Always Real, Parenting Gone Awry

If God Didn’t Want Me To Be A Whiney Bed Slug, He Would Have Given Me Seven More Children

The other night, Antique Daddy took Sean off to read books and put him to bed while I went off to prostrate myself face down on my bed like a priest in ordination. Sometimes after the end of a day with a three-year-old, I feel like I’ve been riding the Kamakazi on the midway at the fair and all I want to do is lie motionless and alone upon my bed.

As I lay on my bed encouraging and willing the scant remaining energy in my body towards my thumb that was working the remote, I came across a documentary on TLC about a couple who had trouble getting pregnant and decided to undergo infertility treatment. They conceived easily and immediately with twins. After their twins were about a year old, they decided that they wanted “just one more” – and got six instead. So lets see, 2 + 6 = GULP!

And this woman! This woman who bore an entire day care center in her womb — she is not only mother to eight tiny children, but she cooks all the meals from scratch! And she works 16-hour shifts every other Saturday as a nurse! Her one luxury that I could discern is that her husband, who is laid back and easy going and reminds me a bit of Rupert Gee from David Letterman – he brings a cup of coffee to her bedside in the morning. Then he leaves at 7am and returns at 7pm. That’s it. Beyond that she has no help. None. And? She never complains.

She runs her house like a navy ship. She has her day scheduled down to 15-minute intervals and everything is labeled. After she has her coffee, she gets those kids up and put clothes on them. And shoes! Shoes people! Sean didn’t wear shoes until he was a year old. I don’t think I wore shoes until Sean was a year old. Putting on shoes required more energy than I was willing to part with that first year. And when you are wearing your pajamas all day, there really is NO point in putting on shoes.

At one point in the show, they met another couple who also have sextuplets at a local restaurant. I was exhausted just watching them get all those babies into car seats and out of car seats and into the strollers and out of strollers and into high chairs and out of high chairs. The husband tells the camera that they’ve been at the restaurant for two hours and he is just now going to sit down and eat. I’m watching all of this in disbelief that anyone would go to the trouble. Because on me personally, the combination of tired and hungry is very unattractive. Not. Pretty. I probably would have just ordered in pizza, which I could eat without having to put on my shoes, let alone eight other little pairs of shoes.

As I watched the controlled chaos that was her life, I didn’t know whether to be impressed and inspired by her organization and good attitude or to hate her for making me with just my one baby look like a whiney, inert bed slug with a remote.

45 thoughts on “If God Didn’t Want Me To Be A Whiney Bed Slug, He Would Have Given Me Seven More Children

  1. I must admit that I often feel like an inadequate lazy selfish woman being happy–and often overwhelmed–with my TWO children. HOWEVER, I also know that had God given me 8 rather than 2, I’d have dealt with it as would you. And I have no doubt that in the privacy of that woman’s home, she sometimes questions God’s decision for her. We all do what we can with what we’ve been given. You are not a whiney inert bed-slug with a remote. You are Sean’s mother and Antique Daddy’s wife and a mouth piece for the rest of by having the presence of mind–and a God-given knack–for putting your own personal thoughts into words that speak our truth as well.

  2. Oh my gosh I have seen this too and was so intriques by her. She had order in that house. I guess you have to with all those kids, but man she was good. I too found myself feeling bad for every complaining about my life with two kids! Ha! She would laugh in my face if she heard my struggles!!!

  3. I’ve seen that show too! I’m so amazed at women who can handle more than one baby at a time, especially those with 4+ at a time! Really does make me feel bad for not cooking and cleaning so much with only 2 kids to care for. Though I don’t envy her leftover baby belly lol 😉

  4. Ah, but she was born in 1975. She she was only 25 when she had the twins and 29 when she had the other six. Granted, that’s still a lot of children to care for, but stamina is usually much stronger in one’s 20s and 30s.

  5. Please tell me you’ve the episode where she gets a maid.


    It’s very important that you see that episode.

    Because when you see the standards she has for her maid – which are the same as the standards she has for herself when it comes to cleaning – IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOREVER.

  6. I don’t want to see this show because I try not to hate people I don’t even know.

    Plus, it would cause me to fall into some deep well of inadequacy from which I would never recover.

  7. I feel for you, I’m 52 and when I have my 2 year old grandson I feel like I’ve aged years by the time he leaves, but at least it’s a good aging.

  8. Lord, help her. I know in my heart of hearts that if I had even half that many children under the age of four I wouldn’t be able to manage them. I’d need to take out a bank loan and hire a nanny, even if it meant working in my glory years to pay that loan back. If I had that number of children I would probably need two nannies. At least. And a housekeeper. And a laundress. I just honestly don’t see how it could be possible to take care of that number of little ones by oneself. Does this woman sleep? She must be a saint. I’m just in awe.

    I have ONE ten month old and I’m just about as busy as I care to be, thank you very much. YIKES!

  9. When my children were 3&1/2, 1&1/2 and 1/2, my sister-in-law got pneumonia and I had to take care of her three month old baby while she was in the hospital. I didn’t get out of pajamas for three days and I folded diapers constantly (we didn’t have Huggies then). Luckily, I had two high-chairs, 2 playpens, 2 cribs and was only twenty four. If it had happened at forty-four, I would have cracked for sure.

  10. I had twins first,then a single son. Having twins is easier than one (after the first few months) because you are not their sole source of entertainment.

  11. Before we had children, we thought we would have about six. We do not have six. We have two. Two is really all I can handle, and that’s questionable at times. My sister has twins and I get exhausted watching her too. Did you ever hear of the Duggars? SEVENTEEN children. Seven. Teen. She makes all meals and sews their clothes and homeschools and they built their own house and…oh my.

    Two. Two children. Two is good.

  12. I’m an antique mom with just one child too, and also find her incredibly exhausting, and my house is a complete mess, and I’m HOME with her!

    Like someone above has already said, we would probably rise to the occasion and just handle it if we had a bunch of children, but I’d rather not find out.

    I want to hear more about this “getting a maid” episode though . . will it make me feel less inadequate?

  13. I began my marriage longing for a dozen children. After having my second child, I had tubal ligation and have never been sorry. It wasn’t that my kids were bad or difficult… it’s just that I realized I’m too self-centered a person to devote the proper amount of time and devotion needed to raise a large group of children. I found out that real life babies are nothing like playing with dolls.

  14. I saw that show a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t wait to talk about it at the office! In my childless household, it seemed like a nightmare but I’m sure there is more love in that house than I will ever hope to see.

  15. Yeah, I tried to watch that show and my husband screamed that he didn’t like horror movies and insisted that I change the channel… From what I did watch, she and her husband sniped at each other ALL THE TIME. So I took some comfort in that – I might not be able to handle eight kids under four, but on the other hand, I’m nice to my husband.

  16. Now I’ll have to watch that show…I can’t imagine having that many babies to deal with. No matter how old or young I was. And oh dear lord, what about when they ALL get to be back-talking, eye-rolling, smart-mouthed teenagers at once? I have two of those right now, and if there were any more I’d have to sell them or something.

  17. My 14 y/o daughter loves that show, one of her goals in life is to have multiples her first pregnancy!! FYI: The maid episode is on tonight on TLC, I just checked the website.

  18. 1 word for you: Editing!

    I’ve seen this documentary too, and am just as amazed, but editing can make ANYTHING look easy!

  19. AM, I’m the mother of seven (One at a time, thank-you-very-much, in 10 years. The hardest time? Defintetly, absolutely, assuredly, was with ONE. ONE is all it takes to turn a mother’s world upside down and then eventually turn it right side up again looking more beautiful than ever before!

  20. The part about the shoes would kill me. It would be like trying to force many, many tiny Stride Rites on a caterpillar, no? And these shoes would only wind up on some forgotten aisle at Target after being craftily peeled off by chubby toddler fingers because he/she/they like it better barefoot. Or…just gadding about with one shoe on and one shoe off. So mulitply that by eight little kids and you’ve got a recipe for me to scoot over to the booze aisle and, after strapping everyone into their carseats, drinking a bottle of chardonnay (still wrapped in the Target plastic bag)in the driver’s seat. Three seemed like a mob scene until I read this.

  21. I stumbled onto that show while couch ridden with bronchitis and looking for anything that I could watch with the kids in the room that wasn’t animated. My seven year old has now put in an order for !only! quads for my next pregnancy- because, “you are just too little to have six, mommy!” Can you believe it?

  22. I didn’t see the show but believe that every woman has her threshold. Whether you’re a mother to one or twenty, all that’s important is that you’re doing a good job with the batch you’ve got. I’m far too anal have more than two children who do their fair share of leaving a mess. Eight would send me over the edge. No one has mentioned one little thing here that kind of bothers me about huge families…it’s a bit irresponsible to have such a big family when the planet is already stressed by it’s current population. If everyone on Earth had eight kids, there’d be little to no future for any of our children.

  23. Trust me … you’re not alone with that sentiment. I feel like that most nights, too.

    Old. Tired. Tired. Tired. Did I mention old?

    I can’t possibly imagine having gone through what she’s going through … with eight… and yet, it was a real possibility only 2 and 1/2 years ago when we went through infertility treatment.

    GULP, indeed!

  24. The shoes would kill me. I celebrate when I get the overnight diaper off before 10 a.m.

    My one reassurance is another TLC show about the homeschooling mom of seventeen or whatever. One thing she said was that their house was a wreck and she had no idea how to do it for the longest time. Then when her fourth child was born, she just knew something had to change and that’s when she got her act together. So I figure that until I have at least four kids (which likely will not be), I can be a sloth with no direction as much as I want. 🙂 Liberating, thought, isn’t it?

  25. hahaha…I have a friend with 4 kids, each of them less than 2 years appart, and she is 30 years old. When I ask her how she does it, she says the hardest times where when she had only one. Of course now she has more work, but it is definitely not 4 times more work than she had with #1.

  26. Good grief, woman, didn’t your mama ever tell you not to believe everything you see on TV? It’s all done with mirrors. They didn’t show you the part where she’s mainlining caffeine and weeping into her valium pills and sweeping little piles of cheerios down the heating vents.

  27. I am fascinated with this series. I am 37 with a 7-month-old and absolutely marvel at Kate’s presence of mind to handle her brood. I don’t necessarily feel bad for my own whoa-is-me-I’m-so-drained-I-can-no-longer-think with “just one” (and oh yes, I *am* drained) – I really just see it as inspiring. The same way in which I view “Clean Sweep.” Just the wow factor of look what can be done…

  28. Bed slugs unite!

    My inital, off-the-cuff reaction is…well, good for her. I’m goin’ to bed.

    I think that’s also my thought out and well-reasoned reaction.

  29. I saw that one! Makes me rethink “just one more” on a regular basis, and fear for my sister who was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome as well (the same thing this poor woman had.) Tiring, very tiring…

  30. Well you’ve saved me the bother of trying to track it down for the TIVO [more than an exhausting enough exercise for me] Far better to take the vicarious option.

  31. I just found you through Plain Jane’s link… You had me at: “I feel like I’ve been riding the Kamakazi on the midway at the fair and all I want to do is lie motionless and alone upon my bed.” I decided to hit my “sub with bloglines” button right then and there.

  32. I barely survived having two preschoolers at home; I cannot even imagine that. It sounds exactly the way that my husband would run things if I let him.

    When I see people this cheerful and organized when I would be in the looney bin, I can’t help but wonder if they will someday just implode and that will be that.

  33. Your blog has been a favorite of mine for a long time now! Your comments of the show summed up exactly how I felt too, I’d love to be able to link back the few readers I have to your site, can I share your link?

    Thank you for often making me smile whenever I stop by and visit.

  34. *ROFL*
    I haven’t had a chance to read all the comments – so if I’m repeating – sorry. (Only slightly, though) You absolutely made me laugh. I have 4 kids (and we’re not going any further). And I may not be a bed-slug with a remote – but I could probably be considered a couch-slug with a blog. *LOL* Although, I only get up in the morning when they start screaming. SO maybe I am a bed-slug.

    Your observations are a riot. I know God’s grace is sufficient for 4 just as it has to be for 8. It all reminds me of “Cheaper by the Dozen” (the book, not the movies). Where the dad said that it’s all cheaper if you have a dozen kids because everything gets sold by dozens. 🙂

    Though, I’m NOT testing that theory. I ramble and it’s time for my 3yr old to take his nap so we can do some school work.

  35. I just met someone today that has been blessed with 7 children…and she was way thinner than me. I think some people are just built to procreate in large quantities. I feel blessed to have 2 that are happy & healthy and for the most part have retained my sane head. I think God knows that if I had that many children, they’d be motherless because I’d lose it …quick.

  36. i’m with boomama, you have to see the one where she gets the maid! it puts the others in the shade!

  37. First time here – thanks for making me laugh! I have six kids, and the youngest is 2 1/2..we’ve been to a restaurant three times since she was born. It’s too much work!

  38. I’m thinking that everyone has their own challenges — hers just may not be shown on tv. Truthfully if you ask people if they want to switch lives with others and then go through the details everyone wants their own life — because you know how to deal with what you have.

    I’m also trying (still) to learn not to beat myself up about those image perfect families (on tv or otherwise). But we have to remember…You are the wonderful person you are, created in his image and loved. Don’t do yourself any disservices by thinking that you are any less a miracle than anyone else.

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