Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The How

In the piece I wrote for The Sampler, The Mom Who Does it All, I addressed the myth that there is someone who does it all.

Most of the time when I'm asked that, it's in a mock respectful kind of way. Kind of like "Sheesh, how do you do it all?" It's mostly when people either are totally disgusted that I have so many young kids for my age (or any age!) or are sure that I'm clearly insane ;-)

Today for the first time, I was asked by an honest inquirer "How do you do it?" Which took me by surprise.

This person has their third child on the way and is starting to grapple with cultural views of family, Christian cultural views of family, and their own personal walk of faith.

It was followed up quickly by "Do you feel like having so many kids is really hard on you? Because that's the impression everyone gives me."

The gist of the conversation was that there was an honest expectation that my life could be a reflection of what their life would/could look like soon. That being the case, how do I do it?

Which made me pause and wonder.... the people who are interested in having a family maybe a little bigger than average, maybe much bigger than average, might feel like there are unanswered questions to what life with lots of little kids looks like. They may be interested in asking "How is it done? The expectation is that you're either crazy or you'll soon be going crazy with lots of kids."

In any case, a comment from my Monday M.o.M. review also got this particular post in motion, so I'll answer all of them together. So I thought I could open this up for questions.

What is it about life with lots of children that you are wondering about?

Maybe my answers will reassure you. Maybe they will scare you ;-)


Rissa said...

I have questions. :)

1. How do you handle birthdays? Do you give a party for each child every year? Do you switch off? Do you feel that each child "deserves" a party?

Ryan and I have been discussing this lately. We're doing a little party for Jack this year but we've actually talked about only giving a party on significant years (1, 10, 13, 16, 18? I don't know...still thinking). I know that as we have more children, this will be something we'd like to have set in place. I'd love to know how you do it.

2. Do you have family devotions (or the like) together? How does it work with young children?

3. Do you feel more frazzled the more children you have? You always seem so even-keeled to me. I really admire that. Do you ever wake up and think, "How am I going to do this today?" and if so, how do you push through it anyway?

4. Do you ever consciously feel that you need to give more attention or love to any one child, just to make sure it's all balanced, or does it seem to balance itself? I always wonder if it will be difficult to manage each child's specific emotional needs. And, along the same lines, do your children ever get jealous of each other because one seems to be receiving more attention than another?

I have many questions but those come to mind first. Hopefully they don't seem too loaded or personal! I don't have many examples of large families out here, so I love to hear from others about theirs. It's fun that you're doing this!

ryleeandnoahsmom said...

How do you choose to handle people's questions about the size of your family? Do you simply say, "we love kids!" or have a humorous retort, etc?

Do you feel like for the most part, there is enough of you to go around. Basically, do you feel your kids get enough individual attention?

When its time to grocery shop or run errands, do you try to schedule it for a time when your husband can either help or keep some home with him, or do you just go for it? (When I run to the store during the day M-F, I will have my own 3, my sister's 2, and often a Fresh Air child with me, if its during the summer. I'm used to the looks and comments by now, but I have to be honest and say that at times it can be stressful, and I'm not one to get easily stressed.)

I think that is all for now, but I'm sure I'll think of more! Thanks in advance, as I love hearing about big families!

Jen : )

David said...

I talked to my wife about this last night, and she said that she wonders how you structure a day with so many kids. How are you able to do what you need to, what you want to, and spend adequate attention with the kids as well?

I also like the other questions asked. Especially Rissa's number three.

Marisa said...

I am a mom of a three year old and a 20 mo old. We have always dreamed of having a big family, but both of our kids have some minor medical issues that just seem to be very time consuming. I'm afraid that as we add more children we will not be able to offer quality time with them. I feel like now I even struggle to balance the "to do" list with what is truly important. Does it get easier to "die to self"? How do you find a good balance without feeling like you are losing who you are apart from being a mom?