Before I Had a Seven Year Old: Bonnie of A Knotted Life

13 August 2014

Thanks for joining us for the second installment of Before I Had a Seven Year Olda series where I ask moms about their experiences in early motherhood. 

Bonnie is one of the sweetest bloggers in my little corner of the internet, so I was delighted when she agreed to take part in this shindig. Now before we all start splitting hairs we'll recognize that Bonnie doesn't quite have a seven year old. So maybe we can update this in a few months and she can tell us how extreme the 6/7 divide really is. You might know her from the Sheenazing Awards that she hosts or for being the mother of this little miracle. I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with her at Edel and can confirm that she's just as lovely in the flesh as she is at A Knotted Life.

How many kids do you have and how old are they?
I have 6 kids. One in Heaven, and then a 6, 4, 3, 2, and 1 year old.

What are the biggest differences in your home life now that you have slightly biggers running around and not just really littles?
I have more time to myself now and I have help. Because they're all close in age they can all play pretty well together which allows for some really good breaks for me. I can send all the kids, sans baby, out to the back yard to play while I meal prep or blog or clean and I know they'll be okay. Part of that is where we live but part of it is that the older two (my 4 year old is almost 5) are very capable of organizing play. Also, my 6 year old is very responsible and a really good kid and so she's also very helpful with putting shoes on the 2 year old, changing diapers, buckling kids in... All my kids help set and clear the table, water potted plants, gather garbage, put their clean clothes away, tidy the house, etc. It's wonderful!

What's something you miss about that stage of only really littles?
My house was quieter and they were all in cribs and couldn't climb into our bed at night, but that's about it. It wasn't until my 4th that I really enjoyed the baby stage and I was still pretty clueless when I had my first three so I don't miss much. 

What's something you stressed about that doesn't stress you out at all anymore?
What other people say. I don't really care what "they" say anymore. So much of my parenting the first few years was trying to follow what "they" say. Now I follow my gut, my mom's advice, and the law. 

Have you ever (metaphorically...or literally) locked yourself in the bathroom to stay sane?
If it's cold outside I step out on the porch so I can literally and figuratively cool off. If it's hot outside I lock myself in my bedroom and turn the fan on high. I have done this much more than once or twice or even ten times. Sometimes it was because of me, untreated postpartum depression led to a very short fuse, and so I had to get out of the house and away from my kids before I would rage. Sometimes it was because of the kids, meltdowns or puke everywhere or just me being overstimulated by five kids all crying for my attention, and I just had to step away for a moment and regroup. For me, locking myself away was always a good decision. If I was in a really bad place I would binge eat. If you saw me binge eating things were not okay and I was (am) grabbing for something to make it better. 

What's an expectation for yourself/your kids/your husband that you have totally let go of?
That we have to be perfect right away. The kids aren't the only ones learning and growing - my husband and I are too! We're going to make some mistakes - all of us - because so much of this is uncharted territory for us. 

How did you and your husband support one another when you were new parents?
At the end of the day we would sit on the sofa, totally pooped, and commiserate together. It was great for bonding.
How did you build community for yourself and for your family?
From the very beginning I was looking for something and tried the La Leche League in my area. It was nice but the other moms were definitely more crunchy than I was and none of them shared my religious beliefs. I didn't fit in. I was thrilled when a woman at my parish later invited me to be a founding member of a pray and play group. I also hosted a small group Bible study in my home one summer with my husband. We arranged for an older couple from our parish to be present to babysit the kids, I handed out flier-invites to the different couples (we have a small parish - it was all the young adults), and I sent text message reminders. It was great, and while I only did it that one summer it was a wonderful way to get to know those other couples.

What was your hardest transition after having a newborn? 0 to 1 kid? 1 to 2? 6 to 7? Why?
0 to 1 was by far the hardest - it was even harder than 2 to 3 and my 3rd spent 7 weeks in the NICU! I went from working and knowing what I was doing and seeing results to being a stay at home mom who was clueless and exhausted. My daughter cried all the time and it was really difficult. Incredibly difficult. I would actually say that it's gotten easier with every child we've added. 

If you could go back and tell something to your newmom self, what would it be?
Don't clean! Hold your baby and sleep. That's all that matters.

Thanks for reading and thank you so much to Bonnie! And if you veteran moms are interested in sharing your own stories from the early years be sure to link up here.


  1. Can I say as I sit here relishing (RELISHING!!!) my son's precious nap time that I reaaalllyyy like the ones who say 0 to 1 was the hardest. Keep 'em coming. ;)

  2. "Now I follow my gut, my mom's advice, and the law." Yes! Me too! I've always been too much of a people pleaser and I'm just now getting to be grown-up enough to stick to my gut instincts, my mom's advice and the law. Great advice, Bonnie!

  3. 0-1 was absolutely the hardest for me, honestly probably almost as hard as going from 2-4, which I don't even count because DUH... And yeah, one of my favorite tricks is to throw some food at the kids and then hide somewhere for a while until I hear crying! Sometimes it works surprisingly well and they all forget about me for 20 minutes and I get a little break!

  4. I am a big fan of hiding from my kids. I do it even if I'm NOT mad.

  5. This: "Now I follow my gut, my mom's advice, and the law." YES!! Brilliant. Loving this wisdom, and the whole series!

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  7. I heart you. Naptime is my hiding time. And, if it's a no-nap day, I find a hiding place for sure at some point during the day. I'm glad it gets easier with each child. Despite the birth of my first son being a little on the traumatic side, he was a really easy baby. Such a sweet and docile temperament (still is at age 3). Then numero dos came along and he rocked my world. Pretty sure I thought he would cry for the rest of his life. And, sometimes wonder if he will nurse into his teens at this rate. God-willing, if we are blessed with another child, pray that he makes for a sweeter transition. Your kids are gorgeous, btw!

  8. Thanks for doing this series! It's so helpful. I have three kids, 7, 5, and 2, and 0-1 kids was most definitely the hardest for me. It was all just so shocking! And then I had PPD with the second, so that was tough; my third baby just slid right in.

    I was at Edel, and I wish I had met you. I'm a new reader, found you through Grace's link, and I really enjoy your blog. I don't think I met enough people at Edel, so I'm trying to make up for it by commenting.

  9. This is the best: "Don't clean! Hold your baby and sleep. That's all that matters." I'm taking note for down the road... :)

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