Several years ago my friend and I joined an online group called “Crappy Advice.” The premise was , obviously, that the group would give you tongue in cheek advice to your posted problems. I proceeded to complain about some issues I was having with the PTA I was currently involved with at the time. The response I received began with, “First of all, you have too many children, get rid of a few.”
Yeah. I laughed. A lot. And now, whenever I feel overwhelmed all I have to say is, “First of all…” and my friend gets it! I have five children. All mine. All delivered naturally with virtually no medication (I’ll save the birth stories for another post, ugh!). All with the same father, to whom I am still married, happily. (20 years last January—ThankYouVeryMuch!)
My family is my life. They are the reason I was fired from my last “job.” They are also the reason I continually keep trying to bring more income into our home. It seems, this economy NotHelping!, there is never enough. For the medication, the dental work—including orthodontics, the glasses and contacts, the haircuts, the clothes, the shoes, the backpacks… And now with a driver in the house (and another potential driver) the car insurance and the need for another vehicle. Not to mention the food for my bottomless-pit boys! My girls are fine eaters themselves, as well as I am; and Dad. Well, Dad is in a class by himself when it comes to eating! The expenses are defeating.
Besides the expenses are the emotional and mental task it is to raise kids. I thought raising little kids was tough, which is, in a different way. Also, if you have a special-needs child, as we do, the challenge can be massive. Today is a good day. It’s still summer break for us and everyone is still asleep (except for DS#1 who is at Football practice—hello two-a-days!). Every day is an adventure!
The pressure to be a good parent is enormous. My idea of good parenting is having a good relationship with my children so that they know no matter what I love them. I also believe in a bit of a loose leash. I try to trust them until they break that trust. Truth be told I am sure that some think I’m not a good parent but fortunately I only worry about what I think (and God, but that’s another post as well). I have been lucky in that my husband and I generally agree on discipline and expectation. There are few differences but for the most part we are united. That helps.
It is strange to me to reflect on our family when the kids were all little, in elementary school or even before and see the progression in parenting needs and style. It is very different to have four teens at home than it was to have four preschoolers. I am glad I enjoyed my children when they were little and glad I can enjoy them now. With all the challenges and trials I would not get rid of any, not even a few.