Monday, November 19, 2012


I used to laugh at a friend who always ended up with 6 kids every day.

I was amazed and astounded at how she effortlessly juggled so many different kids, managing school pick-ups, playdate swaps and surprise extra kids - yet always remained calm and cool.

What chaos her life seemed.

Fast forward two years and now I am that person - and she laughs at the chaos that has taken over my life.

I'm now the one with a gang of kids. Most people look at me like I used to look at my friend - with disbelief: how many kids do you have today? How many extras on top of your own 3?!

But you know what, I don't even think about it. I'm just helping out friends, socialising my kids and giving them all a sense of belonging to a fun and friendly crew.
I call them my Chaos Crew, because we wreak chaos wherever we go. It's not uncommon for me to arrive at the local playground with all 6 of my car seats filled with kids. 

On Friday I took six kids to Fota Wildlife Park for an hour and we had a ball. They loved it. The park was closing, we were practically the only ones there and we had a great time (we're members so I didn't have to pay, otherwise we wouldn't have gone).

The way I see it, I'm socialising my kids. I'm getting them used to having friends around, getting them used to sharing everything and waiting their turn. I don't get paid for it, so that way I only take my friends' kids who I like and are used to playing with my kids (and it's not all the time). My kids stop whining at me, they have fun, mummy gets a mental break. 

In fact, here's my discovery, the more kids you have, the easier it becomes. 

[Unless they're under 2 of course. By far the hardest kid I have at the moment is my own 18month old, who needs constant watching because of his death-wish climbing and running away tendencies.]

The beauty of having extra/older kids around is when I have to drop everything and chase my little Crazy Horse I can shout back to the oldest, "you're in charge". They love this, even if it's just for 1 minute and they're safe in a playground or strapped into their seats in the car, they love feeling empowered and I think the other kids love the sense that a kid is in charge whilst mum is busy elsewhere.

All I have to do is make sure they all go to the toilet at the same time and make sure I have a few bottles of water and snacks.

The payoff then is that I get time off from my kids when it's their turns to go to friends' houses.

You see, once you've raised your game to the chaos of three kids, you really can handle anything. That's my own personal theory anyway. Once you get used to having more kids than arms, you learn to handle kids differently. Physically it's draining, but you get used to that, psychologically I actually find it quite liberating.

You learn to deal with them in order of urgency, as in, if there's a poo coming, you have to drop everything and race off to the toilet, but if someone is only whingeing for a drink or a snack, you can tell them to wait until the urgent things get sorted.

Don't get me wrong, at times I can't cope with my own 3. I get exasperated and overwhelmed and I shout at them to listen to me when I feel the balance of power is tipping in their favour.

But I'm used to the chaos now, I expect it, and anything less is a welcome break.

And although I dearly love silence and stillness, I'm learning to embrace the madness that used to frighten the life out of me. Because that's what kids bring. Total and utter chaos.

You can't control them, you just have to change your own perspective and go with their erratic flow - and just hope that along the way we find a happy balance where my shouty frustrations disappear as we navigate into a happier future.


Maud said...

You are dead impressive. I'll take my friends' kids for a while, but no more than two at a time, and usually only at home. (Then again, my car doesn't seat more than three kids max.)

Unknown said...

I totally agree. I look on having extra children around as an entertainment opportunity; time out for the kids and for me. That's why we got a bigger car...there always seemed to be extra children coming home.

Anonymous said...

Fair play. I really wouldn't cope with taht many kids, I find my 2 stressful enough lol x

Tree said...

I know, I used to find kids very stressful, can't stand noise. But something happened when I had the third, who was Mr Chaos Personified. I had to raise my game and now I can handle more!
The 7-seater car has helped, as our house is only small.

Emily said...

I completely get you, I would feel the same too, and often when we have other kids in the house, thy are all galloping around the garden and so it is so much quieter in the house!!