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The cat’s out of the bag

The cat’s out of the bag.

They know and there’s no turning back.

Our children — all four of them — just recently discovered that there are four of them and only two of us.

And now they have been exercising their power in numbers by plotting and scheming and manipulating the younger and trusting siblings to do things for the darker good.

At night, I can only barely count on my fingers and toes the number of instances I’ve kept them from their own demise.

It seems a child’s — or at least my children’s — main objective in life is to find new and creative ways to harm/kill/maim each other or themselves or property.

And my job is to keep them from succeeding.

It’s exhausting.

So to conquer my exhaustion and to exercise my brain, I’ve compiled a list of “mom rules” you should ALWAYS follow (like I’m an expert — yeah right!).

No. 1: Silence during the daytime? This is a sign of trouble. It’s like the calm, eery feeling before a thunderstorm, you know?

When you don’t hear screaming, fighting, laughing or singing, you need to scour the house to account for all children and their limbs.

More times than not, you will find somebody doing something they aren’t supposed to do.

Like when I found our youngest sitting outside in the garage on the lawnmower. We were all screaming and searching. Finally, the little man (who could barely talk) came strutting out of the garage in too-tall-for-him boots and said, “What, Mom?”

No. 2: Invest in latches for doors and remove all objects that can be used to escape.

We have several escape artist children who will do anything possible to rid themselves of the confines of a bedroom or house.

Now, there are multiple levels of locks on our exterior doors,

And when you undo the latch, stand back because once they are “let” outside, they scatter. Keeping them all in one confined area is like holding water in your hands. Some are bound to get out somewhere.

No. 4: Distraction is key to survival.

Even we adults distract ourselves with the daydreams of what we’re going to do when we get home or when we get some free time.

Children are the same way. They get bored with the routine and if they aren’t mentally stimulated, they will work hard to do it themselves.

And the outcome typically involves mud, toilet water or soap. I do speak from experience on this one.

No. 5: At all times account for where every sippy cup and snack is located.

I don’t know how many times dinner has been postponed while we frantically searched for somebody’s missing cup.

I’ve stepped on a squished-into-the-carpet-half-eaten banana.

Long-forgotten cups have been discovered weeks/months later. Enough said.

No. 6: Smile.

When I wake up grumpy — which is more often than not, unfortunately — I find that I set the tone of the house.

If I wake up in a nothing-can-get-me-down mode, the day tends to be better.

The saying is true: “When Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

One day maybe my kids will get the memo and take it easy on me. But for now, Matt and I are making battle plans of our own.

And though we don’t win every battle, I pray we eventually win the war.

—As seen in the Lawrence County Record

Categories: Life on the farm


My name is Ginia Oehlschlager and I'm a small-town gal from Missouri. Join me as I document my crazy life on the farm with my husband and four kids. I'm always looking for frugal, simple ways to live the life God set before me. Where faith, family and fun come together on the farm.

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