“I don’t know how you do it.”
I hear that sentence about once a week. From friends. Family. Even strangers.
And I know what they mean. What they’re really saying.
“I don’t know how you put up with so many kids for so many hours a day.”
Why would a sane person have 5 of them? Why would they choose to stay home with them? And how in the world do they do it?
Okay. Here’s the answer. For any of you considering 5 kids. Considering homeschooling. Considering jumping out of a plane with a mended parachute.
One-God. Honestly. I couldn’t do it without my morning time in the closet (literally) with Him. Tucked away from the world. Cramming verses into my head. Scribbling prayers that often end with “help me.”
Two-Quiet time. “Do not come out of your rooms till 3:00.” This house shuts down from 2:00-3:00 every day. Not kidding. The introvert in me craves this hour of silence. It’s golden. Do not speak to me. Do not cry. Do not come near my bedroom door.
Three-Video games. Judge me. It’s fine. But our kids get an hour of “screen time” every day after quiet time. They come up, get a snack, then waste their brains for an hour. So in total, I get (count it) 2 hours of “me time” every afternoon. And it’s glorious!
Four-Schedule. Things run like clockwork around here. I’m a legalist when it comes to routine. A little OCD maybe. The big boys know what to do when. They know when it’s their “school with Mom time,” “watch Esther/Kenan time,” and “alone time.”
Five-Trampoline. “Everybody outside right now.” I say it almost every day. “Go. Just go. Everybody on the trampoline.” Because we all (me included) need fresh air. We need to jump. Throw balls at each other. Curl up in blankets and read books.
That’s just 5. I could name tons more. Helpful friends. Jeremy’s support. Family close by. Simple curriculum. Crockpots. Audio books. Minimal expectations. Ritz crackers.
Is this the life my 18 year old self envisioned?
Not a chance. Not a single piece of my current reality matches up with my original plans.
And that could scare me to death. Make me doubt.
Or it could make me humble. Reliant. Leaning hard into the only One who really knows.
God doesn’t make mistakes. With our jobs, families, locations, or callings. With our kid-count. Money-count. Achievement-count.
He just keeps loving us. And strengthening us. And being extra gracious to us.
And in the irony of it all, I find myself echoing these same words back to Him.
“I don’t know how You do it.”
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake (Psalm 23:1-3)