Having five kids is hard.
There, I said it.
Other people will say things like, “Oh, bless your heart for having all those kids,” and “You’re a better man than me”.
Having children, adopted or birthed, doesn’t make anyone a better person or better parent than anybody else. But it does change a man (or woman).
For example, I hated coffee until I was 26-years-old. I tried my first cup o’ Joe after our first two boys moved in. It had about 1oz of coffee and 15oz of creamer, but when the caffeine took over, life didn’t seem as hard for 4-5 hours. When our next two boys moved in, my daily coffee chug doubled. And since we had our daughter, I empty at least a pot-and-a-half of the stuff by mid-morning. If there was a coffee shortage tomorrow, we’d probably pack up the family, move to South America and grow our own coffee beans.
My parenting and ultra-running training clash weekly. On one hand, I don’t want to be a deadbeat dad that ignores his kids and hits the trails every day while neglecting his children, but I also have to keep my training up to finish my race in September. Luckily, our two oldest boys love to run, and they are great at it. During one long run, they both sprinted the last quarter mile of a 16 mile, late-night jog. My younger boys love running, too. My seven-year-old ran a 5k with me in December, and loves training with me when I am practicing in the yard or on off-road trails. He roughed it through a 10-mile run/hike over a 1800ft mountain a few months ago!
When our first two moved in, my adulting years began. I got a job in a hot, sweaty factory. I traded my hobby of writing music for driving kids to soccer practice (which I eventually started coaching myself). Life forced me to hang up my dreams for a while and figure out how to keep tiny humans alive.
- Running long distances.
- Helping my kids homeschool.
- Going to work while leaving my wife with the kids each day (I pray they don’t realize there are more of them than of her).
- Blown-out diapers.
- Social distancing.
- Feeding a small army of mouths.
- Trying not to screw up a human.
- Training for the most grueling day of my life, (The Georgia Jewel).
Last week, my company sent me home for a lack-of-work. On the brightside, I have time to get stuff done around the house. Hopefully, my training load can increase, and so shall my coffee intake. Y’all pray for me. This is the first time I’ve been home for more than a week with all the kids in over three years. My parental endurance is a little rusty and I hope these four walls don’t close in on me too hard.
If you clicked this blog looking for advice about ultrarunning when you have a large family, here it is. It’s going to be difficult. You’re going to feel like it’s impossible. You’ll be dehydrated, sleepy, and longing for a break. And as for parenting large families, just hold on and enjoy the run.