Deacon Paul and Helen McBlain, members of St. Joseph Parish in Collingdale, have been married more than 50 years and have seven children and 21 grandchildren.

Deacon Paul and Helen McBlain, members of St. Joseph Parish in Collingdale, have been married more than 50 years and have seven children and 21 grandchildren.

She Says:

Ashley says: The summer has arrived and already I am looking forward to school reopening! Yikes! I am not sure I will be creative enough or patient enough to get through these next two months without losing my sanity.

I love our children! They are cute (thank God they are cute … I have often said that is what saves them from my wrath). They also are very active and inquisitive and I am not sure my aging body is able to keep up with them physically nor will my brain be able to figure out how to overcome everyday challenges they present to me.

And my emotions … wow! I manage to get frustrated and angry within nanoseconds when one of the kids pushes one of my sensitive buttons.

My husband is a great provider, but this financial provision means that he is not here from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the week. Peter listens to my complaints, but I believe he does not understand the frustrations and challenges 6-year old twin boys and two girls who are 8 and 10 bring to me on any given day. I try to bring them out for day trips, but I cannot do that every day.

I work part time from home and I need some time to myself to accomplish my job duties on the computer. Constant interruptions from kids arguing or asking questions or needing me to do something frustrate me. I try to do my computer work during the day so that I have time with Peter at night.

Peter replies to my concerns by telling me that at least I am with people I love … that he is having to face people daily at work who he does not even like. I am not sure Peter really understands the stress I have dealing with our kids each day.

He Says:  

Peter says: I can see that our kids, as great as they are, present a challenge to Ashley that is difficult. Their combined energy level is extreme, but not a bad thing. They are curious, intelligent, vivacious, joyful and yes, challenging. These are all qualities that will serve them well in life, but do pose challenges for their daily care provider, Ashley.

I do try to take them under my wing on the weekends when I do not have to work, but that does not shorten Ashley’s days during the week. My suggestions to take day trips have been followed by Ashley and the days she goes on an outing are fun and less hectic. However, they can be costly and we cannot afford to go out daily on excursions with four children.

In addition, Ashley has to work during the week for her job on a daily basis, even though it is only part time. Ashley needs to eke out time to complete her work each day.

Not being at home during weekdays, I really do not have many ideas to help her with this current problem. I figure in a few years this hectic behavior will calm (then we may have greater, more pressing problems with teenage girls!). The twins are at a physically active age. They are boys and will act like boys, which in many ways is a good thing!


“When the chief priests and the scribes saw the wondrous things he was doing, and the children crying out in the temple area, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’, they were indignant and said to him, ‘Do you hear what they are saying?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Yes; and have you never read the text, ‘Out of the mouths of infants and nurslings you have brought forth praise’?” (Matthew 21: 14-16)

What do they do?

There is no doubt that Ashley’s problem can be daunting. A mom who stays at home with a house full of children is challenged to be creative, patient and well organized to meet everyone’s needs, including her own.

Ashley has already followed through with providing periodic day trips. Some day trips are less costly than others and this couple should pursue that venue.

Having a meeting with the kids to discuss this issue will be important for Ashley and Peter. They can also discuss a daily schedule so the children can have a clear expectation of what to expect each day, including when Mom can set aside “her” time to work.

They are old enough to understand time-related activities because they are all in school. With the kids, developing a schedule that all understand and, if not agree upon, will at least acknowledge what to expect.

Having play dates with other kids visiting can provide a diversion for the children. Sometimes having other kids over will reduce the interruptions on Mom or a care provider as they focus on playing with the play date.  Reciprocating by having your child to go to other kids’ homes from time to time can also reduce the overall activity at home. Having only one child out of the house can change the dynamics of the activity level in the home.

Many libraries have activities during the summer. Check on these and see if any or all of your children would enjoy the specific activities offered. Many churches have Vacation Bible School which not only provide a few hours of respite, but teach children about Jesus. Check your local “Y” to see what activities could be available for your children. Same with a local pool. Many have partial memberships that are affordable.

These children may be too young to volunteer for an agency, but volunteering for an elderly neighbor or a grandparent can be exciting for the children, refreshing for the elderly (who will enjoy the kids while with them, and very thankful that part of their lives is past them when the kids leave!)

Children can help with gardening or painting or cleaning … giving them daily chores (use a chore chart). Work will use up some time and there can be a rule that we don’t play until the chores are complete.

Ashley needs to make sure she gives of herself to the children on a daily basis, but that she also gives time for her own activities. When children know that Mom will not ignore them, and she has her own work time scheduled, they will be more patient and accept the need to allow Mom her time.

Children do best when they know what is happening. Children also enjoy diversity.

Tweaking Ashley’s day to provide a fairly regular schedule with some fun, diverse activities and some jobs that create responsibility can help.

Another thing to consider is having a pet for the kids. Pets do create their own problems for parents, but pets give children an outlet for play and learning responsibility.

And, finally, when it appears that nothing is working, release them into God’s hands — trusting in God to do his great work in their lives.

“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.” (Philippians 4:6).