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March 6, 2023

Episode 89: Did You Say 10 Kids? Creating Calm Amongst the Chaos with Laura Hernandez

In this episode, DJ invited a Mom of 10 children and creator of Mama Systems, Laura Hernandez, on the show to discuss the importance of implementing systems in your household to create order and peace. Listen in as they talk about the different ways you can bring calm to the chaos by delegating to others, creating a “team” mentality at home, giving the kids responsibilities and holding them accountable, and making time for self care.

Laura Hernandez is the owner of Mama Systems and the mother of ten children. In just five years, she and her husband have added six children to their family - three biological and three through adoption. Four of the children attend public school, and they home-school five children. Laura leads a busy life, managing 20+ appointments a week for their four special needs children. Laura is passionate and dedicated to helping women bring more peace to their homes by designing customized systems that help a family run more smoothly... Reducing a mother's daily workload is her specialty!

• [12:55] DJ & Laura discuss how to get kids to help with the chaos.
• [17:34] “Teaching your kids to be dependable is an investment.” 
• [21:52] Lauren shares the importance of delegating to others.
• [28:30] Lauren talks about why she gets up 30-45 minutes earlier than everyone else in the household… to welcome the day better. 

For more information on the Imperfect Heroes podcast, visit:

𝗙𝗥𝗘𝗘 5-Days of Kindness  𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙣𝙜𝙚 𝙬𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙧𝙪𝙣 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙈𝙖𝙧𝙘𝙝 𝟭𝟯𝙩𝙝 𝙩𝙤 𝙈𝙖𝙧𝙘𝙝 𝟭𝟳𝙩𝙝, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙞𝙩 𝙬𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙤𝙛𝙛𝙚𝙧 𝙫𝙖𝙧𝙞𝙤𝙪𝙨 𝙖𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙫𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙚𝙨 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙞𝙣𝙙𝙞𝙫𝙞𝙙𝙪𝙖𝙡𝙨 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙛𝙖𝙢𝙞𝙡𝙞𝙚𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙚𝙣𝙜𝙖𝙜𝙚 𝙞𝙣.

🕐𝗗𝗔𝗬 𝟭: Participants will be encouraged to focus on self-care and self-kindness.
🕑𝗗𝗔𝗬 𝟮: Dedicated to showing kindness to family members.
🕒𝗗𝗔𝗬 𝟯: All about spreading kindness in the neighborhood.
🕓𝗗𝗔𝗬 𝟰: Focuses on showing kindness in the community.
🕔𝗗𝗔𝗬 𝟱: Will provide a chance for families to work together to show kindness to others and create a plan to continue the fun.

At the end of the challenge, participants will have gained a deeper understanding of the power of kindness and the positive impact it can have on themselves and those around them.


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DJ Stutz  0:13  
We think you should know that Imperfect Heroes podcast is a production of Little Hearts Academy USA. 

You're listening to Episode 89 of Imperfect Heroes - Insights Into Parenting, the perfect podcast for imperfect parents looking to find joy in their experience of raising children in an imperfect world. And I'm your host, DJ Stutz. Lauren Hernandez is the owner of Mama Systems. And she's the mother of 10 children. In just five years, she and her husband added six children to their family, three biological, and three through adoption. Four of the kids attend public school, and they homeschool five children. And then she manages 20 Plus appointments a week for their for special needs children. She is passionate and dedicated to helping women bring more peace to their homes. And with 10 kids, she has learned so much about doing just that; designing custom systems that help a family run more smoothly. And that reduce a mother's daily workload is her specialty. There's so much to learn. So let's get started.

Attention elementary school parents! These are the morning announcements! It's almost time for parent teacher conferences again, what do you want to understand about how and what your child does learning? And why? How would you like to explore strategies to be a proactive and engaged partner in your child's education? What if you can enhance your child's strength and support areas of growth by setting and achieving goals as a team? Well download and explore maximizing parent teacher conferences today, it's only going to be available until Friday, March 31. So if you would like to continue the conversation about effectively communicating with your child's teacher to support their academic success, my calendar link is in the show notes. You can watch the webinar at a time that is convenient to you. And then go ahead and hit the link and make an appointment to talk with me. And we will make a difference in your child's learning today. 

If you like what you hear in today's podcast, be sure to rate and review and then tell a friend. You know, I feel like I know and understand big families. I grew up as the oldest of seven, my husband is the youngest of nine. While I have five kids I have siblings was six, seven, and eight kids. And I know from personal experience that systems and routines are the key to making things work. But the reality is that you don't need five or more kids to need systems. No matter the size of your family. Larger small systems are the secret to some modicum of calm. My guest today is Laura Hernandez. And Laura is one of those people who have a special place in heaven. She and her husband have been foster parents, a task that is very close to my heart. And after having five kids of their own, they added three more that needed a home and then went on to have two more kids. And Laura understands the importance of discovering the systems that will not only help her family, but we'll help yours as well. And we know there is no one system that works for everyone. As I like to say it isn't one size fits all. It's one size fits one. Laura and I talk about some of the different ways she brings calm among the chaos, and some things that can help you do the same. So let's listen in. 

Welcome, everyone, and thank you for choosing to spend the next few minutes at Imperfect Heroes podcast. And today I have another great guest, Laura Hernandez. And Laura, you are amazing. I heard your story and I thought oh my goodness, I need to talk to this woman. So how many? How many kids do you have?

Laura Hernandez  4:42  
We have 10 kiddos.

DJ Stutz  4:44  
10 kiddos. And so it's funny because I have five and people say Oh Wow, such a big family. I'm like, No, that's not. That's not a big family. Laura has a big family. So yeah, I'd love to hear more about that. And we're talking about You know, really calm among the chaos, then? If anyone understands chaos, I'll bet it to you.

Laura Hernandez  5:06  
I do. I haven't got we've got that down.

DJ Stutz  5:10  
So talk to me about the whole 10 kids and how your family expanded. Let's just start out with that story.

Laura Hernandez  5:18  
Yeah, so I have always wanted to adopt, it's kind of been something that was kind of a deal breaker when we were dating and like, Hey, if you're not up for adoption, then we're not getting married. And my husband and I got married, and we have three kids. And after our third kid, he said, You know what, we need to do this adoption thing, if we're gonna do it, because otherwise I don't think I'm gonna be able to do any more kits. And, okay, well, we got to figure this out then. So we went to a class at our church that talked about all the different kinds of adoption and just kind of the ins and outs of all the all the different types, right, and wanted to adopt from Africa, he wanted to adopt from China. And they kept saying, don't move forward until you're both on the same page. But we thought we were gonna be adopted internationally is kind of the gist of all of that until some of our friends got up. And they were talking about foster care. And we both looked at each other and said, Oh, crap, when this is what we're supposed to be doing, yeah. And it wasn't, neither of us wanted to do foster care. It just kind of felt like a heartbreaking thing to sign up for, and why would you want to do that to yourself, right. But we felt like that's what we should be doing. And so we started training, and we got Andrew placed in our home shortly after that. And he came to us at two days old and stayed with us until eight months old. And eight months, he went with his bio mom. She subsequently had two more kids, we had two more kids. And right after we had our fifth biological, we found out that they were in Kerrigan, Andrew and his two siblings were in Kerrigan. And they were looking for a more permanent placement for them. And so we're like, well, we'll do it. But we had moved up to Seattle at the time. And so we had to move back to Texas, to be able to foster and adopt them. And so right after our fifth biological newborn in tow, we moved across the country, and got these three new kids in our home. And we didn't know at the time that they all had special needs. But it was a lot like that whole period was a lot. We had five kiddos born under all in diapers, and we were just kind of living in survival mode. So that's kind of how our family grew. And kind of our business kind of grew out of that as well of just really experiencing that survival mode and feeling overwhelmed because it wasn't ever something I've experienced before. With parenting, back that up, I felt that before but just not with parenting, right? Being a mom is like my favorite thing in the whole world. And I loved it and and then all of a sudden became really hard. And what am i What do I do, we've got to make it to bedtime. If I can get them in their beds, and they're safe in bed, then we're doing great. That was my goal every day, bedtime. So having an experience that just built a lot of compassion in me for other moms who really struggle and her just kind of living in survival mode all the time. And how we got out of it was just really having to sit down and think through what was going to work for our family. Because when we read the books, we tried to gather all the information I could to find systems. But nobody had a system for our family that was some home school, some public school therapist and another your home all day, caseworkers in and out of your home all day eight kids. Nobody had something written for that, which I know is shocking. But we had to figure it out on our own. And so that process that we created to create systems for our families now when I get to coach mom is through. So

DJ Stutz  8:47  
well. And then you went on to have two more kids. We did

Laura Hernandez  8:58  
I know I really, um, you know, people just always say you'll know when you're done and I just never felt like we were done until we've had our 10. And now I'm like we're done.

DJ Stutz  9:08  
We're there we reached. I know what that feeling is

Laura Hernandez  9:12  
like now. Yes. Yeah,

DJ Stutz  9:15  
yeah. My story, not as many kids, but we had four kids, grew them up. Our then youngest Christian finished high school. And a year later, we adopted our youngest, and she was 12 at the time. She likes to say she was 12 years overdue. And so that was an adventure, but we did some fostering as well I've and so I understand going through that foster system, and then thinking you've got it like you thinking, I know what I'm doing. I've got these great kids. I've got this going on, you know, and then for me, you know early childhood specialists, although she wasn't Early childhood, but I understood about child development and all of this. And I'd worked for the Division of Family and Youth Services for 16 years as a parenting facilitator and I taught classes about teens and tweens and all of that. I thought I was really prepared. I was not. I think you kind of went through the same thing.

Laura Hernandez  10:25  
Yeah, it takes you by surprise. Yeah.

DJ Stutz  10:28  
Yeah, it really does. So I know that, and I believe in this so strongly, as well as having the right systems in place for your family. So a system that might have worked in my family might not work for another family. And so how do you help families find the system? That's right for them? Yeah,

Laura Hernandez  10:52  
there's a lot to do with moms personality and kids personality and kids learning abilities. And, I mean, there's just so many things that make us unique, that one size fits all won't work for everyone. Right? So it's fascinating working with so many different moms from all over the world, because the things that I'm like, oh, you should definitely be doing this as a person in the United States, you should definitely be doing this. And then you talk to someone over in Japan, and they're like, Oh, we don't, we don't do grocery delivery, oh, I can only go to the store. Once every two weeks, like just the nuances of everybody's community is so different. And so it's a lot of getting to know the person, I kind of, I like to see it as a puzzle for me, figuring out how I can solve the puzzle. And so there's a lot of getting to know the family, getting to know the like the the hang ups, the activities, that everything about them, not in a weird way, but just kind of in a knowledgeable, right, and then just try different systems to see like, Okay, I think that this is gonna work really well for you. Let's try it out for a week or so. And if it doesn't work, then we tweak it a little bit and go from there.

DJ Stutz  12:01  
Yeah. And I think too, I don't work with anyone from Japan. But I do have like Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Spain, some of those countries, and you are very, right that what might work for one family because of their society, their culture, what's available for them, and to the style of home for that culture. So like for us, it's very common to have the kitchens open to the family room where you can keep an eye on the kids while you're cooking. And while you're doing stuff, where if you have a home that isn't, and so you're trying to get dinner done, or dishes done or whatever. And but you don't have that line of sight for the commonplace for the kids, you're gonna have to have a different system in place that fits just the structure of your house, let alone the personality of your kids, right?

Laura Hernandez  12:55  
Yes, absolutely.

DJ Stutz  12:57  
Brought up ordering food, right, and having grocery delivery and some of those things. And, man, I love that I did, I talked with Gosh, it's been forever, I think it was like episode 10 or something like that, on going to school and finishing your degree while your kids are little. And I was talking to a lady who wound up getting her doctorate. But when she got married, she only had her associate's. But one of the things that they did was when her daughter turned 10, which you may think, Oh, that's so young, but that kids are so much more capable than we give them credit for. And so her 10 year old daughter started planning out meals, and what groceries do we need and going online and ordering the food, and mom would just come and pick it up and they had what they needed great. If they didn't, well, we'll have to make some adjustments or whatever. But this little girl then who's now a freshman in college, became very independent and confident. And so what are some of the things like I really believe in kids having a job and helping with the chaos that way? How do you get kids to do that? Do you help your families with that?

Laura Hernandez  14:12  
Yes, I do. And I'm a big believer, and you

DJ Stutz  14:16  
better be with kids.

Laura Hernandez  14:18  
Yeah, and just having a team mentality and home. And I think that one of the joys of having so many kids is I'm very quick to realize I can't do it at all. Like it's a it's a blessing. And I think a lot of if I were just have two or three or maybe even four, I would think that I could do it all. I could do everything. And I feel like that's not good for Mama's and it's not good for the family either. Something beautiful happens when we work together as a team and my mom says, Hey, guys, I need your help. I can't do it all. We've got a lot going on today. You're all living here. You're all making a mess. You're all eating. How are we going to all pitch in and what are we going to do and so we I have a very shocking, very systematized way of delegating a lot of these things on a daily basis. And so kids have their morning responsibilities, which are a lot of just hygiene, getting out the door kind of things. And then in the evening, everybody has a job to get help get ready for dinner. Everybody has a kind of a cleanup job, either area to clean up or an activity to clean up like Legos, and then getting ready for the next day. So they're responsible for all of those things. And we have a set timer on our Alexa and on my phone. So that way we don't forget, because it's mainly for me, like, if we're just going to be honest about it, I will often forget to feed people, like it'll be six o'clock. And I'm like, why is Gosh, what? Oh, my gosh, I haven't fed everybody yet. Like, that's why they're so angry. And that's what's going on here. Why everybody's so finicky right now. And I know that sounds kind of ridiculous. But I feel like we just kind of get wrapped up in the day and then look up and you're like, Oh, my goodness, it's time for bed. And I haven't met anybody yet. And so setting those alarms and timers on your phone, on your watch on whatever just kind of helps you stay on track with your evening. And so that's one of the things that we do in our house. And with regards to giving kids responsibilities, I think that holding them to that standard of, hey, this is what's expected of you. And not only do I want you to put the dishes in the dishwasher, but I want you to rinse out the same and I want you to get the food off the lake. So teaching them how to do it in a way that is right in that they can do it with excellence, I think is really, really important.

DJ Stutz  16:33  
Yeah, you know, it's funny, because I, one of my memories, I was five years old. And I remember my mom taking me in and showing me step by step, how to clean the bathtub. That's just a big memory for some reason in my head. And back then it was the powdered comet, you'd use. And she showed me how I remember her, vividly, you run the water and you get water around the tub, because the comments not gonna stick if it's not wet. And just all those very step by step things. That's something that's a vivid memory of mine with my mom. And I think that you bring up such a great point, in that, you don't just tell them put the dishes in the dishwasher, but you're talking to them about you have to rinse the sink, you have to you have all these steps that you've got to do. And being there and how supporting them. As they're learning that process that can take some extra time. Certainly, I could do it much faster than if I've got to show this five or six year old how to do it. But in the long run, that's an investment. As much as putting money in the bank, that is an investment of time, correct?

Laura Hernandez  18:00  
Absolutely. Like you don't have to have your five year old, loading the dishes and rinsing them, but giving them some responsibility. So depending on your child's maturity, so we have right seminar home of special needs. And so our nine year old functions more like a four year old, and so we cater their jobs according to their abilities, right. And just them having that routine of um, showing up and being a team player, I think is it's just so vital, and them knowing that they belong here that we need them here. And also knowing how to function in that environment. So when they go off to work, when they go off to college, when whatever happens in their little life that they they know how to show up and be a team player. And they know how to do their job excellence, and that everyone else is relying on them.

DJ Stutz  18:50  
I think that is such a big piece of succeeding as an adult, one of the things is being dependable, right. And if you're not a dependable person, as an adult, you're going to struggle with jobs, with relationships with friendships with whatever. And so teaching them that we need you to do this, you are an important part of this whole machine called our family. And you may feel like you're just a small thing. But that small thing can be mean how big is a chip in a car, right? It's very small. But without that chip, it's not working right? And so we can help our kids learn that what I do is important to other people. So, you know, the oldest of seven, my mom had her systems down too. And I remember on the other side of the refrigerator, she had it all lined up that when we got up in the morning, especially on Saturdays, Saturdays was a chore day. And we had I think three or four chores hers, she had these envelopes, she'd cut it in half, she made this whole chart thing. And then she had these tongue depressors, with jobs with chores. And you'd wake up in the morning, go find your net, you know your name there, mine was always on top, I was the oldest. And there would be four chores in my inbox. And when I was done, I could move that to the outbox, which was just another envelope cut in half. And once they were all in the outbox, and I was done, I was free to go play and do what I wanted to do. And so and it wasn't always the same chore, depending on what needed to be done. And sometimes I'd have a sibling I had to work with, sometimes it was a chore I would do on my own. But she had that system down cold. And we got to where you know, by 10 o'clock, we're out of the house, riding our bikes and terrorizing the neighborhood. But some of those kind of physical things, a job chart, the envelopes or pictures with Velcro, whatever, can be very helpful. So I'm curious about maybe what are some of the things you do with your family?

Laura Hernandez  21:14  
Yeah, I laughed, because I, we also have popsicle sticks with jobs on them. But there are, they're kind of like our consequence sticks. So if a kid has a responsibility they're supposed to do and they didn't do it, we have a chore chart for each kiddo with very clear expectations for what they're to do that day. And I mean, these aren't just in case, there's listeners out there who are I often have a read or get on me for critiques from people. And so I hear things like, pick up the towels off the bathroom floor. They're not like scrub down the shower every morning. So we're not doing a ton of physical labor here every day. Right? Right. Just need to say that. So if they if I go in there, and Charlie's tells on the floor, and I've he knows he's supposed to pick it up. And I've already asked him if he's done his jobs. And he said, Yes, I did. And I'm like, okay, and then I go in there and it's not done, then I'm like, you know, you need to come do your job. And then you're also going to do another job. And that's where we have our popsicle sticks, right? Where he has to go grab, grab a stick. I love that your mom did that. I think yeah, she has to really a woman.

DJ Stutz  22:19  
Love that. Brilliant,

Laura Hernandez  22:21  
brilliant. And I love I mean, that probably took you guys at most like an hour to do. And I would say probably not even that like maybe 30 minutes to do your four jobs, right? But how much did that bless your mama and freed her up to be able to just be a great mom and show up for you guys. And it doesn't have to be a lot that they help with. But I think just even the act of them helping of your kiddos helping is so big.

DJ Stutz  22:51  
Well, and as we're talking about calm among the chaos, isn't it? At least for me, when my kids actually kicked in, did what they were supposed to do, got their little job done, whatever. It may not have been a huge job. But it made a difference to me mentally to see my kids kicking in and helping and doing what they were supposed to do. And so like I say, there's some work to be done front loading, all of that, letting them know, I'm really serious. This is what we're doing. And you don't need to scream and yell or be mean. But you need to be firm. And once they understand that, and they actually then buy into the system. That's a huge self care thing. I gotta say.

Laura Hernandez  23:43  
Yeah, delegating to others is hands down one of the biggest self care things that we could we could do for ourselves.

DJ Stutz  23:49  
Yeah. You know, another thing. My mom loved to cook loved to cook so much, so she never really made me help. I'm not a good cook. But she didn't like to clean up after. And so that was our job. And so for most of it when I was 10 is when the twins were born, and they were numbers five and six. And then it wasn't another seven years before the youngest was born. So mostly it was the six of us. And I remember, we were just in charge of dishes and that was not part of our tongue depressor job. That was just every day that was just part of life. That's your rent. That's part of your payment for living in this house, is you do the dishes after dinner. And we got going to we're very competitive group but we started setting the timer and seeing how fast we could get it done and still pass mom's inspection. With six of us it was easy to have. This is your job. This is your job. This is your you know, and so we when we all did our own thing, it wasn't the same thing. Not all of us were rinsing not all of us were loading the dishwasher Not all of us were sweeping or wiping the table. But we knew the jobs that had to be done. They were divided up. And we had it down to where we could get it done in under five minutes, with the six of us working together and having it down. And that was our big competition, we'd set the timer. And every time we could be, you know, by one second, if we could beat it by one second, you know, we're like, victory. Yeah, it was a lot of fun. And I'm sure it was very noisy. It was very, it wasn't a quiet process. But it was it, then it became actually fun for us to do as well.

Laura Hernandez  25:39  
Because that sounds like such a sweet memory that you have with your, with your siblings, like Dan loves that so much.

DJ Stutz  25:46  
Yeah, yeah, it yeah, a lot of good memories. And a lot of you know, there's the fighting and, man, we were fisticuffs, you know, sometimes in heaven help us if my mom left. And I was babysitting, because my brother and I were always in a power struggle, you know, and, and those kinds of things happen to so it's not like we were this perfect family, we were far from it. But there's the seven of us are all still close to this day. And now, the youngest of us is going to be a grandpa in May. So we'll all be in the grandparent group. And yet, you know, here we are talking about getting together this summer. With everybody. Again, we just did it two years ago. So about every other year, we get it, grab as many of us as we can. And we usually hit it, there's about 75 to 80 of us that'll get together for a week. And we just have a blast. And so that closeness, I guess the point I'm trying to make is that that closeness that came from the arguing and the negotiating, and then the teaming up to do things like the dishes or whatever, all of that has fed into a lifelong relationship where all seven of us still love each other. And, and we get along and doubt we've had differences, but we're not going to let those get in the way of family.

Laura Hernandez  27:15  
I love that. That's really encouraging to hear.

DJ Stutz  27:18  
You'll love it, you'll have it, don't worry. But I think to having those systems and finding ways to make that a team. You know, we talked about that team mentality in our family is I really, I believe that was key for the success of my family, you know, siblings and stuff. And my own kids, all five of them. I mean, they, they're always looking for ways to get together, they're in five different states. Yet, like last summer, we were there all together for a week up at a lake and enjoying one another's company. And we're already talking about once the next time we're all going to be together. So I think that it is that team thing. And there are disagreements within the team. Any team look at baseball, basketball, football, whatever, that there are, there are disagreements. But when you come together, and you really work together and see the value of each other, those benefits last a lifetime. Amen. Amen. Yes, I want to run us through maybe a little bit, give us an idea of how a family of 10 starts out their day.

Laura Hernandez  28:30  
I start out the day before anybody wakes up, I try to be up. And every morning, it's not perfect, because some mornings excellent press the snooze button. And it doesn't happen. But the ideal is that I get up 3045 minutes before everybody else and I'm able to have coffee and read for a little bit and just be in the quiet just helps me welcome the day a little better. Which in turn helps me help my people welcome the day a little better. And so we start out with that and then get everybody up. And it's a pretty in about 15 minutes per set. Everybody can start school differently in different times and whatever. So they have about 15 minutes to get ready, get dressed and eat breakfast and so wake up one set, and then they're out the door and then I wake up the next set and they're out the door. So it's a lot of going after the quiet. But then we've been homeschooling for forever. And our three specialties were in public school. And this year, I put all of my people minus the two oldest and the youngest in public school and so everybody has gone during the day now and it's kind of a magical thing. Yeah. It goes back to being quiet.

DJ Stutz  29:51  
Yeah. Do you think because I think when families are when, when moms and dads are in the midst of all the toddlers, right? That it's easy to get flustered and feel like this has never happened. But to remember that they're only going to be two, for this long, they're only they're going to start walking, you know, parents are all, Oh, if only they'd walk really? Do you really want that? Because every growth, you know, may leave some problems behind, but we'll create a new set. The nice thing about that is it's ever changing. And so it's hard to get bored. I have people who say they're bored raising kids, you know, staying at home, I'm thinking, No, you're not doing it right, then. It's not boring. But so yeah, I think that remembering, like you said that now you're at a point where you have some time during the day, where it's calmer again, I think it's really important to recognize that you get up early to do that self care, that you're taking that responsibility to get up to give yourself some time to have a cup of coffee and sit down, and some peace and quiet, read something or for me, I started out with scriptures every morning. And that kind of gets me centered. But that you are taking the initiative to do that, so that when the kids get up, you've already got a foundation of some self care time before the day even starts.

Laura Hernandez  31:36  
Yeah, and I think that's so important, because nobody is going to take care of you. Like, I've yet to have somebody come to the door and say, why don't you go sit down for a little bit? Let me take over like nobody magically shows up. So you have to do it. And only you know, what's going to fill you up? Right? Right, I have a self care guide that I'm going to share with you that I would love for you to share with your people. And it walks you through exactly how to kind of assess that. And assess what you need on a daily basis on a weekly basis. If there's things that just health wise you need to take care of, and then kind of game planning out how we can make that happen.

DJ Stutz  32:12  
Yeah, I'd love to make that happen for our listeners and make that available for them. That's so key. Because the truth is, what does self care for one may not be self care for the very next one. Yeah, for me, it's like getting up and reading scripture in the morning. And having that peace and quiet and feeling that connection with God, for me is very, very important for other people. Maybe that's not an important thing for them. Or maybe that's something more for the evening. The morning isn't the right time for them. Right? Something for me is I grew up in Los Angeles. And when I went to church, there were a lot of studio people that came to church with us, you know, so a lot of like the dancers in the musicals, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and cherish Sweet Charity, and, you know, those older musicals, but I, I knew, in all of those, I knew people who were dancers for, for that are costume makers, or the lead hairdresser for the show, Charlie's Angels came to our church, and she did all our hair, you know. So for me that kind of makeup and getting ready taking the time to, to put my makeup on, or to go and get my nails done. Those are very important self care for me. Not so for many other people. That's just not where their head is. And that's fine. But what is self care to you take the time to really identify it. And I think it's really important to have sprinkles of that throughout the day to not just I'm doing this. And that's it, but to have little things that can happen throughout the day that will enrich you.

Laura Hernandez  34:00  
Absolutely, yeah.

DJ Stutz  34:01  
Yeah. And so how do you guys with with 10? Kids, I can't imagine cooking that much food.

Laura Hernandez  34:09  
What's really not. I don't feel like it's that hard. me because I've been doing it for a while. But we use the thing that I highly recommend. I'm not paid by these people at all, but I have just become obsessed with it. It's an app called e mails. e m e a l s. And it's changed my life. I love it with all of my heart like to have a really great system for meal planning. And I swore by it. And then I found this and oh my goodness, it gives you seven different options for meals and you can pick the ones you want for the week. And if you don't like whatever they have, you can go to the next week or whatever. You can search their database. But then after you pick those meals, it automatically adds all those ingredients to your Walmart list. And then you check out and the groceries are delivered. And we have guys use the 30 Minute Meals as they are the ones that I pick off the emails. And oh my goodness, I just I, I cannot say enough about it, your life will be changed for him for

DJ Stutz  35:16  
Oh my gosh. So does this is a an app that costs something.

Laura Hernandez  35:21  
It's like $70 a year or something like that. Oh, really? But it's very.

DJ Stutz  35:26  
Yeah, yeah, that's pretty reasonable. And then to have them delivered to that's way cool. And I don't care if you have one kid, if you're working, and you've got a child, and you're trying to take a class or whatever, I mean, we fill our lives, no matter how many kids we have. And so having that as an option is totally amazing.

Laura Hernandez  35:54  
Yeah, it really is. And it pairs with any online shopping. So like, what are the other ones called shipped or whatever grocery store your local grocery store it, it matches up with them. So you can just order groceries through them. It doesn't have to be Walmart, if you are biased against Walmart, for whatever reason.

DJ Stutz  36:11  
Well, or if you're like me, and you don't have a lot of options, we're out nowhere, Idaho. Walmart's 20 minutes away. So anyway, I also want to think about how important it is for us to connect with our marriage through all of this too, because I really believe that among the greatest gifts that you can give your children is a strong loving example of a marriage that works. And so when you've got all of this stuff going on, and 10 kids, I mean, what does date night look like for you?

Laura Hernandez  36:58  
Yeah, every every week we have it scheduled and on the books. And that way it happens because we are in wholehearted greenness that, yes, that is the most important thing. And there's been seasons where it's like, I don't want to do like, we're in a fight or like just where I'm just like, ticked at him. Like, I don't want to paint this perfect picture that we have this amazing, amazing marriage that everyone needs to look up to by any stretch of the imagination. And so I know that there are seasons where, yeah, let's just blame it on the men, husbands can be jerks. And, yeah, do things that are not stellar. And you may feel very strongly that you don't want to date them. But I think that that practice is so important to keep up with, and having those hard conversations in there and really pushing towards oneness, even if you don't feel like it. Because I mean, that's the most important thing. And I think that, especially having special needs kiddos, I think that the divorce rate is like 80%. And I see why. Because there's it's just there's so much stress all the time. And there's so much that you're just, you're done. And so one more thing just feels like you need to blame somebody and it feels like the spouse is a good one to blame. So I

I know the hardness of marriage. And at the same time, I'm like, that's the most important thing.

DJ Stutz  38:18  
Yeah, for sure. And too, it's good for the kids to see that. Yeah, mom and dad are mad at each other. And yet they're working it out. Like they work it out, they can be mad. Because a lot of times I think kids can feel like, Oh, you're mad at me, that means you don't love me, or they grow up and get into a relationship of their own. And because there's an argument, they think up, that's the end of it. We're done, we argued. And so this is a great example to set. And then for them to see you too. Going off and making that time a priority is good for them to see. as well. You're setting an example. You're mentoring them in how to have a strong relationship. And I know that my mom and dad bless their hearts. They were just too different from each other. And they they remain married. But it was rough go. So my mom was raised by lumberjacks, literally. And so that's like one step up from wolves. And then my dad his dad was a college professor. His mom was an English teacher. They were Country Club people very hoity toity social. And so well, man when two worlds collide. This Yeah. Oh, yeah. This was like an alien invasion. And so they they did struggle. They did struggle, but I know that there were times that they would go off for a walk. They'd be gone for over an hour, just walking, and sometimes talking and sometimes, not just walk I'm being by each other. And I think a date night we think Date Night has it you can do a free date night, or a low cost date night, I remember when our kids were young, and we had almost no money. And my mother in law, my mom didn't live by us. But my mother in law would watch the kids for a little bit. And there was a store downtown in a mall. It's not there anymore. But down in the basement, they have like this homemade bread. And they would slice like, oh, whoa, they would only slice into maybe five pieces. So they were thick pieces. And it was warm, and they would put butter and honey on it. And so we would just go and walk around, see the lights walk around the mall, go get our bread. And that was our date night. And I think the bread was 50 cents total, you know, because world, but it was it was just so important for us, you know, to be able to have that time that we're walking together. So

Laura Hernandez  41:02  
yeah, it doesn't have to be fancy. And it can be just that guarded off time. It's like, Hey, we're gonna go sit outside by the fire pit and kids are already in bed. I think it's just more about the creating that space in our schedule, and less about the money or the babysit or whatever. We can get really creative when it comes to all of those things. But I think gardening that time is really important.

DJ Stutz  41:25  
Yeah, absolutely. I totally agree. If our listeners want to hear more, me and beat learn more about some systems that can help them find that Calm in the Chaos. Where do they go to find you?

Laura Hernandez  41:37  
Mama on Instagram and Facebook at MAMA systems, Ma Ma, Sy, s, t and s?

DJ Stutz  41:45  
That sounds fantastic. And of course, we're going to have that in our show notes. And so they didn't have a pen and paper ready, they can scroll down. And we're good there. So I always end my episodes with same question. So I'm going to throw it at you. How would you describe a successful parent?

Laura Hernandez  42:08  
When that can easily ask for forgiveness?

DJ Stutz  42:11  
Wow. Yeah, I love that. And that's our show imperfect heroes, right? None of us are gonna get it right. I'm sure even Mary and Joseph had their moments. And so I just don't think there's ever been a perfect parent. And so recognizing that and honoring your children enough to trust them with a request for forgiveness is so key. I love that. You're amazing. Thank you so much for spending this time with us. I really appreciate it. And, man, good luck, you are among the very few that could reach out and do the work that you're doing with these kids with the kids that you've adopted in. Just love them. Like they're, you know, they are your own. Right? I know you might with my daughter. I'm her mom. Right. And she is my own just as much as the others are and but you've really you've doubled, tripled the efforts of most people in this world. And so I just really want to thank you for making the world a little better place because you're here.

Laura Hernandez  43:26  
Thank you. That's very kind.

DJ Stutz  43:27  
Thank you. No, no worries. And perhaps we'll talk again soon. Okay, thank you. If you would like more information on Laura, her business and her social media, all of the information is in the show notes. And we all know that impact that kindness has on society, we've all felt the relief of a simple act of kindness that's occurred in our own lives. And we always mean to do something kind, but life often gets in the way. So let's all do something together. beginning March 13, Little Hearts Academy USA is hosting the 5 Days of Kindness Challenge. And for five days, we will be deliberately setting aside some time for kindness, and get us on the track to make this a part of our everyday lives. When you register, you're going to receive a morning email each day with a challenge, and then some ideas on how to do the challenge. Don't limit it to those ideas though, I would love to hear about the ideas that you come up with. And then each evening at 6pm Mountain Time, there will be a live event on the Facebook challenge page where we will share how things went and you will get a preview of the next day's challenge. And so the link to register is in the show notes. And next week's episode is number 90. I know it's hard to believe, but that also means that Bailey Olson is back and we are talking about the connection between faith and family. So don't miss out. And until next time, let's find joy in parenting!

Transcribed by

Laura HernandezProfile Photo

Laura Hernandez


Laura Hernandez is the owner of Mama Systems and the mother of ten children. In just five years, she and her husband have added six children to their family - three biological and three through adoption. Four of the children attend public school, and they home-school five children. Laura leads a busy life, managing 20+ appointments a week for their four special needs children. Laura is passionate and dedicated to helping women bring more peace to their homes by designing customized systems that help a family run more smoothly... Reducing a mother's daily workload is her specialty!