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How Do You Cope? 6 KIDS!!

“I don’t know how you do it. I can’t even handle two”

I hear this a lot. When Simon and I set out to have a family we knew we wanted four children. That was one of the things that brought us together. When we got to four, five was definitely planned and then six became the icing on the cake.

I can’t claim that they are all angels. Each and every one of our children test us. Thankfully, not all at the same time.

So how do I do it? My husband is away nine months of the year and I homeschool. The buck pretty much stops here. I am the CEO, CFO, GM, president, chauffeur, housekeeper, nurse, physician, drill sergeant… Bottom line is, I am a mother. One thing I am not, and never can or will be is their father. That is a role solely reserved for their dad.

Yes, my faith helps me a lot. I could not do anything without His divine grace and mercy but all those times when I am put to the test I am also supremely human. I do the best I can and sometimes the best I can manage on the day is to be angry, grumpy and unreasonable. On other days my best is getting all the schoolwork done, the house spotless and a couple of gourmet, chef inspired meals on the table served with a smile.

My point is I am not perfect. No one is. I have bad days just like everyone else. I try not to beat myself up about it. I apologise, I get up, I move on,  I keep going forward. I try to learn from my mistakes. That’s how I do it.

My family is my safe haven. They see the best and the worst of me but at the end of day we are a family and on those days when I feel like giving up and walking out (and I have had a few of those) I remind myself that our children are human too. They have their bad days and their very good days too, just like me.

At the end of the day our main goal is to show our children that perhaps one of the most valuable things we could teach them is that we are all human trying to do our best and tomorrow is a new day and we can all try again. In our family, we do second chances.

Peace everyone! ❤

Its The Simple Things

This weekend just gone was one of the best we have had this year. We drove to York on the Friday afternoon – about an 100km from Perth. The local priest, Fr. Stephen invited Simon and I to stay in the presbytery with him while the children pitched a tent in the backyard. The next morning Simon and the kids waved me off and went to explore quaint, historic York as I rode back to Perth with the 98.5 Sonshine FM Morning Cafe _ Ride for Hope on their last day of an epic 500km ride from Albany.

It was a beautifully scenic ride. I have truly missed my bicycle and that feeling of freedom while I am riding.

Simon and I then ended the day at a Marriage Encounter Love Circle meeting.

The next morning we were up bright and early again for the children’s first Little Nippers session on the beach. Over 2 hours of surf and beach skills later it was home for a quick shower and change then off again to a late Oktoberfest party with a young German family we met through mutual friends.

Full on but immensely satisfying.

This last weekend has really driven home to me how its the simple thing that make for some of the most amazing memories and rewarding experiences. We spent hardly any money but the children haven’t stopped talking about the great time they had. The smiles on the children’s faces over the weekend were priceless. The company of good friends sharing cultures, conversations, food and drink is immeasurable.

The Secret To My Success!

Ok so I have been slack again. Life has a way of getting in the way for some reason… I guess that kinda happens with six kids… They all got sick… we were away… and the excuses keep coming!

Here is the clincher – If someone else said the same thing to me, my advice to them would be simple, write up a schedule or a timetable and stick to it!!

Don’t we all just want to find that extra hour in every day? I have found that several things help me get through my day productively and efficiently and the first of these things is a schedule. I have a plan for every hour or two and I try as hard as I can to stick to it. The bonus is, if I get through what I hope to achieve in that hour or two I have extra time just for me – to read a book or play some Facebook game!! 😛 You See, FOUND! An extra 15 minutes!! It is very rewarding! And on the rare occasion I don’t meet my deadline, it is not a big deal, tomorrow is another beautiful day.

The reason this works for me is that when I am on a schedule, I focus on what I have to do rather than running around in circles trying to do six things all at once.

I have to qualify, I am not a nazi with my timetable, there have been times when everything gets tossed out the window for a day to explore the great outdoors. Throw in the kids and homeschooling and some days can be very challenging but on the whole, most days, it works extremely well.

You will be amazed how much time you suddenly have when you get some focus into your life!

I think I will schedule “lists” into my next post!

Good night everyone!

Jacqueline xx

Ripples In Week 2

Two weeks of Vac Swim down, two to go and we have had our first ‘drama’ sessions for the year. It started with jelly fish infested waters and ended with our first attempt at running away from home… With 3 apples and a small rug I didn’t think No. 1 was going to get very far.

I have to admit jelly fish stings are not very pleasant but it is a tough love attitude around here. So, “Toughen up princess!” was the order of the day. I am really grateful that the teachers also supported that attitude.


Level 7 Vac Swim In The Bag!!

She finally did get on with the rest of her lessons for the week and even passed level 7!! YAY!! (I knew she would – but she had to get over the jelly fish phobia first and actually swim!!)


Level 4 Here We Come!!


Too Easy!! Bring On Level 8!!

My other 3 Vac swimmers all passed too!! WooHoo!!

Towards the end of last week I was congratulating myself on how lucky I was that I had gotten to 12 years of motherhood without any of my children even once telling me that they hated me… And so guess what happened? Yup! No. 1 didn’t actually say it to my face but I got a letter with a litany of hates… I’m thinking I’m gonna keep that and give it to her when her daughter turns twelve!! Hahahaha!!

Oh the joys of girls, pre-teens, puberty and adolescents!! Just think, I only have another 5 more kidlettes to go!

Watch Out 2013, Here Come The Anthonys

Week 1 – January 2013

It is that time of the year when I look back at the year just gone and wonder if things could get any crazier this year… It is also traditionally New Years resolution time… I usually make it a point not to make any resolutions but I thought I would do something different this year.

My two resolutions are to start running again and to post here at least weekly. Seems easy enough… I’ve already gone for my first run – 4km on new years eve, and today, my first blog post for the year. Off to a great start already!!


So far 2013 has been good. The kiddies swimming lessons at the beach are in full swing. 6.30 is an early start for children who are used to getting up after 8. This week we have only had 3 days of lessons due to New Years Day falling on Tuesday but things are rolling along nicely. I think, after 6 years we have fine tuned our beach visits to perfection!! We have not been late once or forgotten any food, drink, goggles or towels!!

I have only good things to say about Vacswim. For less than $60 a year for four weeks of lessons for 4 children what do I have to complain about? The best thing about these lessons is that my children have learned to swim.

So just to emphasise this point here. I DID NOT need to pay mega bucks for baby/ toddler swimming lessons for years on end. My children can swim and I no longer feel like a neglectful mother for not availing them of the opportunity to have lessons that at such a tender age, they will promptly forget!! There are plenty other ways I bond with my children and besides, I don’t like getting wet!

Mummy is Currently Targeting “Getting Jobs Done”

This has been an on-going battle for sometime and I finally decided to draw the line. After trying a myriad of rewards, star charts, even beans in jars I decided to be brutal instead. If assigned jobs are not done in a timely manner or fashion then ALL the older kids would lose the use of the computer for the day.

2 weeks into this exercise and my house was falling apart but I was starting to get their attention. The first protest was “It is not fair that EVERYONE loses their screen time if only one of the children is slack” Easy fix!! I even had a few answers

1) Everyone lives in the house therefore everyone is responsible for keeping it tidy.

2) If everyone pitched in and did their part then everyone would benefit and all the jobs would be done a lot faster and everyone would have less to do overall.

3) They wouldn’t have a grumpy, over-worked mum,

And the answer that I think got through the best was,

4) If even one of the jobs is not done, i.e. toilet or floors or packing/ unpacking the dishwasher then EVERYONE ‘suffers’ and therefore everyone should share the consequence…

It makes sense to me!!

The next beauty was, “If we went to school the house would be neater ‘cos we wouldn’t be home to make a mess!” Yeah right Miss M!! If you went to school you would have more on your plate because you would have a full day at school and then have to come home and clean up anyway!!

Then I got the argument “But our friends get paid when they do their chores”

I have to admit this was a little tougher because even before any of the kids were born I had decided that there would be no monetary incentive for any chores done in the house. The point is, do YOU get paid to clean your house? This is their house too, not just mine. When they are older and if they can afford to then they can hire their own housekeeper!!

Up till now the kids weren’t too fussed but the jobs were not getting done either.  Oh trust me, I have been tempted many a time to give in and pay the kids but I haven’t yet and I do wonder if it would really make any difference. Definitely, in the short term things would be spotless. But consider the fact that I have 6 kids! I would probably bankrupt myself AND still have a messy house anyway!!

More importantly I wonder what sort of example would it send if I did renege on the no monetary incentive ‘rule’. Am I over analysing the issue if I think this is the start of a slippery slope? If I can’t stand my ground on a smaller issue and not be swayed by a little, sustained protest then what happens when it comes to the stuff that is really important? Like my faith and moral values?

Yes, there will be some things that I have and will change my mind about but on issues that matter to me I have to make a stand. I need to pick my battles and in the battle between living in a respectable home or living in a dump, unfortunately, kids, you are going to lose!

Into week three and there is light at the end of the tunnel!! They are due to get their computer back in a day AND the dining table and counter tops are clean, the sink is empty and the dishwasher is humming away and not one sound of protest. There was even light hearted bantering happening around the tea towels… Wow!!

Something has to be said about sticking to your guns.

Let me clarify something here too. I did not have kids so I could have free slave labour. (Although I do joke about that with the kids) I believe very strongly that I am raising adults and not promoting perpetual childhood. With that in mind, knowing that one day they will move out and set up homes of their own whether with a spouse or house mates, I do not want my adult children to be the one that everyone has to pick up after or have to house train. Remember, there are 8 of us. Throw in pets and a never ending flow of children’s friends and house guests, that makes for a fair bit of mess and dirt. We also live in a big house. It therefore makes more sense if everyone pitches in. I do my own fair share of the house work and I am certainly not having coffee and cake while they vacuum!!

I’ll let you know how things are progressing in a couple of weeks!!

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