The Sanity Savers

Okay, listen. Jumping straight from, "I never want to be a mom" to "Hello, these are my 5 kids" has not exactly been a picnic for this introverted gal. It's been seven months since we first met the kids, six months since the adoption was finalized, and five months since we arrived home as a family of seven, but during that time I've found a few things that have helped salvage some of my pre-kid sanity.

Sneak the food you love. While we were in Central America to meet the kids and finalize the adoption, we discovered a small Peruvian restaurant within the same compound as our condominium (and right next door to a pizza place). The Lord was definitely smiling on two very tired, very frazzled new parents! While our picky children ate their body weight in cheese pizza, we would sneak to go orders of ceviche, lomo saltado, and aj√≠ de gallina through the bedroom window (true story) and polish it off with a couple of cold Inca Kolas (made with real sugar, bottled in Peru). It seems like a small thing, but those were the closest we got to dates during our first two months as parents of 5, and scarfing down food we loved behind a locked bedroom door after the kids were all in bed was about as good as it got.
Sanity Saver Lesson: Go ahead, buy the brie, order the take-out for you and your significant other while the kids eat what they like (even if it's plain hotdogs, like ours), and leave the guilt at the door.
Treat yourself to the occasional indulgence. The reason we've been able to pay our house off, personally finance a good chunk of the adoption, pay cash for cars and home additions, and shop at Fresh Market over the years has been because of our frugality in other areas of life. However, when we found ourselves thousands of miles from home during our favorite season, we were sucked in by the promise of #PSLs (you know, Pumpkin Spice Lattes) from the local Starbucks (yes, they did have one!), and made a few trips out of our way to go indulge. Since our return to the States, we have continued to budget for this splurge, loading money on a gift card and swinging by after a school run to pick up a caramel macchiato or a white chocolate mocha to share or surprise each other with.
Sanity Saver Lesson: Sometimes you just need to buy the $4 mocha and save money in other areas instead.
Make time for what makes you smile. Can a wart make you smile? Turns out that yes, it can! Earlier this year, I discovered that I had one on the bottom of one toe, and as suggested on the box of wart remover, I began soaking my foot in the bathtub every other night for several minutes. Those several minutes for one foot quickly turned into 20-30 minutes for both feet, with a book in hand, and became one of the rituals that I look forward to the most. #ThisRelaxingTimeUnofficiallyBroughtToYouByDrSchollsWartRemover Meanwhile, the Hubs has found relaxation - of all things - in putting together the equivalent of adult Legos. With smooth jazz playing on the radio, we munch on locally made Thai chili hummus and sip on cups of tea while enjoying the silence of bedtime.
Sanity Saver Lesson: Make time for things you enjoyed before the kids - or maybe even discovered after the kids!
Don't stop dreaming, growing, and doing. Set a goal. Listen to podcasts. Start writing again. Keep your passport active. Take a day trip. Being a mom of five is just one facet of who I am at the moment. God called me to adoption, but He also gifted me in other ways, and gave me interests and talents beyond what I do with the kids. As life has calmed down from the initial chaos, I have begun to invest time in developing as an individual again through creative writing, working on my business, creating capacity for personal development, and keeping dreams alive as long-term goals. It's a balancing act of learning how to live in the moment - to be present for the kids, answering their questions, helping them grow - and to plan for the future.

What I have observed is that by keeping my interests active, the kids begin to develop their own. For example, they all know that I love France, and as they hear me talk about my long-term dreams, I now hear them suggest countries they would like to visit someday. When they catch me reading in the school car line, they start to ask if they can bring books in the car. And when education is viewed as an ongoing event, dinnertime talk starts to include career options beyond high school, and shared dreams of attending university and teaching school or becoming a policewoman. The sky's the limit, I tell them. Dream big.
Sanity Savor Lesson: When you take time to invest in your own dreams, you end up inspiring those who are watching to find their own.   


  1. This list is so encouraging to me as a stay at home mom to three kids eight and under. Thank you for sharing.


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