When people learn that I have so many children, one of the things that I get asked is: Do you have help? And by “help” they are referring to a nanny, or a house cleaner, or some kind of outside service that could assist me with everything that I have going on each day. And I always answer, “No, I don’t have help.” because we don’t have a nanny or a house keeper or even a gardening service.
But when I think about it, I realize that answer isn’t quite accurate. Because I do have help. I have plenty of help around here, just not the hired help that everyone is referring to. Instead, I have sibling help.
When I’m in the middle of making dinner, and the baby starts to fuss…
my seven year old quickly runs over to him, picks him up, and walks him around our living room. This helps me! I can quickly get the dinner on the table without having to stop to tend to a fussy baby.
And when I need to eat but the baby is fussy and is keeping me from it, guess who takes over walking him around? That would be another child of mine…
my thirteen year old, who is always more than happy to hold his baby brother so that mom can eat her dinner in peace. That is very helpful to me.
And when I’m trying to put the candles on a birthday cake and trying my best to give my 5 year old the birthday attention that she needs from me, guess who takes the baby and walk him around for me?
That would be my 12 year old, who is like a second mama to her little brother. He calms down right away when big sister Avery tends to him. She is a great help!
And when her arms get tired from carrying around this 15 pound baby, guess who steps in and takes him from her?
That would be my sweet 10 year old. A.J. is the one who, when he wakes up in the mornings, will first come into my room and ask to carry Aiden around if he’s awake. And if he’s not awake, he asks if he can cuddle him in the bed until he wakes up. The attention he gives his baby brother is a great help to me. I can take a quick shower, or even a nice, long bath, when I know that A.J. is lying next to Aiden, ready to comfort him if he wakes.
Not only do my kids help with carrying their baby brother around when he’s fussy, but they also take him on stroller walks around the neighborhood. This gives me time to do the bills uninterrupted, to detail clean the kitchen, to have some one-on-one time with the younger ones, and do other things that the baby usually keeps me from doing.
Audriana holds Aiden during Andrew’s 7th birthday party
so that I can tend to the birthday boy! She was a great help that day.
And because there are so many of them, none of the kids get “baby burn-out” — because everyone gets a turn, and most of the time they argue over whose turn it is to hold the baby. Everyone always wants to hold the baby. He’s a hot commodity around here!
Avery with a very alert 6 week old on her shoulder!
I love this picture of the two of them.
So yes, I do have help. I have plenty of help! But not the hired help. Instead, I have sibling help; the help that’s freely given out of love.