I started this feature to celebrate real mums. Mums are amazing and come in all shapes and sizes but sometimes we can feel alone, we can feel as though we are the only ones struggling to keep on top of things. I want to lift the lid on motherhood so we can all feel part of a sisterhood, to feel proud about our own achievements and know that we are doing the best we can!
Without further a do let me hand over to Jenny!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
My name is Jenny and I live in the Northeast United States with my husband Phillip, our 5 great kids, and a crayfish named Flippy even though I swore no pets!
I’m a perfectionist who is always late, and at any given time my house could either be a disaster area or immaculate (well, that’s a lie, but the floor might be swept.) I poke fun at myself and blog about our messy, loud life at Unremarkable Files.
Describe a typical day in your life
6:30 – Alarm goes off. Hit snooze and spend 9 minutes plotting how to get a nap today.
6:40 – Get older 3 kids ready for 2 school buses, breakfast for everyone.
6:50 – Do a “quick” email check, get sucked in, and almost cause kids to miss the bus.
8:05 – Buses are gone. 3-year-old plays iPad and baby amuses himself while I catch up on bloggy stuff.
9:00 – Shower with the 3-year-old while the baby sits in the bathroom and gets soaked playing with the shower curtain. Or does something hideous like sucking on the caps covering the screws on the toilet.
10:00 – Housework or go outside or to the library.
12:30 – Lunch. 3-year-old wants tortillas every day except for days I assume she does and make them without asking.
1:30 – Baby goes down for nap. 3-year-old will only lie down if I’m in the room, so I sit with her and read my scriptures. Sometimes I even stay awake.
2:45 – Big kids start coming home from school in waves. Commence crazy 3 hours of getting snacks, reading books, checking homework, supervising 8-year-old’s violin practice, reminding kids to do their chores with a baby on my hip.
6:00 – Realize I haven’t started dinner. Crap.
6:45 – Try to model good manners and conversational skills at the dinner table; kids continue to act like feral monkeys.
7:15 – Clean up (we all have “kitchen cleaning chores”), family scriptures and prayer, kids clean up rooms and get ready for bed. Lights out between 8 – 8:30.
8:30 – Frantically try to cram in another 6 hours’ worth of work until Phillip convinces me to go to bed. Usually we’re sleeping by 11:30. I’m trying to get better but I’m a workaholic and a terrible night owl.
What is the best thing about being a mum?
Watching my kids play together and help each other. They get along more often than they fight. I love knowing that they’re each others’ best friends and will be for the rest of their lives.
What have you found hardest about motherhood?
The transition from one child to two was brutal!
Having a third, fourth, or fifth baby is still an adjustment but nothing like baby #2.
It took me a while to realize that maybe I couldn’t give 100% to either child anymore, but they were getting this enormous gift of the love and attention of a sibling and it was well worth the trade-off. I didn’t need to be so hard on myself.
These days, my biggest challenge is just staying on top of all the calendaring. I feel like I need to have an executive board meeting with myself every day – but I don’t have time!
How has your body changed?
If you’d asked me a few years ago, I’d say not much. But I had a C-section with my fifth baby that left a big area on my belly mostly numb and tingly, but it still gets irritated when things touch it. It’s been over a year and still feels completely alien to me. I try not to think about it too much because there’s nothing I can do. But it really bugs me.
Do you wear makeup? If so what does your routine look like?
Most days, I actually do. It makes me feel ready for the day, like putting clothes on. I do my makeup after the older kids have left for school, while the baby sits on the bathroom counter chewing on his dad’s toothbrush (shh, don’t tell!) and my 3-year-old asks 352 questions and tries to run away with my eyelash curler.
What’s in your handbag?
Right now? One container of wipes, a toy garbage truck, a board book about colors, an Ortega coupon, 3 pens, a Ziploc baggy of Cheerios, another baggy of Cheerio dust, an action figure of some superhero I don’t recognize, a bottle of hand sanitizer, a cell phone with a dead battery, a game piece from Candyland, a diaper, my wallet, an Epi-pen, a Chapstick, a tampon, and a church bulletin.
What is your relationship with housework?
My house is usually a total mess, because if I don’t have time to deep-clean the whole room then I’ll completely ignore it. Until I flip out later and end up cleaning out the grout between the tiles with a toothbrush. I pester the kids to clean up after themselves a lot, too.
How do you relax?
Well, Phillip would say I don’t! I have a hard time not doing anything productive. Even if I veg out with a book or a movie, I’m telling myself “this book is for my cultural enlightenment” or “watching this movie with Phillip is time to bond as a couple.” I guess the most pointless thing I do is surf YouTube for funny videos, but even that I can chalk up to “research for my blog.”
Wow, I just re-read that and realized I sound like the least fun person in the world.
What’s the best parenting advice you have ever been given?
Let the kids entertain themselves and don’t feel bad about it, but when they ask for your attention drop what you’re doing (if at all possible) and give it to them.
For any new mums out there, what would you like to tell them?
Write everything down! You think you’ll never forget how old they were when they first crawled or got a tooth, or all the cute stuff they said when they were 2, but you will. And if you have more than one child, you’ll mix up who said and did what.
What makes you happy?
Ironically, the things that make me happy are getting sleep, spending time with my husband, and my relationship with God – but those are also the things I constantly have to work the hardest at or they get pushed aside by other less important stuff!
And finally, complete this sentence:
I am a great mum because….. I care a lot about helping my kids develop into well-rounded, happy adults. I’m trying (some days more successfully than others) to build them a foundation of faith in God and Christ that can help them through life.
Your relationship with housework sounds a lot like mine! I have days where I just ignore it but then I go a little OCD and clean everywhere!!
You can find out more about Jenny and her world over at Unremarkable Files
She is also on Twitter so go say hi!
If you would like to take part in my Real Mums series then email me at email@example.com. x