"Bags. It’s all about the bags. So many bags. We look like one giant gypsy family as we haul our excessive number of bags to and fro."
"What is it about summer that compacts the chaos until I’m only a barely-functioning adult? We’re somehow simultaneously living our best lazy lives and so busy I can barely squeeze in trips to Costco for the semi-truckload of snacks I need every week to sustain these savages."
"I know insecurities and body image issues are a struggle they can't be totally saved from, but I didn’t expect it to happen so soon. They’re still kids. It hurt to think they were already facing the ugliness of insecurity."
"While I don’t have the patience for 'playing,' I have the desire to see and do things with them. I take them places. We go and explore museums and the outdoors and parks. We love to go to restaurants and wander around Target together. And we love to talk."
Not knowing what to expect, I sent a panicked text to our photographer the night before. What do I need to do? What should my house look like? Her reply was perfect: “You don’t need to do anything. Just be you.”
And so we were us.
"I’m going to be honest, these classes or seminars aren’t always easy. Sometimes they’re too revealing. Sometimes I don’t like what I learn. I’d rather everything be his fault. I hate admitting that I’m wrong. Sometimes we’re doing great, but when we dive in deep during a class, we find out that things aren’t as perfect as they seem and we have some damaging hurt to work through. Sometimes the classes we take bring out more struggle than our every day life."
"I work as hard as I can on table etiquette, manners and general good behavior...But after a year of crazy sleepovers, I’ve added “how to behave in other people’s houses” to the list."
It's important for this mom to expose her kids to activities where they are required to sit still and be quiet. "As hard as it is for me, the parent, to endure the frustration, struggle and embarrassment of releasing my children to the public, it’s also necessary."
"That van wasn’t just a vehicle, it was part of our family. And now that it’s gone, I find myself mourning the loss of my old friend. Sure, we had been too rough on it. Five rambunctious kids are usually too rough on anything they touch. But it had been reliable; able to weather our wear and tear. "
"Even in — or maybe especially in — a big family, I need to make time for each of my kiddos individually. Not just in private conversations, but in activities."
"There is something so great about getting out with your closest girls at your side. It’s therapeutic, freeing and necessary. And it's just plain awesome."
"The man asks, 'Where do you want to eat tonight?' The woman responds, 'I don’t care, where do you want to go?' And round and round it goes until you both just settle for whatever’s closest." Here's how one Omaha couple avoids it.
"My husband is up first, a mere two weeks after Christmas Day. He's followed by my oldest son three days later. If we skip to February, my two daughters and I all share the same week. That’s right — three birthdays in seven days!"
"It’s been a hard year. But it’s also been a great year. The biggest lesson I learned in 2017 was that the biggest hardships often happen alongside the biggest blessings."
"Somehow, despite loud-mouthed school friends and careless comments from adults, my kids still believe in Santa. All of them. Even my fifth-grader. I’m chalking this up to a miracle because they tell me daily that their friends no longer think the big man is real."
"I highly recommend finding tickets to the next live music show that interests you and finding a sitter to deal with the kiddos. Your ears might ring the next morning and your energy level might be a little tapped, but the memories and the good times are more than worth it."
The stars aligned for this mom and dad to have an adventurous night out without kids. And boy did they have fun.
"Life is a mess with five kids as it is, but trying to get them to school on time and looking relatively presentable is a monumental task we only barely survive," wrote on Omaha mom. "And because of the mayhem I know we’ll be facing every morning, I do what I can to ensure my kids are set up for as much success as possible."
"We’ve let exhaustion and busyness get in the way of our intentional time together. We settle for movie nights at home and late dinners of takeout after the kids go to bed," wrote Rachel Higginson. "And while those are still opportunities for us to have an uninterrupted adult conversation, they’re not the same thing as getting dressed up in clothes not covered in tiny hand prints."
"It turns out kids can survive a long car ride without being plugged in. They saw things they had never seen before and experienced parts of Nebraska and Colorado that were completely new to them. They learned patience with each other and patience with me, and how to entertain themselves."
"Over the summer, I had three kids who needed work done. From baby teeth that needed pulling, to sealants, to full blown cavities, I had to force, bribe and threaten four kids of varying ages into the dentist chair and then somehow convince them to open their mouths and keep them open."
Baby-proofing has taken on an entirely new definition with the addition of Rachel Higginson's fifth. "Outlets no longer stay covered. They’re all ripped open, plastic plugs littering my floors and stairs, waiting to be stepped on. In their place are chargers. Endless chargers. Chargers that are then pulled out by my mobile 8-month-old and put directly in his drooly mouth at the same time his chubby fingers go straight for the open sockets."
A friend recently told Rachel Higginson, “I don’t know how you do it." Her reply? "I don’t do it. I survive it. Barely. There is nothing smooth or simple or easy that happens in my house. I’m a work-from-home mom who manages five kids and works too much. Whatever people see of us in public is only a tiny glimpse of the real thing."
"People are shocked to hear that I have five kids. And even more stunned that their ages are so close together," wrote Rachel Higginson. "When I take them to Target, perfect strangers ask if I meant to have so many of them. Or they volunteer to explain how babies are made. As if I need instructions. Hello, five of them, remember? My husband and I have got this down."
A few weeks ago, I gave some of my girlfriends a ride in my minivan. We were headed to dinner and I offered to drive since I had the baby with me. It made the most sense for us to take my car that already had the car seat base buckled in.
"I’m over homework, spelling tests and trying (and mostly failing) to be on time every morning. I’m fed up with projects and permission slips and dress codes. I’m done with school nights and organized activities and anything standardized," wrote Rachel Higginson. "Every single day becomes a stepping stone to what I want most. I want summer. And I want it now!"
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Jul 23Lewis Art Gallery
Momaha Magazine is our monthly celebration of all the things you love about parenting. We're all about saving time, taming the chaos, getting creative and tackling dilemmas.