We Call her Cinco Mom
Photo credit: Dainty Blue Photography
We lovingly and jokingly call her “Cinco Mom.” Melanie Correia is my beloved sister and the proud mother of 5, yes five, adorable and smart kids. Her children range from 12 years old to one year old. They are all incredibly smart, with the three older ones always competing to see who will get better grades or a higher level of honor roll.
When I decided to start featuring moms, she was the first person to come to mind. I’m often in awe of how effortless she makes managing her family look. When I can barely muster up the energy to cook dinner, Melanie whips us delicious meals, punctuated by even more delicious desserts.
Although I know it’s not as easy as it looks, my sister pulls off what many people deem as unthinkable every day. She does it all with a smile on her face and the utmost patience and love. She is my first phone call when something is wrong and is always there to listen and give a calming perspective.
Melanie is a professional Graphic Artist, specialized in high end retouching. She works full time from home, while caring for her large family. In this feature, this Amazing Mom opens up about the judgement she has received about the size of her family and how she manages the challenges of motherhood.
On the negativity she receives regarding her larger family:
I always wanted a large family and often get compliments on how lovely my children are. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes overshadowed by people’s negative comments and “jokes”. People think I’m irresponsible to have more than 2 kids in today’s world, or that I can’t afford them. A common comment is “you’re crazy.”
With my 5th child I hid my pregnancy from everyone with very few exceptions. Most of our friends and extended family found out on the day I gave birth. The anxiety over what other people would think or say was consuming to say the least. With time, I have learned to drown out the disparaging comments and just focus on my family. I changed my attitude. Though I remain a sensitive person, as I always have been, I don’t let others’ negativity filter into my life. They don’t pay my bills, or babysit…so it’s none of their business.
On what she loves about motherhood:
I love children and always wanted to have 4. I absolutely love being a mother, even with all the challenges that come along. From the moment I find out I am pregnant, I feel an indescribable joy and excitement knowing that a brand new, tiny person is growing within me. I have been fortunate with relatively easy pregnancies. Maybe that’s one of the reasons that I have five! I love witnessing how each of them grows and blossoms, with their differing personalities and strengths. I feel so much pride to experience all their milestones, from first steps to honor roll award ceremonies. I would not change my family for the world!
On the challenges of motherhood:
Other than the constant judgement with respect to my family, I face several challenges. I work full time from home and barely get any sleep. Since it’s difficult to work when all the kids are at home and need my attention, I do a lot of my work during the night and very early morning. This gets very stressful at times, since my job is rather demanding and comes with strict deadlines that must be met.
With a larger family, there is a never a dull moment. We have had our share of illness. Over the years, we’ve dealt with meningitis, seizures, asthma, pneumonia a busted ear drum and hundreds of colds, flu and viruses. It’s especially difficult to manage when someone is sick, but somehow, we make it work. My parents have been a God send, and play a large role in our lives. I can’t forget to mention my older 2 children, who help with the little ones.
On keeping her sanity:
It’s not all fun and games. I do lose it sometimes, especially when the house is upside down and “Mama” is everyone’s favorite word. There are days when I scream and shout, but I try my best to remember that they are only children. When the going gets tough, I close my eyes and ask God for guidance and patience. I have been blessed with a mostly calm demeanor. I’ve gotten through much more than I ever thought I could. The key is to take a step back, a deep breath and focus on all the positives. If we call them to mind, there are many. When I think about mothers, children and families who are struggling through war and famine, I know that we are incredibly blessed. Most of the things we fret about are just small issues.
On her advice for new moms:
Don’t take their childhood for granted. Enjoy every moment you can and spend as much time with them as you can. Just the other day I had my first baby boy and now I have not one, but two preteens. They grow so very quickly. Toys and electronics could never replace the precious quality time that you spend with them.
I would also tell new moms to relax. Nowadays everyone is so “uptight”. But I have learned that with kids, you must go with the flow. They don’t run on your schedule or with your plans. So just take it one day at a time.
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