How Do You Do It?

by flowers on July 5, 2010 · 18 comments

I’m having a baby and some amazing bloggers are here to share their …infinitely learning… moments with us while I nest, birth and babymoon. This post is from Nicki.


How do you respond to the question “how do you do it?” I have to admit that I hate the question. In my life, it generally comes from those who find out I am the mother of six children. Once that number is out there, someone in the conversation will ask some form of the how question. The problem is there is not a set way.

How do you raise six kids? How do you love six kids? You just do! As with any parent, I do what I have to to make my children know they are loved and wanted. I help them to make the most of their decisions while trying to let them make the actual decisions.

On top of doing what is needed at any given moment, my lifestyle and parenting style may not work for you. What I would do in any given circumstance may not blend with what you and your parenting partner want to do.

Do I allow my children to have cell phones? This issue was a big parenting question when the cost of phones came down some time ago. This issue still is big for most parents as the age when children want a mobile device is younger and younger. My solution is to purchase pre-paid cell phones for my children while they live at home. Others put their children on their mobile plan. There are pitfalls to both solutions – texting limits or not, use of the phone for parental communication first and foremost – but each works for the family that chooses it.

Another common problem arises when parents begin to get pressure to potty train. There is something about the term “train” that has always bothered me. Teaching a life skill is what is happening so I guess parents are training but I have seen those who are so set on this happening at a specific age that the only training is of the parent. I had no problems realizing that my children would learn to use a toilet when they were ready. Yet, I succumbed to pressure – disguised as training pants as second birthday gifts to the twins – and started the twins down the path to the toilet before they were ready. The result was a really shiny hardwood floor in my dining room from urine being mopped up all the time. The frustration was all mine and the diapers soon went back on the twins.

So, to all you parents out there, I leave you with the biggest piece of wisdom I have come across as a mother. Trust your instinct in this area. Do not worry about what others do or say.

Nicki is a freelance writer and single mom of six. You can read more of her life and parenting at

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Melodie July 5, 2010 at 1:29 am

Following your instincts is the best mothering advice anyone could ever give to another mother. And coming from a mom of 6 I’ll take it!


Nicki July 5, 2010 at 10:57 am

Melodie – If your children are not yet in school, hold tight to that feeling when they get there. You do know your child best!
.-= Nicki´s last blog ..Look for Me at Infinite Learners =-.


exhale. return to center. July 5, 2010 at 7:21 am

what a great post, nicki! thank you!!

i recently had a little sit-down with a new-ish friend. she was constantly making comments about how she didn’t know how the heck i was doing all that i am doing and that i must be super-woman or something.

finally one night i was like, ok. we need to go have a beer and talk this through. we sat there and shared our stories…the visions we had of ourselves as mothers, the realities we struggle with, the compromises we have made in the name of the larger picture of peace in our hearts and in our homes.

it was SO helpful to talk it all out. i think when you just see someone from the outside who seems to be “doing it all” it can really make you feel insecure about all that you are not doing, especially if you are in a place of struggle.

one of the many reasons why i think it is so important for mothers to respect each other’s choices, share their stories with each other and remember that there is SO much more than meets the eye in every moment.

thanks for your inspiring words!

.-= exhale. return to center.´s last blog on the farm =-.


Nicki July 5, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Erin – You have so hit the nail on the head. Respect and support of each other. Professionals do it. Mothers MUST do it!
.-= Nicki´s last blog ..Look for Me at Infinite Learners =-.


Tracy Todd July 5, 2010 at 10:03 am

I think that a mother’s instinct is one of the most powerful forces on this planet. And we can learn much from the wisdom of mothers like you. Thank you for a great post!
.-= Tracy Todd´s last blog ..Heart Running Free =-.


Nicki July 5, 2010 at 1:30 pm

I agree, Tracy. Yet, so many mothers do not trust their instincts about their children. Thanks for reading.
.-= Nicki´s last blog ..Look for Me at Infinite Learners =-.


Christine LaRocque July 5, 2010 at 11:05 am

Nicki I love this! I love it because it’s rich with truth, and I know it because my own experience with my oldest and toilet learning was exactly as you describe. The frustration and irritation were all mine, and those were my darkest parenting days. Granted I was so tired from around the clock nursing my youngest, nonetheless in my heart I knew he wasn’t ready. But I succumbed to the same kinds of pressure.

Congratulations on the new baby Hilary. Great to “meet” you through Nicki!

Sometimes it’s hard to go with your guy. There are so many pressures out there, so many yardsticks against which to measure ourselves. I admit I wish I could feel more empowered on my own. I pay lip service, but in my heart sometimes I find it very hard to just do “my best.”
.-= Christine LaRocque´s last blog ..Kindergarten and big questions =-.


Nicki July 5, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Christine – I am pretty certain that what you are doing is “your best” at that given point in time. We just seldom see that until later. You know, hindsight and all.
.-= Nicki´s last blog ..Look for Me at Infinite Learners =-.


Amber July 6, 2010 at 11:13 pm

I am at the shiny hardwood floor stage. It is highly discouraging, to say the least. Perhaps I should listen to what my instincts, and the puddles, are telling me.
.-= Amber´s last blog ..Mr Salesguy =-.


Nicki July 7, 2010 at 6:18 am

Amber – trust your instincts. I use to let the twins – one boy, one girl – run around the back yard naked. I would put the potty chair out there with them. They eventually decided when they were ready.
.-= Nicki´s last blog ..Look for Me at Infinite Learners =-.


Kate July 9, 2010 at 8:49 am

Nicki, I enjoyed reading this so much that I read it twice! I didn’t comment right away, however, because I’m one that would probably ask “How do you do it?” or something else like that.

I have a friend who is a mother of 4. She’s pregnant with her 5th and definitely wants 6. I’m in awe of her and often ask her mothering questions that probably sound a lot like “how do you do it?” And this question comes from place of respect. She inspires me. In my eyes she seems to have mastered something that sometimes overwhelms me.

I’ve had a few people ask me the same question about other things that I do, “Kate, HOW do you DO this?” And I always take it as a compliment because in their eyes I’ve mastered something that overwhelms them.

Whether mastery is truly involved or not, I do think that many times the question “How do you do it?” comes from a place where others are recognizing our gifts and are inspired.

When I ask or am asked this question to me it really means “I think you’re doing a great job! I’m inspired! Share with me some of your magic!”

Thank you, Nicki, for sharing some of your magic. :)
.-= Kate´s last blog ..My Everyday Magic 07-09-10 =-.


Nicki July 9, 2010 at 10:57 am

Kate – thanks! I had never really thought of it that way. I just really never understood why people would want to know how I do things because I am not the “perfect” parent. Things get done to benefit the kids. Well, now the kids are mostly adults, I do more for me.
.-= Nicki´s last blog ..Friday Fun – Retake- =-.


Casey July 11, 2010 at 5:55 pm

I’m also a mom of 6 and since I became a single mother this comment has really started to bother me. “I don’t know how you do it.” “You must have the patience of a saint.” etc.

I do what I have to do when I have to do it. That’s really all there is to it. I also firmly believe that 1 or 100 children somehow manage to take up all of your time.

As far as patience go? All of the kids caught on pretty quick to stay out from under mom’s feet until she’s had morning coffee.


Nicki July 12, 2010 at 7:42 pm

You are so right. I have been a single mom for 14 years. You do what you have to – no less – to make it all work.
.-= Nicki´s last blog ..Nerves =-.


L.J. July 12, 2010 at 9:08 pm

A great reminder to all of us! Thank you!
.-= L.J.´s last blog ..Growing Together =-.


Nicki July 16, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Thanks, LJ!
.-= Nicki´s last blog ..Sports Fanatic =-.


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