MamaJulep's List of Big Family Issues: A View from inside the Frat House
1. Going any place where you all have to be seated, preferably together, has to be a well-planned execution with plenty of time to get there ahead of the crowd who doesn't have to be early. Going to church? If you all want to sit in the same pew, plan on getting there about 30 minutes before they turn the lights on. Make your extra time sitting there more craptastic by adding a toddler or three, so by the time Father walks in they are good and ready to meltdown. One Christmas Eve I sat an hour ahead with my triplets, who were nine-Jesus-help-me-months old. Their dad decided to take my 3 year old out
Wanna "grab a bite"? You better call the diner before you leave and give them the *warning* that you need "the big table". It' doesn't have to be a reservation kinda place because with a party of eight or more, it can be The Sizzler or Waffle House. They always act like you just brought in the church bus at Cracker Barrel and you need to wait while we build tables in the back just for you. And they always put you in that back room by the bathrooms and the dirty dishes. And if they do actually seat you by regular folks, you get the eye rolls and head turns. Because we're freaks.
Only it happens every. godforsaken. day. And mama ends up with a cold prison shower bathing with men's sport wash because her stuff was highjacked by teenage girls. And my bathroom lottery number never comes up.
3. Privacy? Personal space? What's that? Yes, we live in the frat house and the party never has a curfew. Wanna pee alone? Have a private phone conversation? Watch a movie without pausing it 85 times? Shower without visitors? All are a "no" at my house unless you get real creative. Ever seen a kid brush their teeth on the back porch so nobody spits on them? Come over! Looking for one of your kids? Check the prison bus, it's like the hide out when you can't take another person next to you one more second! And we share every space, so no one has their own room including me, who gets to share a bed with a six year old ninja sleeper. Believe it or not, my crew is pretty modest so no one changes clothes together or opens up the bathroom and does the unthinkable while someone else is already in there. But when we all do hang together and eat a meal or watch a movie, we have to be flexible and not be selfish turds. Hmmm.
4. We never have anything we need, mostly because of hoarders. As soon as new loot hits the house, the kids are all over it like we're living The Hunger Games and it's the last time we will EVER GET THIS! School lunch snacks? Vanished. You won't find them when you're packing a half dozen lunches. Try checking their closets and under their mattresses. Oh yes Honey! Looking for a soft drink? Why would it be in the kitchen? Check under their beds or behind the dresser. And things like clean towels, deodorant, razors? uh..., no. You'd have to get on the black market if you want your own bath cloth. It's usually the six year old who knows where all the good stuff is. Luckily, she can still be bribed.
|Yeah, that's us, back in the day of only 5 kids. At the wholesale club. Yeah.|
And we make lots of garbage. We get one trash can the city picks up once a week, which is, well, inadequate. So I also recycle. And I have a compost pile. And Friday mornings I sneak around nearby houses like a bandit and put extra bags of nasty in other bins.
7. Anything involving all of us has to be planned out like a military maneuver. Most kids are involved in a few things at once, but for us, everyone gets to pick ONE extra activity at a time because there is only ONE of me! My family calendar looks like the human resources department for a Fortune 500 company. Planning for Christmas or Back-To-School requires spreadsheets and highlighters and two number 2 pencils and a GPS and three major credit cards. My extended family wanted all of the grandchildren to get gifts from each family. Well drawing names is great when you have a couple of kids. Oh, and it's a $20 limit. So that put me in for $120 in gifts for kids I never see that aren't mine! So I suggested we each bring gifts for each of our own kids to open, that is unless they wanted their kids to open a jar of peanut butter. They got on board with me. And togetherness plus going out equals money. With a big crew you can't take that for granted. Just going to a high school football game with the crew can dent the budget so we plan and bring a cooler with drinks and snacks and all that planning makes you rethink what the hell have I done? And with all my experience I really think I could run a Fortune 500. Or at least order their office supplies.
|My kitchen table. Two weeks before school started. I'm still not done shopping.|
From the carpool line,