One birthday my grandmother gave me a baby doll. It had a soft body, dressed in a blue outfit with white poke-a-dots and a plastic face and hands. I couldn’t hide my disappointment. I didn’t like playing with baby dolls and only did when my friends wanted to. She complained and I was required to apologize and thank her.
So, how did I end up with six kids when I didn’t even like to babysit? How did I manage six kids, newborn to eight? The secret…wait for it…wait for it…is nap-time. Well, it did provide a much-needed time for me to recoup halfway through the day. Actually, it was all about consistent routine.
I created consistent routines and rarely deviated, except for special occasions. I know other women have found their own ways to deal with multiple children but for me, this was the answer. I would start when they were born, working to keep them on a regular feeding schedule. By the time they were six weeks old, I began working toward regular naps throughout the day. Of course, one of those naps would coincide with everyone else’s nap-time.
Mealtime, school, playtime, nap-time, ‘pick up your toys’ time and bedtime were a continuously regular. I’m not saying it always went as planned. There were multiple days I would stretch out on the couch after laying them all down for naps, usually while pregnant, and chant, “My happiness does not depend on whether or not my kids sleep. My happiness does not depend on whether or not my kids sleep.”
You could set your watch by the Womack’s schedule. I remember a woman came up to me at church and with concern written across her face, after finding out I was pregnant with number five and asked, “How are you going to manage?” It seemed an odd question to me. I had my routines. Even my kids were used to them. It was a way of life for me.
I responded to her inferring having five young children would be too much for me to handle, with, “Like I’ve always have.” That’s exactly what I did, but those naps were key to my survival... and regular bedtimes.
Now, when the kids were eleven to nineteen, there were times I thought I would die. So many teenagers, so many hormones, so much drama. But, I’m living proof that with God’s help and a little routine, you too can survive motherhood.