Survival Tip #4

It’s Monday. I can remember back to the days of being a kid. Saturday morning would come and I could hardly get out of bed fast enough. There were cartoons to watch!!! I’d tear out of my bed faster than a cat trying to avoid a bath (trust me, that’s fast)! I’d flip on the TV and turn the volume down as fast as I could so I wouldn’t wake up my parents (that’s something my kids haven’t learned yet, I guess). And I’d turn the channel to the USA Network, ready to take in what they referred to as the “Cartoon Express.”

Cartoon Express: One of the few good things to come out of the 80's!

These days, however, there is no tearing out of bed Saturday morning for me. There is no racing to the TV to see what I’d be missing if I had slept in. No, sadly that eagerness has been replaced with the adult (boring) habit of attempting to sleep in. I say attempting because it rarely ever happens.

One thing I fail to understand is that the same kids you literally have to threaten to get out of bed for school each morning mysteriously can’t seem to sleep past the first hint of sunlight come Saturday morning. I guess I could understand it if the Cartoon Express still existed…heck, we don’t even have cable!

So, with that in mind, I present…

Survival Tip #4: Learn to ENJOY the Weekend

Monday through Friday I’m awake before 6:00 AM. Sunday I’m up around 7:00 to make sure we make it to church on time (five kids take time to get ready!). So, when Saturday rolls around, my natural instinct is to cling to every last bit of sleep I possibly can. Unfortunately, as I mentioned about, those natural instincts are usually destroyed disturbed by the results of some other natural instincts.

So, since sleep isn’t really an option, why not enjoy the weekend? Hang out with your kids! Do something fun!

I can hear you saying now, “But Mike, I have five kids. I can’t afford to do anything fun!” Hey, I have five kids too, I know how it is. But your idea of fun (fun=expensive) doesn’t equal your kids idea of fun (fun=cardboard box or fun=making strange noises). Make sure you’re not so eager to cross things off your to do list that you just leave your kids to do whatever they think is fun on their own. Odds are anyway that their idea of fun will be to be directly in the way of your idea of productivity (more likely, their idea of fun will be to destroy everything you’ve accomplished).

Saturday is most likely the only day you’ll get in a week to have fun. Sure, you might squeeze something in on an evening somewhere. But bottom line is, you’re usually too wiped out to try to have fun on a weeknight. So, next Saturday, take your family and do something fun. It can just be running around in the yard. It can be having a family movie day in front of the TV. It can be whatever your imagination can dream up. Kids are entertained very differently than you, so just make sure you’re doing something to recharge your emotional and physical batteries.

And if you don’t get Saturdays off, pick another day of the week to be your fake Saturday. You need it. Your kids need it. Your health and life depends on it.  Am I typing this as someone who has been great at doing this? No!  It’s more like I’m preaching to the choir here! It’s something I am going to try and be more purposeful about.

So go, enjoy your day off and have fun.

Until next time.

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Do it Again

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years as a father, it’s that you’d better be prepared to do anything – and I mean ANYTHING – a second time.

Working on something on the computer…get up for a second to run to the restroom…forget to hit save…and when you return, you find one of your children composing a literary masterpiece (mostly made up of random letters) in its place.

Like this, only less hairy.

Proud of your accomplishment as you’ve finally managed to catch up on dishes and laundry for once…turn your back for five minutes, and the hampers are full, lunch was made, and all your hard work has been destroyed.

Things like this happen so frequently when you have five kids, you learn to just sort of accept it as normal.  If you go to bed at night with a clean house, you expect to awaken to a tornado-stricken federal disaster area in the morning.  If you were to wake up and it was actually still clean, you would seriously swear upon the existence of tiny cleaning elves or housekeeping aliens (if that were a thing, I’d totally be on the alien welcoming committee).

But if you set your mind on the fact that you’ll have to do pretty much everything more than once, your life can be so much happier.  Sure, you could walk around frustrated at the monotony of it all.  But seriously, who has the time (or blood pressure) for that?

And when I say you’ll have to do it all more than once, I do mean almost everything!  For instance, you should’ve seen the first draft of this post that I had almost done BEFORE Ellie came over and smacked some random button on the side of the keyboard that closed my browser.  It was WAY better than this garbage you’re reading right now!

I looked like this, only with better hair...and no tie.

I’d take more time to (re)write it, but I’ve got to go do something (again).

Until next time…

Survival Tip #1

As a Father of five, so many times I hear people say, “How do you do it?”  Today I’m prepared to provide the first of many answers.

Maybe you’re out there and you’re expecting another kid…you’re wondering how you’re going to make it.  You’re going through all the emotions and questions; questions like, “How did this happen? (you know how)” or “What am I going to do?”  This is the first in the line of multiple survival tips that will (hopefully) help you survive as a parent with a lot of kids.

Survival Tip #1: Wake Up Early

Let me start this by saying that I’m not naturally an early riser.  If I could, I’d sleep in every single day.  But the most important thing that has helped me survive as a Daddy of 5 is getting up early.  For one, it gives me time to spend with God, reading the Bible and praying.  As a person of faith, this is very important.

But a second reason I get up early is that oftentimes that’s the only bit of quiet I’ll get.  In a house with five kids, there is very rarely any quiet to be heard (or not heard).  They always wake up earlier than you wish they would (except for when you need them to).  Bedtime is an ordeal filled with giggles and whispers and outright defiance.  Even when you’re watching a movie with kids, they’re always making noise.  So, for me the only way to survive is to get up before anyone else.

I take time with God and time alone just enjoying the quiet.  This does, however, present a problem.  You see, I’m a night owl.  I like staying up late every single day.  Even knowing that my alarm will go off just before 6:00 AM, I have a hard time going to bed much before midnight.  The only time I get to spend with my wife is after the kids go to sleep (which is much later than their actual bedtime), and I love spending time with my wife.

This presents a problem, as I spend much of my time looking like this:

Dog Yawning

Minus the fur and chain (most days).

Am I tired most of the time? Yes.  But to me, if I don’t have my quiet time in the morning, my day just doesn’t go as well.  This became very evident to me this morning.  My 9 year old, Joey, woke up only a few minutes after me this morning.  Instantly, I found myself feeling invaded upon.  Even though he just got straight in the shower, I felt like my quiet time was lost.

So, if you’re a father of many children (or plan on being someday), you’ll need to learn the art of waking up early.  This may be the most vital thing to remaining (somewhat) sane.

Until next time…