NORTH SALT LAKE — Being a stay-at-home mom is its own full-time job, especially when you get extra kids to raise.
Barbara Drinkall, North Salt Lake’s mother of the year, was pregnant with her fifth and youngest child in 2002 when her mother-in-law’s death brought three nieces into the home as well. The girls, two of whom were teenagers, nearly doubled Drinkhall’s already large family.
“It was a huge adjustment for all of us,” she said. “It helped that they were family. It wasn’t like they were step-siblings.”
Though Drinkhall’s pregnancy made the process more difficult in some ways, it also helped bond the newly grown family.
“One of the things that brought us together was our youngest daughter,” she said. “Everyone can be excited about a new baby.”
Still, there were plenty of practical adjustments to make. Though she had plenty of experience juggling four kids, getting eight kids everywhere they need to go proved to be much more complicated.
“When we walked in public, everyone had a buddy,” she said “My husband walked in front because he has a sense of direction, and I always walked in back to make sure everyone stayed together.”
There were other challenges as well. Drinkhall said the girls came from an unhealthy home, which coupled with the loss of their parents took a toll on all three of them.
“The three girls took a lot of my time,” she said. “I’m surprised my own children still liked me.”
Once the youngest niece graduated high school, however, she was able to switch her focus back to her children. Her two oldest, Rebekah and Michael, are set to leave for missions soon, while younger sisters Elizabeth and Sarah are excelling at track.
“It’s so exciting, because I’m not graceful at all,” said Drinkall with a laugh.
The baby that brought the family together, Rachel, is in a hurry to grow up.
“She’s 11, but she wishes she was 12,” said her mom.
Drinkhall, on the other hand, is happy to let time go at whatever speed it wants. No matter what motherhood throws at you, she said that taking a deep breath and being patient will help things work out.
“Just give it time,” she said. “You can teach them everything and hope for the best, but once they leave the house they’re going to do what they want.
“If you just love them and give it time, it works out.”