4 Moms Q&A: Shoes for 12, snack rules, doing it all

4 Moms, 35 KidsIt’s time to take questions from the audience again, and this time we opened up the floor on the 4 Moms 35 Kids facebook page.  Did you get a chance to ask your question?  Or maybe you’re here to help dispense some wisdom in the comments.  We certainly want all the help we can get!

Q. Ashlee and Cindee want to know about shoes.

Can you hear my guilty giggles?  I used to be the sort of person who took pride in owning just 3 or 4 pairs of shoes.  Now that I have 4 teen daughters, my own collection has somehow grown to 12 pairs, and I still need some black sandals and a pair of Ropers.  I’m not sure how or why I need that many, but I blame my daughters.  We have a shoe problem, and it’s contagious.

The kids?  I’m not even going to count how many shoes they have.  The teen girls struggle to keep it between 10 and 20 pairs each.  I won’t tell you who has 10 and who has 20, but they probably will if you ask.  The younger ones who don’t buy their own shoes yet usually have one pair of boots plus 2 or 3 other pairs of shoe.  We’re in Texas; the boots are a given.  For some people, 3 pairs of boots are the bare minimum.

For shoe storage and organization, we are loving our Closetmaid stackable shelves which coordinate perfectly with the Closetmaid Cubeicals we use for clothes and personal items.

My shoes take up relatively little room.  Oh, except the 3 pairs of boots that don’t fit on the shelf.

Perry’s shoes may be bigger but they really don’t a lot of space either.  That’s mainly because most of them are usually under the kitchen table.

The 4 youngest have their clothes and shoes in my bedroom, so that the older kids can’t blame them for the landfill in their bedroom.  Each child has one shelf here, with a fabric bin for socks either on the shelf or with their cubbies in the compartment below the shoe shelves.  Three of these four kids also own a pair of boots, which are kept in a cubbie below.

And the big girls.  What you see in the photo below is just the tip of the iceberg.  Deanna’s shoes are in a separate shoe holder that hangs over the door – at least some of them.  Many of the shoes are away in Georgia with their owners this week.  And I purposely cropped out the heap of boots on the floor. I just couldn’t be that honest all at once in front of this many people.  I have my limits, friends.

Shoes?  We’ve got ’em.

Q. Trisha asked, “How do you regulate snacks/treats? My kids are constantly begging!”

When all my kids were little, I used to have a regimented schedule.  We had an early breakfast, a 10:00 snack, lunch precisely at noon, a 4:00 post-nap snack, and dinner at a reasonable hour.

Now that I have 6 cooks in the house and hubby is gone from 7 to 7, our feeding schedule looks different.  Breakfast is often more like brunch: late and hearty.  No morning snack is necessary.  Lunch happens when 2 or more people start begging for food.

Between meals, older people help themselves to snacks within approved guidelines (no meat, for example, and ask before seconds on fruit – did you eat a real breakfast/lunch?)  Little people get a hearty snack when they wake up from naps, because dinner happens now at 7.  If it’s any earlier, Dad doesn’t stand a chance of eating with us during the week.

If younger ones are begging for snacks at unexpected times, I have a few questions before I start doling out the goodies.  “Did you finish your breakfast/lunch?  Were you full?  Did you ask for seconds if you were still hungry?” Depending on the answers and exactly what snack they are begging for, they might get what they want – or they might get a glass of milk and a peanut butter roll-up.

I’m not a snack nazi, but I do try to make sure they are not turning their noses up at meals and then begging for cookies 20 minutes later.

Q. Straightened Path is wondering, “Since the title “4 Moms, 35+ Kids” was coined, how many “+ kids” have arrived?”

3 of us were pregnant when we started, so 32 of those children were originally on the outside.  Of course the other 3 arrived nearly 2 years ago and we now have 2 more on the inside, bringing the total to 37.  The Headmistress also has 2 godsons who spend a lot of time at her home but were not included in the official original count, and I believe she now has 3 grandchildren.  Do they count?  If we count everyone, our total is 42!

Q. From Lisa: How do you do it all? Bake, teach, write? I only have 6…3 teens and 3 littles. I feel like we work all the time, yet I still feel under the gun constantly! Help!

Lisa,  I don’t do it all, and I never did.  It’s a trade-off.  When I bake, I don’t teach or write.  When I teach, I don’t write.  When I write, I don’t do anything else.  I generally wish I could do more of everything, but when I had less big people and more littles, I did less of all 3.  I haven’t done much in the way of gardening since ’95.

We prioritize, alloting time to the things that are important to us and our families.  Ideally, we spend more time on the things that are more important and less time on the things that matter less.  In reality, I often find myself spending too much time on the things that please me most with little heed for the things that please God most.

When you have a hundred great ideas for worthy projects and ways to spend time, it’s not always a matter of making good use of your time.  You mentioned that you work hard.  Sometimes you just have to identify the current goal(s) and let the others wait.  Those projects will still be there if and when they make it to the top of the list.  If some never make it to the top, don’t sweat it.  In all labor, there is profit. God is pleased when we do our best for Him, even when we don’t mark off every item on our To Do List.

Check out the other moms’ Q&A posts this week:

Do you have a question?  Watch for your chance to ask on Facebook, or ask here and I’ll try to remember to check before next month’s Q&A.  😉

Upcoming topics for 4 Moms:

  • March 29 – Making time to manage the budget
  • April 5 – Do you plan out blog posts? How do you manage blog time?

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About 4 Moms, including a complete list of all past topics



  1. Thanks, Kim. Once again you’ve encouraged me. As a mom of 8, I frequently get asked how I do it all to which I reply, “I don’t”. My morning prayer includes asking God for help get the important things done and not to stress about the rest. You have quite a ministry to a lot of moms you don’t even know. I’m thankful for you.

  2. Mother Lydia says:

    I’m glad to hear boots are necessary for Texas. My son got boots in August from the grandparents and wore them to pieces, then outgrew them. He wants more and I’d been trying to decide whether it made sense or not.

    My daughter (7 months old) has WAY too many shoes, considering she’s only worn ANY shoes 3 times. She has WAY more than 3 pairs because of friends giving me their handmedowns. I bought 1 pair and she’s worn that pair twice now…

    Headmistress has 4 living grandchildren and 1 in heaven… to my knowledge.

  3. I am pretty good at keeping everything to a bare minimum. I don’t have a wardrobe bursting with clothes, I re use outfits for weddings etc and even my handbag collection has been pared down to one Big one I use for travelling, a smaller day to day one and a clutch bag for weddings etc but the one thing I am slightly addicted to is shoes. At present I think I have at least 20 pairs and would quite happily go and buy more although money is now going towards the baby. I just hope if I have a daughter she does not inherit her mum’s love of shoes as I don’t think the husband could cope haha!

  4. HeatherHH says:

    One big thing that helps with shoes is to keep each person to a minimum quantity. We have six children. They all have one pair of black dress shoes and one pair of tennis shoes. That’s it; 2 pairs per child. The exception is winter when each child has one pair of snow boots also. The dress shoes stay in their closets upstairs, but the tennis shoes (and boots in season) stay on a shoe rack in the laundry room.

    Grown-ups also keep shoes lower in number, though I’m a bit more extravagant. I have 1 pair of nice white keds, and 1 worn out pair without laces that I use as slip-on shoes. One pair of tennis shoes with good arch support. One pair of black dress shoes and one pair of white sandals. So, that puts my total number of shoes at 5 pairs, plus one pair of snow boots in winter.

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