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As the Mother of 8 Blessings, I share my journey of mothering my children with the intention to let them become everything God intends them to be, growing in Godly character, discovering their gifting and godly calling, for His glory!

Linnie is a winner of Top 25 Moms With Big Families - 2013

What has having a big family taught you about motherhood?

Having grace on myself and everyone else especially little ones around me. To be the Mother of my big family is impossible without some planning and orderliness. I’m a free spirit, orderliness doesn’t come naturally to me at all, and I’m also a perfectionist, thus the need for grace on myself and my little ones. To experience the grace of the Lord on me in my daily struggle, when I have no idea how to do it, and joys when things just fall in place, is often so overwhelming, and something I hope to extend to my children without hesitation.

Motherhood also, without a doubt taught me selflessness, while making me feel like a Queen! My personality type need purpose and a reward to keep me going. Having this big family give me divine purpose for my life in the here and now, but also a hope and an expectation for my life in Heaven. In the messiness of serving my big family day after day, with often the same things to do and say over and over again, I’m constantly reminded of the reward of raising the next generation with the purpose to change the world for the glory of the Lord. I’ve been born for this purpose. In doing anything else I would miss the joy and ‘Well done’ of God and that makes me do the next thing, in the great responsibility of raising my children. 

By being a Mother I’m setting the example of being selfless, self denying and self sacrificing to my children. In a World where everything is often about me, myself and I, there is no other way to teach my children the joy of serving by being with them all the time, let them see my life just as it is, with its chaos and failures, but much more, the triumphs and hope in this all.

What tips do you have for meal planning?

There are much truth in “you are what you eat” All our children have food sensitives and react very bad to refined food, fast food, genetically modified food and preserved food. Thus for me to have healthy, bright and cooperating children, I have to plan our meals very carefully!

We eat according to “Eat Right for Your Blood Type” and by the grace of God, all 10 family members are O blood group. We eat three meals a day, each rich in protein, balanced by a starch and everything is made from scratch, even our bread. Once to twice a week I’ll bake half a dozen breads and freeze them.
The children enjoy fruit for snacks, but over weekends my oldest daughter would spoil us with her high quality chocolate treats.

So meals enjoy high priority in our home.

My three oldest children (between 12 and 19years old) each are responsible for a main meal once a week. They have their speciality meals. One may prepare a very delicious mince with pasta, the other a mouthwatering chicken and my oldest son loves to prepare a curry meal. Over weekends we work together in the kitchen, making homemade pizza, hamburgers or barbecue a family event.

We have also divided breakfast between family members. Depending on your schedule for the day, you would be responsible for breakfast. 
Lunch will also be prepared by the older children, while I finish schoolwork with a younger child or attend to family administration. 

At this stage I’m more like the overseer of meal planning and meal preparation. But I guess I’m still spending more than a third of my day in the kitchen, and that is part of having a larger family! Investing in our health is what preparing meals means to us, and thus part of our legacy.

How do you get your children involved with chores? Please share what age these tips are appropriate for.

Without each child having their chores and doing their chores, life would fall apart around us. There are more than enough chaos and unexpected moments already! But in this all I have to remind myself constantly, Training.Takes.Time. No one likes chores. I would much rather enjoy watching a movie, reading my favourite blog or just sit with my children in the backyard, than do routine responsibilities in the home.

My biggest motivation, and challenge, is to show them in every day life the value of their contribution to the family, especially when doing their chores diligently and with a joyful heart. We need each other, and it is pretty much an inconvenience to every one when one sibling doesn’t do a specific chore.
Thus chores are an every day battle of reminding and motivating my children.

The biggest struggle for me is to stay patient and calm while constantly reminding and calling back, and NOT just do it myself. Therefore a set routine for the day, more than once came to my rescue.

We expect chores or family contributions from as soon as the children understand words and can follow through with a very simple command, like, ‘Please go and fetch a spoon in the cupboard.’
The 3 - 8year old boys are all expected to help clean up - from mealtimes, to playtimes.
The 10 and 13 year old are involved in more responsible contributions, like laundry and preparing simple meals.
The oldest two children, 16 and 19 years, can run the home just as well as me. I can expect of them to do exactly the same as I can. In difficult times it has happened that they took full responsibility for the day, planning home activities; preparing meals; supervising, taking care of and driving around siblings.

We do not use money to motivate our children in their chores.