I had the wonderful problem today of having little ones almost constantly underfoot. My husband was at work, and each of the older children were busy with things that kept them out of the house most of the day, so it was me and my 3 little ones at home. I taught Lydia and Johanna their math lessons (2nd and 1rst grade), made lunch(with their help), and, while Jason took his nap, the girls did their phonics, and reading. Then, after Jason woke up, it was time to start dinner, and they all helped me cut up the melon, etc.
It seems to me that many mothers with large families tend to ignore the little ones. The commotion caused by a family with a lot of children of many ages sends some mothers into a tailspin, and they sit in their seat, holding their heads and saying, "Don't bother me now, I'm trying to get something done. Go play." And there IS so much to do! I find myself going from the time my feet touch the floor in the morning to the time I pull them back under the sheets at night.
I was taught long ago from my mother that if you tend to a child's needs when they need met, then you will have a contented child, and I have found it to be true. Each of my children have needs throughout the day - from the 2 year-old to the 20year old - that need met, and can only be met by me! Sometimes I feel that there is not enough ME to go around! But the Lord is faithful, who will not put on us more than we can bear. If He has given us these children to love and take care of, He will give us the strenth to do the job!
I have been reading about those who have their little ones with them while they work, garden, cook, clean, etc., and how that binds the hearts of mothers and children together. So I've been trying it with my yong children. I want them to learn to enjoy work, and to know how to do things around the house. It serves two purposes: they learn how to work, and they get to be with me! They LOVE it! (And that's an understatement!)
Even when the big ones are grown, the little ones still need that time with Mom. Though it is very difficult, I want to do my best to meet that need. So far, my little ones are happy, contented, and learning!