Whenever I meet someone new, and that person finds out how many children I have, one of the first things my new friend will say is some version of, “I wish that I could spend a day at your home watching how a mom of nine gets it all done.”
I understand the feeling. When I only had three or four children but was dreaming of more, I felt the same way about mothers of many. I wanted to see how they ordered their day:
- to keep from going crazy
- to keep the house from falling apart
- to educate their children
- to feed reasonably healthy meals
I also wanted an inside look into how a mom of nine handled life’s frustrations as they inevitably came up. You know, you have this picture in your head of what motherhood will be like, and it rarely turns out that way. So I wanted to see what motherhood REALLY looked like when there were a ton of children.
What an Average Day Looks Like For a Mom of Nine
5:45—I get up and get some work done before the children are awake. We have a family rule that the children must stay in their beds until 7:30, so this gives me uninterrupted time.
7:30—The oldest children are up and start working on their schoolwork, the youngest few sleep for a bit longer. I go ahead and grab a shower and do my 10 Minute Beauty Routine. I get the laundry going.
8:00-8:30-9:00—I feed the baby, put out a few fires, check math from the previous day and mark today’s assignments, have the children do chores and get dressed.
9:00-10:00—Make and eat breakfast, read the children a Proverb, and do a devotional with the younger kids, the older kids do their own Bible reading as part of their day, so they go get back to work on school.
10:00-12:00—I lay the baby down for his nap, start a new load of laundry, do math and reading lessons with the youngest who still need my help (the 5, and 7-year old mostly, but the 8 and 10-year old regularly still come and get help with math). This is probably the craziest part of my day, as sometimes I will have a line 4-children long of people needing math help. Occasionally, one of the oldest two will jump in line too. Everyone does math at the same time, and they generally finish around the same time too.
I have a rule that no one is allowed to interrupt during a reading lesson. It’s too hard for the child trying to learn if we are constantly being interrupted. Two children are doing reading lessons right now.
During all of this math and reading instruction, I am keeping the 3-year old and the 18-month old toddler wrangled in the living room. We have gates that section this room off from the rest of the downstairs. On the blessedly calm days, the 3-year old colors (which he calls math), and it’s wonderful. On the normal days, he and the other toddler wrestle or make forts. It can get a little crazy, and I normally have to separate them at some point.
12:00-1:00—I get the baby up, start a new load of laundry, feed the baby, and finish up with any reading instruction, or math help that had to wait. I like to get a story in at this point with one of the monthly themed picture-story books that I get from the library.
1:00-2:00—I prepare and serve lunch for the younger half, the older half create their own. We will have sandwiches, I almost always have a big pot of beans, cilantro lime rice, and chicken cooked up, sometimes there are leftovers. It’s a casual affair. I sneak in a little cleaning during this time in the kitchen.
Between 1:30 and 1:45 I get the 3-year old and the 18-month old down for afternoon naps. I read them a story first, we sing a song or two, and then they go down, and I start a new load of laundry.
2:00-2:30—We listen to an audiobook, I start working again, I put the baby down for his nap at 2:30.
2:30-4:30. The children are usually done with school before lunch, so they have free playtime now. We have neighbors who live across the street, and they all play together over here or over there. For the most part, they are playing outside. I exercise up in my room at 4:00, and the 3-year old usually gets up around 3:30 or 4:00, and will snuggle for a while, and then go out and play on our deck (we have a huge enclosed deck).
4:30-6:00—I get the youngest two up, feed the baby and the toddler gets to go play on the deck with a bigger kid, usually one of the girls like to take him out, but the older boys do it too. Usually, by this time, everyone is playing on the deck anyway. At 5:00, everything stops and temporarily, everyone comes in to clean up the downstairs, vacuum, one of the children does a quick clean of all of the bathrooms, and another child unloads the dishwasher, then they all go back outside on the deck. I am cooking dinner at this point.
6:00-7:45—We eat dinner. Most evenings, my husband will do a devotional at the table. I go upstairs to get all of the laundry folded that didn’t get folded throughout the day, the dining room gets cleaned up, the dishes get done.
7:45-8:15—All of the kids put their folded laundry away, and then, it’s bedtime for the younger crowd. The kids get pajamas on, etc. My husband handles the story time, saying of prayers, tucking in, etc and I go downstairs and sit on the couch and take a breather.
8:15-10:30—The older kids stay up until 9:00, then go to bed. Ryan and I will watch TV, talk, etc. during this time, and then turn in for the night.
So that’s the gist of my day. Some days are Murphy’s Law type days, and things go wrong, so we get out of routine, but that’s okay. Other days, we have a commitment outside of the home (Wednesday afternoon and Thursday evenings are martial arts, every other Thursday is knitting class for the girls, and Friday is speech and debate for the older boys), so those days look drastically different.
Thankfully, our mornings are solid, and that is where we get all of our homeschooling in. I don’t schedule appointments or any outings in the morning unless it is a really special circumstance. It’s just too hard to maximize the day when the morning routine is compromised.
The two constants in our mornings are Bible at breakfast and math. Everything else is negotiable.
So that’s what a Day in the Life of this mom of nine children is like. On another day I will have to post what my life looked like when all of my children were much younger. Now that was crazy.