(Here we are a couple of kids ago with some extra neighbor kids thrown in for good measure.)
Another reader question: "In the stress that comes with everyday life, lots of children to care for, errands that need to be run, etc...what do you do to maintain a positive and joyful attitude?"
I remind myself that my children and all the responsibilities that come with them are a gift and I am serving my Lord when I am serving them. It is also imperative that I stay very focused on God. If I lose that focus and don’t talk to Him daily and read His word, my attitude suffers.
Also, I think the single most important thing when fighting negativity and not being joyful is to have a heart of gratitude. When we stop and realize how many blessings we have, it is almost impossible not to be thankful and have an joyful attitude.
I'm sure you've heard all the comments I have, and then some, when you go out with all your children. How do you respond graciously to nosey or rude people?
First of all, we try not to let it bother us. Because we are so large, we draw a lot of attention, which gives us many opportunities to talk to people.
No matter what the comment, we try to respond in a Christian way, knowing we have a unique opportunity. Contrary to how they probably view such a large family, we want to let people know we feel blessed to have so many children and we think children are a gift from the Lord.
We always try to express that in some way.
I recently read a debate about "Me Time". Do you think it is necessary for moms to have time to themselves each day? Or husbands and wives to have "dates" each week? What are your general thoughts about "Me Time"?
I have actually thought a lot about this issue lately.
I have seen several women use the “me time” in a bad way. Those women who live with that expectation are often times selfish.
God called us to be helpmeets and to take care of our home and family—it is a full time job and God never said it would easy. I do, however, think it is fine, and necessary to tell your kids on occasion, when you are about to “lose” it that Mom needs to go in her bedroom for 15 minutes and cannot be disturbed. Sometimes we need to get away for a few moments to regain composure.
I also think it is beneficial to have time out alone, or with a friend once in a while, as long as it is not overused and you have provided for your family.
Sadly, I know a woman who “takes off” one night a week and just leaves her husband and kids to fend for themselves. She won’t cook a meal for them or anything. I think the issue is not having time away, but the attitude behind it. If we think we deserve “me time” I think it is a problem.
As far as “dates” with our husbands, I think that is important. Not only does it keep a couple connected and close, but it models that to our children. They need to see us make time for each other, and they are happier when Mom and Dad are happy with one another.
Our kids love when we go out (which is usually only once or twice a month). We usually let them have pizza and watch a movie, so it is a special time for them as well.
Will you tell us about your fabamundo laundry room?
Well, last summer, my sweet husband decided that with 11 kids, I deserved a laundry room that was actually bigger than a closet. (I think he was tired of the piles of clean and dirty clothes all over our bedroom.)
We had a one car garage, separate from our two car garage, that my husband used to house his tools etc. He gave up “his space” and had it converted to a giant laundry room.
It has 3 washers and 3 dryers (the largest ones made). I have a long folding table with rolling baskets underneath. It also houses an extra refrigerator and a large upright freezer. We had built-in shelves put everywhere there was a space. One section is for extra pantry space. The room also serves as a family closet, so all the kids clothes are stored there. There are floor to ceiling shelves all labeled with the kids’ names and 45 linear feet of hanging space where clothes are separated by sizes.
It is nice because I can fold clothes and put them away right there—no toting baskets up the stairs.
There is also an outside door so when we drive in from getting groceries, we can deliver them right into that room and not have to walk through the house.
My husband originally wanted to keep the garage door, in case we ever move and someone wanted to convert it back to a garage. I told him that no woman in her right mind would give up a room like this.
This room is a tremendous blessing to me and makes my huge task of laundry a lot less overwhelming.
Thank you, Karla, for taking the time to answer our questions and encourage us!