually.

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).