I was recently encouraged to share how I manage to be so organized. How did I get everything done and keep it together? “You work full time, you have five kids, you always have something going on, you stay calm and seem to have it all so organized!” As reluctant as I was for this to be a topic of sharing via our website/social media, etc., I did feel some responsibility to share as I think in this day and age there is so much going on. Put simply: it’s a matter of choice on how you handle things and where you devote your time and energy. 

A few years ago, my then nine-year-old oldest child kept asking me to shoot baskets with her after we got home, but I kept telling her we would not have time. I finally got tired of the question and explained I had to get her brother and sister picked up, get all three of them fed, and changed into costumes before people come over for trick or treating. She (very smart-mouthed) said to me, “You’re the one that chose to have three kids.” When she threw that statement at me, it was the closest I had ever gotten to a self-inflicted case of whiplash. I turned my head so quick to only stare at her speechless. What nine-year-old says that to her parent? Mine. And I couldn’t be more proud of her. Not because of her lack of sympathy and her disrespectful response, but because she is my kid and my life, along with our four other children, my awesome husband, and our crazy, fun world. 

After I got past the shock of her comment and lecturing her, I appreciated the fact that she had already grasped this notion of choices. She was right. I did choose to have three at the time, now five kids. And I choose to work. So, how do I stay organized, calm and productive, given all the commitments? Firstly, I’m not always organized, calm and productive. I do have a natural born gift for planning and organization, which is a huge help. I work hard to keep priorities just that - priorities. My family comes first. I hear of these popular TV shows that people talk about, and I have not seen one of them. On school nights our TV does not come on before the kids go to bed. The computer stays closed and my phone is out of my pocket during the majority of family time. I do work in the evenings, only after the kids go to bed, because sometimes that’s just what needs to be done. This time is when I will watch the one show I keep up with (Ellen); I usually have a weeks worth of shows waiting.

Lastly, I value the blessings in my life. I have a career to go to everyday, and I have a family to come home to. And even as hard and tiring as being parents to five kids can be for my husband and I, I don’t look at our lives as this monster of responsibilities we are trying to keep up with. I’ve heard on more than one occasion, “How do you do it with five kids…?” This question usually makes me uncomfortable because I don’t view it as a “how”. I think about how blessed we are to have the opportunity to be their parents. There are challenging times, moments where I wonder if they’re getting the attention they need and deserve, and there are certainly those days where it’s nothing but trouble, attitude, homework, and driving to three sports in one evening. But the love one feels for a child, we feel it five times! It’s awesome.

Now my oldest is sixteen and she’s reading this over my shoulder on the plane as we head to a soccer tournament. As clever as ever, she shares with us all my true answer on staying organized: “How do you stay organized? You make your children do chores on Spring Break, that’s how you stay organized.”

Well, there’s that.