I thought that having 5 kids would somehow end my ability to be true to myself as a mom and as an individual. I thought that being Type A was not compatible with having this many kids because inevitably I could not keep up with everything. I like my house to be clutter free. I like to have meals planned, cupboards stocked, and calendars updated. I thought our house would continuously be chaotic, loud, messy, disorderly, and stressful. I thought I’d never be able to keep up with appointments, homework assignments, toilet paper stockage, and most importantly, keep up with the emotional needs of 5 kids.
I was wrong.
The most important thing I have learned after having triplets for one year is that I have not had to deny my personality, my desires, and my hopes for our household. Being Type A has given me a unique set of skills that are actually a huge asset to my household, and a huge gift for my 5 kids. I am able to ensure that we have quality time together as a family because of the efforts I put into planning and organizing the household. I also can ensure quality time with each kid because I have planned things in advance so they don’t take away from time I could be spending with each kid.
For example, meals can be a very stressful time suck in a household. It takes time to find a recipe, get the ingredients, and actually cook. Because I meal plan, dinner is a thoughtless process that takes a fairly short amount of time. We all sit down for dinner together as a family every weeknight (and very often every weekend night too). We have time to talk, connect, and relax before the bedtime routine begins. It takes some time on my part to plan meals, order groceries and have the meals prepped and ready to go, but this works well with my Type A personality. The result is a evening routine that is predictable and relaxing for everyone. The alternative would be to be taken by surprise that it is 5pm and there was no thought given to dinner. The babies would be cranky and hungry, the big kids would be irritated by the babies crying, and I would be irritated about having to find something to pull together while everyone was upset and needy. I plan our meals in the evenings when all the kids are asleep. I order groceries with a store that allows me to do curbside pickup. Once a week, I get all the groceries (I often take the triplets on the drive- they enjoy the scenery and aren’t in the car too long). I keep notes in my phone to anticipate school lunch needs, school celebrations where an extra snack may be necessary, and nights when we may need takeout or an extra portion because of guests coming. It takes time and effort to meal plan, but again, it works well with my personality.
This insight extends to other areas of our life. I like eating out. I thought I’d never be able to eat out with five kids. But we have eaten out quite a few times. Being Type A again helps with this endeavor. I can have diaper bags packed and ready to go when we want to eat out. I can easily get everyone changed and dressed because clean laundry is almost always put away and ready for use. I can grab clean bibs and sippy cups because they are in a predictable place and there are always clean ones ready to go. Even while we are eating out, I have anticipated everyones needs and will have snacks ready, toys and other distractions so we can peacefully wait until the food arrives at a restaurant.
We’ve also had many visitors to our house comment on how peaceful the house is despite having so many kids. I think we all anticipate chaos when we hear how many kids there are. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s not that I make my kids be silent. On the contrary, I am happy to have them scream, dance, and play loudly. The difference is that there isn’t chaos from needs not being met. Their needs are anticipated and I’m ready for them because I’ve taken the time to plan things out.
So if you are Type A like me, rejoice! You will not have to deny your desire for order and predictability. On the contrary, you are uniquely gifted when it comes to keeping up with a big household!