Dawn Gilbreath may want you to know that being a mother of six children does not necessarily meet one's peripheral expectations.
“It's better than you would think. Each child is completely different, each one has a unique personality,” she said.
“And there's never a dull moment.”
The fact, she says, that each child has nothing identical with another makes the complicated, ordinary challenges of parenting each one individually a blessing, not a burden.
That doesn't mean it's easy for sure, she acknowledged.
“My difficulty, like all moms, is to get all the things needed to get done in a day. With six, you figure out what's most important at that moment,” she said. “But you have to also think ahead.”
Dawn and husband Brandon live in Collinston. While he serves as the town's Public Works superintendent, she is a college student at night, and a homeschool teacher during the day to children Glorie, 5, Gracie, 9, Jabe, 12, Blade, 6, Jaxx, 10 months, and Bowdy, 3.
When the couple were dating, they both expressed desires to have a big family.
“One day I remember asking him how many children he wanted and he said six. I don't know if he was serious at the time, but I said, 'Really? Me too!'” she recalled.
Brandon said that once parents have three children to raise, additional ones in some way fit right in with the routine.
Gracie, the oldest girl, says there are some obvious downfalls to having so many siblings, like waiting in line for the bathroom and fighting over a toy.
The oldest, Jabe, said there's general chaos, but also camaraderie. He's called upon to help with responsibilities by helping to take care of the youngest, Jaxx, among other duties.
Jabe's imagined what it would be like to be a lone child: “I would have a bigger room and not have to worry about my Legos getting moved,” he joked.
But, fewer hugs.
“People can't understand how we can raise these many children. I tell them, 'Ya gotta have patience,’” Brandon explained.
Dawn said that while the challenges of raising six has forced them to simplify their lifestyles, they have discovered it to be a blessing.
“We have disassociated ourselves with the hustle and bustle of society. That will rob you of your time and your memories,” she said.
For Mother's Day, Brandon says he tries to concentrate on “the little things” to celebrate the day for his wife.
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“I know I'm lucky,” he said. “She's just awesome.”
Jabe says that Mother's Day at the house tomorrow will be “all about Mom.”
“It's a day she can rest,” he predicted.
“No,” Mom said, pausing. “I don't think so.”