For those that like to dream, come in. For those that like to laugh, come in. For those that like to cry and be inspired...please come in. Our family is like any other, but is extraordinary in it's own right. Come and join us at our campfire and laugh a little, cry a little and leave us, but please come back. We love company...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Brand new mom...old hat mom...

I have 9 kids. This did not happen all in one day, like John and Kate plus 8, or the octomom...it happened over the space of 17 years. To be honest, I prefer it that way. I am going to spend a lot more years at home this way...but at least I can have one kiddo at a time. I think it's easier to bond one at a time. Just my opinion.

Well...when I first became a parent I had no idea what I was doing. I mean, does anyone really know how to be a parent when they are just starting out? I doubt it. Even if you worked with kids your whole life, it still does not adequately prepare you for parenthood. It just doesn't. Kids throw us all for a loop. They don't sleep when they should be, they do sleep when you don't want them to. They cry for everything, complain about lots of things and want to do everything themselves. Parenting is hard! Yes...dad...I do recognize that I must have been a pain in the butt...and probably still am.

But I will say that as the years have gone by I have changed a lot as a parent. When Kenna was born I did everything right (or so I thought). I took her to museums when she was just a baby. Surely she needed that culture and stimulation at a young age. But, as for Skyler...I feel I am doing great if I put toys in front of him while he sits in his chair at the table while I do the dishes. If someone walks by and talks to him while he is there then it's a bonus! When Kenna was a baby I had the house perfectly baby proofed with cupboard locks and outlet covers and all. With Skyler I just have to make sure I have memorized the poison control line and the kids all know "911"!

Now that makes it appear that I have become a bad parent. On the contrary I am a much better parent now than I was then. I am sure that a lot of McKenna, Megan and maybe even Isaac's anxiety can be traced back to me. When they were little I was hyper anal about cleaning the house. I cleaned up after the kids every minute of the day and I never liked toys just laying around. I religiously took them to play groups, had them on rigid schedules and wiped their faces after every bite of their meals (that last one was not a joke...ugh!).

Now, toys can lay around and they can come back to playing with something they left out the night before. Still in the fighting stance in which they left them. Now they can be a mess and love it, while mom says we can just take a bath at the end of the day and wash it all away. Until then just have fun. Now I can sit in a chair and watch them play in a pool until they pass out or their lips are purple from the cold instead of the "it's nap time...I don't care if you are still having fun!"

I am more relaxed. I am better at choosing my battles. I am better at letting the kids just be kids. I am better at not making schedules and just making fun. The house can be a mess, the day can be long, but time with my kids, time that they can be themselves is much more appreciated now than it was back then. I feel bad sometimes thinking of how anal I was back then. I feel bad that I wasn't very good at spontaneity, and that I felt the need to control every moment of their day.

I am a better mom now, even though to some it would appear the opposite. When you have been a parent for 17 years you might find that you feel the same way too. I can only imagine the things my parents let slip now that they have been parents for 45 years. Could they possibly have imagined what they have learned and what they have come to love after all that time? I can only imagine where I will be in another 20 years. I will say this though...parenting is a learning process from day one. And I don't think you ever stop learning...ever.

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