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In the Life of a Mom of 8

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

Heather Michelle Williams

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

"I don't know how she does it," I hear people say. "How do you keep up with that many?" This is my normal... It's what I do.

I'm sitting here now, smelling like smoke, and reflecting on the day. Sometimes, it seems like every day is an adventure. "I bet there's never a dull moment," I have heard many people comment. I can't remember the last time I felt BORED. But there are many unpleasant moments! I had to ground my almost-five-year-old tonight, which, sadly, made him miss out on the backyard fireworks and firepit time. He watched from the window.

It certainly wasn't fun when I had to keep telling him over and over to do his chore. Simply picking up the things off of the hallway floor is his designated chore. I found myself doing all kinds of work around the house, only to find hours later, over and over, that he still had not done his easy chore. It became time for the promised fireworks, and he thought he could be instantly ungrounded, after all the disobedience, by finally doing his chore really quickly. It didn't work that way tonight. He has to learn that I mean what I say. That's the NOT FUN part.

It has been nearly 6 weeks now since my children's father died. My number three came over to my lap this morning with a droopy face. He is preceded by twins who turn 11 soon. He will always be right on their heels, turning 10 the following month; though, his height has caught them long ago! He said with his sad voice that he misses his dad so much. I gathered his long, lanky legs up into my lap and held him as he folded over on me. I laid my head against his and said, "What can I do for you?" He said, discouraged sounding, "I don't know..." I countered, "How about we go to the coffee shop your daddy used to take you to?" He liked that idea.

The kids had been to this one coffee shop in particular with their dad several times during our separation. Their grandparents were there to help, also. I was pleased that he finally took them along to places. They felt like a million bucks! Money is not as tight as it was just two months ago. So, I wanted to help them cherish the memory of being with their father there. We ran a few errands and then, arrived.

I realize how ridiculous it must appear to be taking eight young children into a coffee shop where students are studying, others are relaxing or listening to headphones, still others are having quiet time on their computers. I told my children that it is kind of like a library because some people are doing homework. We got a carafe of decaf, a chai latte that the girls shared, and snacks that two of my sons preferred rather than coffee or tea.

There are so many things that I must be very intentionally preventative about! First, the girls got some cards out. I had to instruct a little etiquette about that. They had the rolling tray in front of their feet and were moving quite a bit. The baby was using the little cream container as his cup and kept wanting more, more, more of anything and everything. It got to the point that I had to refill it, or, in about 2 and a half seconds, like it or not, we would all hear screaming! The older boys liked to sit at the fireplace. Not much different from their mother, they are fascinated at fires! I had to make sure to instruct them not to touch, put things in, or sit too closely. I also had to watch and enforce that policy!

Emmanuel in particular reminisced as best as he knew how while we were there. I felt my time limit was approaching for keeping eight little rascals somewhat polite in a public place. I caught a cup before it spilled as baby was kicking around and grabbing what he could reach. I heard something tossed into the fireplace--I believe, one of the little fire rocks they have (one must have maneuvered its way to the edge of the

space, and fortunately, a brave boy must have saved it from getting cold by tossing it to the middle of the flames). But this was against my rule. Believe me, if my rule didn't put a boundary there, worse things would indeed take place by my very courageous and very curious boys! I also heard someone comment something about burning hair... I heard myself say, "We have to get out of here before something bad happens." I think I saw the corners of the lips on the lady close to us curl upward as she seemed to be making efforts of minding her own business but must have found us amusing.

Everything was so hands on trying to get out the door. I tried to gather up everyone's trash and cups and put them in the spots that the shop requests its customers to leave things. By that time, my three-year-old was pushing baby and stroller towards the outside steps as an older brother holds the door. Another brother was grabbing the stroller from her and trying to keep everyone safe. I scurried over to help with the stroller on the steps as a family waited, watching patiently to see how this was going to go down. Sister screamed at brother taking the stroller from her, but we went on in stride. I guess I am getting used to people watching us. They must not can help but to watch when they see so many young children doing normal, everyday things in normal, everyday places. I kind of get it, I guess.

We stopped on the way home and got fireworks. The employee gave the normal surprised questions and comments that I am now so used to hearing, "Are they all yours?" and such.

Lunch was peaceful at home. It lasted all of five minutes, I think. And then, it was chores time. It seems I should get to sit and relax while the kids do their chores since I pretty much do everything else 24/7. But they stress me out terribly while doing chores. If it's not arguing/fighting, it's asking me questions, trying to connive me to partly do their chore for them, or just playing around where I have to say over and over again what they are supposed to be doing. My least favorite time of day. But it is so nice when some of the chores actually get done, and I have a wiped table, halfway swept floor, room to walk in the living room... In reality, I usually have to go behind them if I want anything to be at least, functionally clean.

Timothy, the baby, was in bed for his nap. I took the opportunity to do something that has been on my list--change out the electrical socket behind my living room loveseat! I had learned how to in theory in a class! But I have not had hands on with this until today!

Maybe you are scared for me as you read this! I know to turn the breaker off to those

plugs! And yes, I tested to make sure no power was going to them. After a lot of diligent tinkering, I got it working!! All this while icing my pulled muscle or whatever is wrong with my arm. It feels like it is falling off these last two days! At this moment in life did I realize, I may not be your typical white girl...

There could be a very good story behind this parent-injury; as we all know, there should be hazard pay for parents!! However, the best explanation I can come up with is that maybe when I took a nap Sunday, I slept on it wrong! Yes, such an interesting story that is, I know. I mean, I use these arms to do a plethora of things on a daily basis! It could have been a number of things. I do remember tossing my 20-month-old baby

up and down. I don't think it hurt after that. I don't remember it hurting until I was having a

dream Sunday afternoon of my arm hurting. And then, I woke up, believe it or not, with a hurt arm. Shameful injury. And I tell myself, "Welcome to your 30s, Heather."

I really think I pulled something. I don't have full range of motion two days later. I can do a lot of things, still. But certain motions stop me in my tracks with the pain! So anyway, this is me trying to rest it and not do too much! Ha! Someone teach me how to take it easy! I would LOVE a few lessons and lots of practice

time on that!!

We noticed that our light fixture in the laundry room is again, hanging from the wires like a pop out surprise at us! I had "fixed" this another time. The place where the screws hold was partially stripped. So, I had found some screws that were similar in size but had deeper grooves so that

maybe they would hold. Guess not. Too bad for today on that, though. Because this arm would not reach in that manner to be trying to fix that up above my head. It is my deltoid area that is hurting on my right and dominant arm. So, no, not attempting this today. I am going to see if I can get someone else to do it since I have already tried, anyway.

Life stays interesting, for sure! My older kids are out in the tent as I type this, supposed to be asleep by, what is now, 11:00 PM! Nonetheless, I hear some playful screams out there... I told them that this may be the last night for the tent in a LONG time because it keeps falling, and I will have to replace some of the poles. It is just not worth it to have to get rainwater out of there and make sure it dries out again and again. It's getting put up!

Irrespective of how fun it is to recap these absolutely full days, I must also get some sleep. Maybe my arm will decide to be healed in another day or two! And MAYBE I can find a way to get myself to rest more tomorrow! Ha! I feel like how the cartoon of the little mice, Pinky and The Brain, sound, masterminding their plans for the next day. "And tomorrow, we take over the world!" one says to the other. Yeah right, tomorrow I will REST! Laugh out loud! At least I am sharing more of what people seem to be so intrigued about--what my days are like with eight kids!

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