I met Jacqui through a blogging group last year. She had recently moved back to South Africa after a two year stint in Michigan. It was so refreshing to chat to someone who had such positive things to say about raising a family in SA when so many people I know are desperate to leave.
She joined us for a play group with her two girls and the cutest little baby boy you have ever seen. It was while we were chatting that I found out that Jacs actually has FIVE kids!!! I was equal parts amazed and horrified, lol! And they’re all so little! She is the most chilled mum and can multitask like a pro. I look at her family pics on Instagram and it makes me broody (until I hear MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM from the lounge then my ovaries shrivel up and die. Just kidding! Not really.)
In case you missed it:
Besides being a mum to five gorgeous little humans, she also teaches full time, has her blog ‘One Messy Mama‘, has written a children’s book which is being published at the moment and is the creator of the South African Mommy Blogger Awards launched this year. If you have ever wondered what it would be like having a large family, here’s an average day in Jacqui’s life…
I used to be such an organised person before I had kids. I’m a list maker, always have been. However, I have learnt to somewhat embrace the chaos that reins in my house now. I’m very lucky to have a husband that is incredibly involved. We are a tag team to die for! Our morning routine is so well oiled, we tag and high-five our way through it.
4:00 – It’s rise and shine time. I hear my alarm beeping and although I would LOVE to hit the snooze button, I know that if I do, I will sleep until the first child wakes up. That could be in 5 minutes or an hour. I never know. I stumble downstairs. Switch on the kettle and make myself a much needed mug of coffee. My day won’t start on the right foot otherwise.
I learnt long ago that if I don’t organise myself the night before, chaos will ensue. I grab 4 already packed lunches out of the fridge, pack the bags. Make sure the homework bags are packed, signed and ready for the day. Pack those too and start setting out the school clothes. Every day is a different extra-mural, so I always need to make sure the kids’ clothes are washed and ready – whether it’s for swimming, or PT, or pottery. Even though I have a few sets, I’m always paranoid I can’t find something. From swimming goggles to sports socks. Or the school blazer that was left on the floor.
I check the multi coloured calendar on the kitchen wall, double checking and checking again. Colour coded for each of the oldest 4 kids. Every activity neatly scrawled out. (This planning usually takes me hours to get done)… Please don’t think I am organised. I usually forget something. Just the other day my grade 1 son went to school in uniform instead of his sports kit… Lord, help me 🙂 #momfail
5:00 – I start the breakfast routine, usually oats or toast and eggs… OK – not always eggs, but I do try. While the breakfast is cooking, I make myself another cup of coffee, I’m a bit of a serial coffee drinker. By this time the kids are starting to stir, one by one they crawl out of bed and get to slowly wake up whilst watching their morning show.. Yes, my kids watch TV.
5:30 – Breakfast is served and I lay out the girls play clothes for school. Baby #5 wakes up and needs his bottle, nappy change and a fresh set of clothes.
6:00 – I head upstairs to get ready for work, my husband continues with dressing the kids, brushing teeth and making sure they don’t look like Oliver Twist on a bad day.
6:30 – I’m dressed and somewhat ready for my day. I brush the girls hair, trying to put in place all those fly away pieces that just wont work with me. It’s at this time that I head out the door, kissing all 5 of my little cherubs. I must admit, that at this point I am quite relieved to leave my husband with a house full of noisy children. It’s a relief to have a few moments of quiet in my car.
7:00 – My husband drops the boys off at school and my mother in law (who has just moved in) drops the girls off at their school whilst our incredible domestic worker watches the baby. Yes, I need my mother in law… I know what you are thinking… But luckily she rocks, and is such a help with the kids. She watches the baby during the day and fetches the girls from school at 12:30 and watches all 3 of the youngest kids for the rest of the afternoon.
15:30 I generally get home around this time, fetching my boys from their school aftercare on my way home. When we get in, we unpack all the lunch boxes, homework bags get put on the table and the boys put their school clothes in the laundry and change into something more comfortable.
16:00 – I really believe that children need to play, I’m not the kind of mom that gets home and starts the homework routine. We sit outside whilst the kids play or swim, catching up on the day’s events with a few cuddles and loves in-between.
17:00 – Either my mother in law or I start dinner. The kids all have their turn in the bath. Baby gets his dinner and bottle as well. By 18:00 the kids are seated and enjoying their dinner.
18:30 – Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I read the ever loved bedtime story, brush teeth and spend the next 30 minutes trying to get them all into bed.
19:00 – Our kids are always in bed by seven. That doesn’t mean they actually sleep, we are running between bedrooms giving last minute sips of water, extra cuddles or trying to stop the tantrums that are brought on by having to sleep.
19:30 – If all goes well, my husband and I head to the kitchen to start the next day’s lunches. It’s usually at this time that we pour ourselves a much needed glass of wine.
20:00 – It’s that time of the day when all the exhaustion sets in. We sit in front of the TV. Our favourite show is on, my laptop is on my lap and I am either doing blog work or school work (I’m a teacher).
We usually head off to bed by 23:00…
Even though our house is so busy and we have to be super organised in order to have the kids’ lives organised. I wouldn’t change it for the world. Having a large family is amazing. Our kids are best friends, there is always laughter and lots of chatter. Never a dull moment.
There is nothing better than sitting around our table and hearing about each one’s day. It’s hard, exhausting yet the most rewarding feeling ever.
Ok, I’m feeling broody again! I love the idea of having a big enough family that your kids don’t really need anyone else for company. You can also follow Jacqui on: