My family of 7 can be a lot of work. Some days I find myself so completely drained and exhausted that I can’t quite remember what it feels like to just be me. (That usually means my priorities are some how out of whack and that I’m not taking care of myself, but sometimes it takes me a few days or weeks to figure that out.)
Other days, my heart is so full and overflowing that I don’t have the words to adequately express the joy that my family brings me.
Today was a lot more like the former.
Caring for a newborn is exhausting. Because I nurse my baby and I co-sleep, I literally (Yes, literally.) have someone on my person about 23.5 hours a day. I’m not complaining about this; I’m just stating the facts. The truth is I wouldn’t trade either of those for a little more time to myself. This very needy newborn period is short-lived and well worth it in the long run. But that doesn’t change the fact that it takes a huge toll on me. If I’m not careful to take care of myself, it can easily become overwhelming.
One of the things I like to do when my attitude is getting out of whack is list out the reasons I’m grateful for my big family. The list of reasons varies from time to time and isn’t in any particular order, other than the order things pop in my head.
Today I’m going to share one such list with you.
I am grateful for my big family because…
- My kids always have someone to play with.
- And they have someone else to play with when the first playmate makes them mad.
- There’s always someone to curl up and snuggle with.
- Life is never dull.
- There’s a chorus of people who are excited to see you if you’ve been away briefly.
- We all learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Seeing the world through a child’s eyes is priceless. Every child has their own perspective and observations. I get to see the world through all of their eyes.
- When I’ve got my hands full, there is always someone nearby who is willing to help.
- There’s always enough people to play games. Board games. Card games. Duck, duck, goose. We’ve got the players!
- Dinner time conversations are amazing! Sometimes they’re hysterical. Sometimes they’re surprisingly insightful. You never know what might pop out of the kids’ mouths to the captive audience at the dinner table.
- And you never know how the next kid might run with or twist whatever was just said.
- We have tons of inside jokes.
- We have many natural opportunities to learn basic skills like sharing, taking turns, expressing frustration appropriately, etc.
- And we all provide each other with plenty of opportunities to serve someone besides yourself.
- All of our little athletes have an automatic cheering section at their games.
- Kids come up with really creative solutions to problems. We get creative solutions from all of them, so we usually get a solution we can work with.
- We get a lot of tax deductions.
We’re the life of the party. Every extended family function gets kicked up a notch when we arrive with our family.
- There’s always something to celebrate. (Baptismal anniversaries and birthdays) x 7 = lots of parties
- When we work together, we can get the whole house cleaned in an hour.
- Seeing my older kids with my babies is such a phenomenal gift. I can’t explain what it’s like to see the big ones care for and find joy in the littles. They truly delight in one another. It’s beautiful.
- Some women never get flowers. I get weed bouquets nearly every day.
- There’s always a reason to laugh.
- Imaginary games get really amazing with multiple imaginations at work.
- Little voices singing little songs always make me smile.
25 is a nice number, so I’ll stop there. But just remember…
There’s nothing that can change your attitude quite like a little gratitude!