God's Girl

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary

“You Don’t Look Like You Have That Many Kids!”

on August 14, 2014

Bethany Beckett is today’s special guest blogger on God’s Girl. Bethany is a Jesus-lovin’, great style rockin’, army wife and wisdom filled mama of 6 boys who currently resides in Tacoma, Washington. She has the gift of organization and a knack for all things crafty.

You can visit her website at http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheWhimsicalTree to order her homemade items for children and the home, but please read her blog post first!

“You Don’t Look Like You Have That Many Kids!!!”

Today I prepare my wardrobe for the adventures ahead regarding the errands for they day… comfy jeans, sneakers, and my “Yes, all those kids are mine” t-shirt. You see, I am a mother to 6 wonderful boys and beginning to “rock out” my newest “baby bump” for little one number 7.

We all load up the Chevy Traverse and begin our day.

I have a strict routine of running all of my errands in the same day… Yes, it means a very long day and sometimes a handful of meltdowns, but I have found that time, gas, and energy are saved this way. It’s much easier to knock out groceries, post office, doctor’s appointments, and bank trips all at once, than to have to dress, pack snacks, etc., for all of us, numerous days of the week. I call it “one stop shop” although most times, it involved quite a few more than one or two “stops”. Nonetheless… We load up for our day.

We get to the Army Hospital where all of our care is, since my husband is active duty, and today we have 3 children with back-to-back appointments.  As we unload the SUV I take a glimpse at my wonderfully large family and chuckle to myself about how we somewhat resemble a clown car, one by one exiting the “what seems too small for our family on the outside” vehicle.

With one in the stroller, 2 holding on to my sides, and the others following, we resemble a family of ducks headed into the building. As I walk inside and pass all the other patrons, I hear whispers of “oh, my! “all boys!,” and “1…2…3…4…5…” I proudly hold my head up high (because this time they are all behaving well) and continue on to our destination.

I wait patiently in line to check in at the counter as my little guys all grab seats and peruse the selection of tableside magazines. I think to myself “success!” and smile inside. My turn arrives and I approach the desk. The pleasant receptionist smiles at me and raises her eyebrows in a surprised expression and states, “Wow! You do NOT look like you have had that many kids!” Politely I smile back at her and reply, “Thank you,” as I let out a slight chuckle. But honestly, what am I supposed to look like?

Perhaps if I looked like I had “six kids and counting” I would have 8 arms, like an octopus! One for each little hand to hold on to, and two to do laundry, dishes, cooking, and the like.

Maybe I’m supposed to have untamed hair with Legos sticking out of matted tangles.

Perhaps every time I went somewhere I would wear evidence of my children on my clothing. Like the time I went to work with half of a strawberry pop tart sticking to my cardigan like a broach on my shoulder-blade.

Maybe the perception of motherhood has been so distorted by society that everyone forgets about the joy children are… I promise you that I have more laugh lines than I do frown.

While I understand and agree that raising children is exhausting and often sleep-depriving, I think that some people assume that mothers of many could only possibly look ragged and worn out. I mean, if one child is a lot of work, it must multiply for each additional child, right? Not always… If I broke down how I felt into percentages of happy, exhausted, hungry, ambitious, etc., and I was 20% exhausted with one child, that doesn’t mean that I’m 40% exhausted with two, and so forth… No, it just simply that the scale changes. The balance stays the same.

Or maybe because I have so many children I am expected to carry that extra bit of “baby weight” with each one. Honestly, chasing around this many tots would keep almost anyone in shape! And don’t you remember the times you made yourself a plate of dinner and your little one begged for a bite? Multiply that. Sometimes I feel like I never get to eat! Haha! Although I know that is not true. They just help me avoid overeating. Except for the Oreos I secretly stash in my bedside table drawer.

So what are we moms with children, especially ‘that many’ children, supposed to look like? I think I can help some out with that…

We are supposed to look like Christ.

Every child I have had has helped shape me into a better person. They have made me less selfish, more loving, more understanding, compassionate, resilient, persevering, more giving. I can see joy in little things, like finding a dragonfly for them to marvel and wonder at. I enjoy the smiles of innocence in playing in rain puddles. I cook awesome, yet budget friendly meals. I teach them to pray. I teach them to love. Laughter and playing are an everyday occurrence in our house. And so are little spats, naturally. But video games, lack of socialization, selfishness, and greed are not. I think our time with our children, and their time with their siblings is to be treasured. And so often that time just gets away from us and passes us by.

So, while, to some, I may not look like I have this many kids, neither does the mother of one who is sitting along side of me, face deep into her smartphone, while her child rolls around loudly on the floor simply seeking her attention, or begging to play her phone while they wait.

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