The Crossover Point

My "Crossover" Kid

Everyone seems to have a point where the number of children you have brings you to a Crisis Point.  It is that moment you realize NOTHING will ever be the same.  It is that day you wake up and come to the conclusion life cannot go on the way it has been.  For many, it is the day you become a bonafide MOMYS (Mothers Of Many Young Siblings–th what seemed like an insurmountable number of children and could go on to have an indefinite amount of children without batting an eye.  (Well, maybe an occasional bat here and there, but definitely not an eyes-closed-fumbling-in-the-dark kind of bat of the eye!)

For me, this number was number 4.  I was so excited to finally be achieving true MOMYS status (I had been dreaming of the day for 5 years!), that I never really grasped the REASON there is a MOMYS digest and forum in the first place.

Running a household with 4 small children is a whole different ballgame.  It is twice the number of children that most Americans have.  Most cookbooks are written with the typical family in mind.  Most appliances are built with the typical family in mind.  Most organizational websites/books/magazine articles are written with the typical family in mind.  When you have 4 children you are suddenly FAR from the typical family.

With 3, you can still pretend you are a small family and make most recipes work and not tax your appliances too much and even find the average organizational tips helpful.  But once number 4 is here, things that worked for years suddenly no longer work.  Recipes are just too small.  Appliances can’t handle the workload.  Organizational tips become laughable.

For a time after I brought number 4 home, I wondered what I had done.  I wondered if I would ever find a groove.  I realized NOTHING I had done before was working.  I couldn’t possibly wash one day a week and get by with it.  I was scared to go out of the house even with my husband along to help, let alone attend a homeschool function ALONE with all 4!  I couldn’t even get dinner on the table without a series of minor crises.  I was stressed and scared.

To quote my friend Sarah, I “disappeared for a while.”  I laid low, waiting for the storm to pass because I had no idea what else to do.  Survive, Survive, Survive became my motto.  When baby K was about 4 months old, I finally realized I had to Live, Live, Live.  I knew the way I was doing things had to change, but every time I assessed the running of the household, I would become overwhelmed.

And then I became pregnant with number 5.

What once was a crisis became a turning point.  No longer could I sit in indecision–I had to stand up and get moving.  Even if it turned out to be the wrong direction, at least I was heading somewhere.  I could always turn around or take a different path if I saw that what I was doing wasn’t working.  I had to start asking questions of other mothers who had been there and done that.  I had to find what worked for them and try those suggestions out.  I had to stop digging my heels in to keep from sliding backward, and actually start putting one foot in front of the other and move forward.

By the time number 5 was born, I had not only moved from life as a LARGE SMALL FAMILY to life as a SMALL LARGE FAMILY, I had moved from SURVIVING to THRIVING.

I doubt I’ll ever feel as if I’ve “arrived.”  I don’t know that anyone truly does “arrive.”  {My friend with 10 children continues to pick the brain of her friend with 12 children.}  I will always find something new to learn.  There will always be little tidbits of information to gather from those who have been in the trenches. {Speaking of trenches, check out the 4 moms, 35 kids series!}  However, I’ve apparently arrived somewhere since I now get calls and emails from other moms wanting to pick my brain!

So, I say…”Pick away!”  There’s not much there, but what is there, I’ll gladly share!

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35 thoughts on “The Crossover Point

  1. Thank you for summing up exactly what I have been feeling with the arrival of my #4. The term “overwhelmed” seemed to be an understatement in my book. Growing up an only child myself, I thought having 2 kids was a big deal. Ha! It is a blessing to be a mommy to all of my children, but a humbling experience as well.

    I never thought I could handle more than what I already had until I lost my fourth in utero (at 17 weeks). God seemed to ask me then whether I was going to trust Him to tell me when I was done, or harden my neck to what He wanted for my life. By the grace of God, here we are.

    Thank you for The Grieving Mother page. It has helped to heal and strengthen my soul. May God bless you and your family.

    • You are so welcome Sara. I’m sorry for your loss, but never cease to be amazed how God can use such difficult and sad circumstances to bring glory.

      And hopefully, the crisis point will turn to a crossover point soon!

  2. For me that turning point was 2. The trasition from one to 2 was so hard. Add ppd and money trouble and I was a wreck. #3,4 and 5 have all been a breeze. Now if only I could get a laundry room like the Duggar’s LOL.
    .-= Julia´s last blog ..It’s Monday =-.

  3. “{My friend with 10 children continues to pick the brain of her friend with 12 children.}”
    I love that- I have 7, and I’m often chatting it up with my friend who has 8, lol! I know I don’t have it all figured out, and I often find myself learning from someone with 4, 5, or 6 children :-)

  4. Thanks for this post. I am there! My fourth is 7 months and my oldest just turned 5. I am in the trenches for sure. Some days I thrive in them and then I have a bad day and it takes a whole week to recover! We are beginning homeschooling in the fall and my hubby is quite concerned that I can’t “do it all” he is toying with hiring a haousekeeper! Not that we have alot of money, but he says better a housekeeper than paying for a private education. How did you keep your house not out of control and homeschool and care for the other littles? Did you have help? Oh how I could question forever! Did you have a blog then? How in the world did you find time for that? I gain alot from reading others blogs but have found myself being oh so selective and only reading what will benefit my family and mostly only readig when I am nursing. I would say that my own blogging is my ME TIME. Yes, I read your Me Time article, its eye opening to say the least! Thanks for that. I am enjoying the 4 Moms 35 Kids series, thanks for that too. Also where are these MOMYS forums? I got to find one of those!
    .-= Amy Matthews´s last blog ..So Sweet Accessories Review and Giveaway =-.

    • Amy,
      First off, the link to MOMYS are in this post. There is a .net (the digest that comes to your email) and the .com (the forums).

      And yes, I did have a blog. I blogged at Homeschoolblogger back then, but not very often. Blogging is cheap therapy! ;)

      As for housekeeping and homeschooling and such…it fell under the “ask others and try new things til you find something that works” category I mentioned in this post. FLYlady was what I used to use and it did not work anymore. So, I moved to Large Family Logistics and tweaked it. Here’s a link to a post where I talk about our homekeeping schedule and such:
      http://www.raisingarrows.net/2010/03/to-do-list-beyond-basics.html
      That’s what I had to go to when K was born. It’s worked every since. May not always, but for now it does.

      Slow and steady wins the race…just keep going and trying new things until you find your groove. God is very gracious when it comes to raising all these littles. :)

      • I still can’t find the link in the post. Maybe I am super slow? I am looking forward to reading all your homeschool stuff as soon as I carve out the time :) Thanks again.
        .-= Amy Matthews´s last blog ..So Sweet Accessories Review and Giveaway =-.

  5. Thank you so much for this post! I’m reading it with my number four in my arms (she’s two weeks old) and I’ve been thinking everything you wrote. My husband and I have decided not to use birth control but at this point I’m a bit terrified of having more because I feel so overwhelmed right now. It helps to know others have traveled this path…

  6. Thanks for this post! It is always good to hear from those who are walking this road a little before us! Even when it’s not specific tips it’s still very encouraging just to know that one can survive & thrive during these crazy days!

    I was just mentioning to my husband the other day how it’s interesting that we have already instituted a “large family mindset” even though we only have 3 right now. Our desire is for a large family though so we already train our children a bit differently and manage our home with our large family days in mind. I think my “crisis point” was with #3(but maybe that was because my oldest was not yet 2.5yrs) but I won’t really know that until we see how adding #4,5 etc. goes. Hopefully some of the large family things we have already set in place will make those additions much easier! :)

    Thanks again!

  7. I don’t think I hit the crisis until my 5th. We moved while I was in the 3rd trimester, got in our house at 36 weeks along. I’m still in survival mode. She’s 18 months old! How do I get from surviving to thriving? Argh! Oh, and only once I was having her did I recognize that we are a large family. 5 kids and the 12 passenger van have done me in. :-)

  8. The turning point for me was going from 2 children to 3 children. I had a 3yr old, a 2yr old and a newborn. I was constantly exhausted. Now I’m expecting Baby #7 and I can’t wait!
    Yesterday a lady at church said “You’re going to be a busy mommy!” I smiled politely, but the truth is, I’m already busy-that’s what life is! You have to grab it and go!
    Blessings!
    .-= Sandpiper´s last blog ..Bits & Pieces =-.

  9. My Crisis Point came one night while I was sitting on my bed nursing one newborn while my husband rocked another and our three toddlers were tucked away in bed as those two blue lines I was eying on the bedside table slowly got darker and darker!

    Going from 3 to 5 was a blur, with all the moving (four times!!) we did during my pregnancy and then the TTTS and then my brother and his family PLUS my mom having to move in with us. But once it settled down… I was pregnant again and was going from 3 to 6 in the space of a little over a year! I still don’t think that I’ve fully acclimated to a family of 8, although I thoroughly enjoy each and every time a friend with 1, 2, 3, or 4 calls me asking “WHAT DO I DO?!?” (Like I would know! LOL, I haven’t even gotten mine figured out!)

    Oh, Amy! I am SO glad I’m not the only one who’s reached that point of no return, and realized when I got there! I’ve thought many timest that I was the only crazy one!
    .-= Desi´s last blog ..Show Us Your Life: Cleaning Tips!! =-.

  10. Thank you for this lovely post! I really needed to hear this at this point of my motherhood. With 4 little girls ages 7, 5, 3 and 20 months, I am just starting to feel like I am getting into the groove of a “bigger” family. If we are blessed with another child, I do not think I will have so much doubt or fear since I think we have crossed over!
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Spring Cleaning and Dreaming of My Summer Garden =-.

  11. My cross-over point was #5. And, we haven’t had any more children since. My husband took one look at me one day and said, “We’re done.” I think he feared losing me to insanity. I’m glad he put a hault on our baby making (not to be confused with the way babies are made) to allow me time to catch up. I still haven’t caught up, and have never returned to the way I was with four. But, I love all five of my children and don’t care to ever go back. We’ll see if I’m meant to be a mother of six some day. The Lord will have to override hubby’s decision. And, we know he can if he wants too!

  12. I’ve got my 2 littles and holding out for more. though we had committed to having however many God wants we felt the grace for a break due to the hernia. anyway, we’re planning on homeschooling our kids. any advice on getting started? our girl’s only 2 1/2, but i really feel the need to get the mindset of teaching her throughout the day and maybe collecting curriculum. A girlfriend recommended Rod & Staff books. i know there really isn’t a lot of need for new, expensive curriculum. advice??

  13. Amy, at the risk of sounding a bit silly – I think I recently reached this point. But I only have three, with one on the way. Does it count if they are all very small? LOL

    Just recently I was telling my husband, I go to cook a familiar recipe, in the usual bowl, and then I have to scrape it all out into a bigger bowl, because it’s so hard for me to wrap my mind around the bigger portion sizes. Nothing I used to do is working anymore! I have to do laundry every day! If I want to eat an orange, I can’t just share mine anymore. I have to peel another AND share mine …

    … it’s a bit unsettling. I mean, I like it, my family is growing and that is so thrilling. But mentally I’m a bit staggered by the challenge of the logistics of it, everywhere, all at once. It is an adjustment…

    Maybe I still have another cross-over point coming, but it’s nice right now to think that’s what I’m going through! ~smile~ Great post!

    • Ashley,
      Honestly, that sounds like a crossover point to me! It comes at different times for everyone and I think that has a lot to do with the ages of the children and the particulars of your circumstances. What you are saying sounds SOOOOO familiar! :)

  14. Amy, This post was exactly what I needed. My 5th baby is almost a year old and I have been trying to find me since? Where did I go? I reached the “Crossover Point”! You will never know how much good it did me to read that someone else has felt the way I have. It has allowed me to let go and start over with the new me–the one who can’t be detailed about everything.

  15. I well remember going through that crisis/paradigm shift! I didn’t know how to describe it at the time, but you hit the nail on the head!
    I had four as well when I vanished from the face of the earth, and also became pg with baby 5! Nothing was working for me either, and I thought I had made a terrible mistake and was a rotten housekeeper..etcetc.:)
    When the panic stopped, and I stopped trying so hard, and let God change things HIS way…it became much easier to handle. I still tweak constantly..but at least I know tweaking is a normal everyday part of life now, and don’t think it means what I am doing is broken because it isn’t written in concrete! thank you for the insights- well written and encouraging!:D

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  17. My #5 is 6mos now and I am feeling the same way. I’ve been trying to get my feet on the ground and figure a new way to get things running smoothly. I think I experienced PPD with this baby. Honestly, the past few years have been “off”. My husband is a reservist and was gone for part of my pregnancy, birth, and the first 6mos of #4 and deployed overseas for pregnancy/birth of #5. He came home 4 days after #5 was born. I also “disappeared” for a while and I’m just now starting to get back into the world. My blog is part of my effort. I’m sure my husband doesn’t fully understand but he’s been mostly patient with me during this time anyway. I’ve also felt the need to reach out to other moms of many for help. That’s why I’m reading your blog.:)

    • My husband was deployed for 2 years nearly back to back, during which time I had a 2nd trimester miscarriage. Being part of the reservist community, rather than the active duty community, was hard at times b/c we lack the full support we would get on post/base. Writing has been huge for me in healing from so many things…keep it up and keep connecting with others. The Lord gives us those relationships to encourage! God bless you! :)

  18. Thanks so much for this post. I hit a crisis point at #4 also – it seemed like nothing I was used to doing worked anymore. It has been so, SO encouraging to read about the same things happening to others – it has taken me till #6 to really start to hit my stride again. (Slow learner, I guess.) Thanks for sharing this!

  19. I know this is an old post, but thank you, thank you, thank you for writing it! Our transition to four was smooth as can be. But now… I have 5 kids ages 7, 5, 3, 22 months, and almost 3 months. The baby has been difficult. She’s as precious as can be, but she is very fussy and high demand. I am in the middle of the crisis mode where I am in total survival mode. I’ve had difficult babies before, but not when I’ve had so many others and while I’m trying to homeschool. I already knew that one day life will get easier again (not easy ;) but this was such a great reminder that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that I must keep putting one foot in front of the other.

    Your blog has been a wonderful encouragement to me. Thank you for that!

  20. Thanks so much for this post! I know it’s an older one, and I’ve been following your blog for a while now, but somehow just came across it!
    In God’s perfect timing, of course!
    Our 4th child will be 3 months next week, & I cannot tell you how many times I have thought to myself over these last few crazy weeks, “Wow, life (& I) will never ever be the same.” Turing point!
    So….just wanted to say, thanks for the smiles & tears!!!

    • The wonderful thing is, you will find yourself on the other side of that crossover point and wonder how you ever did it any other way! :) Many blessings to you!

  21. Pick your brain I just might do. I’m in shock. I really have been feeling like I’m in limbo since my 4th was born. I dread going out with all the kids, the house is falling apart, and I’m expecting again. I do have to say though, when I found out I was expecting something started up inside me again and I feel more of that do or die mentality starting. So glad I was able to stop by tonight. So many of your wise words are really hitting home with me tonight.

  22. I think I may be somewhat stubborn! I may have been trying to delay my crossover:) We are the adoring parents of 3 boys (17,8,4) and twin girls 2 1/2! Reading this was like an ah ha moment… My husband and I have these discussions about living down low… Church is our outing!!! There are not any large families in our circles, so I cant wait to read some of your tips on enhancing some systems!! Time management becomes critical to make sure love languages are quenched!! Thank you for forging ahead and taking the time to be an encouragement to others. It seems as if our friends with smaller families never quite understand. Dondi