Monday, March 30, 2015

How do you do it? Parenting multiple kids

Before this blog existed I was asked to write a guest post about raising older kiddos.  That blog is now gone so I figured I would resurrect the post from cyber-space, make it a little better, and then share it with you all.  

I have 4 kids who range in age from my ‘baby’ girl who is 38 months  – to my oldest son who is 12.  Sandwiched in the middle is a 6 year old daughter and 9 year-old son.   Two boys followed by two girls - all about 3 years apart. 

When asked to submit a post on what it was like to raise multiple kids my first thought was – it is EXHAUSTING.  My second thought was – it is HARD.  If I had a third though I am sure it would have been that it was wonderful... but generally it is a minor miracle for me to complete one thought let alone two.  I am not sure I got the that third thought until I sat down to write this.  

Parenting, when done right, is an exhausting experience – physically, spiritually, and emotionally exhausting. 
I have had thousands of dollars in tests done last year to make sure I was not ‘sick’ because I am tired ALL THE TIME.  No, nothing is wrong with me. I am just a mom who takes mothering seriously.  And that is exhausting.

Younger kids are physically draining.  My little one is a little whirlwind.  It is developmentally appropriate.  That is what she is supposed to be now.  She goes from one mess to another and when we stop to clean up she is more interested in pulling all the wipes out of the container than wiping up the messes, leaving us with one more mess to clean up.  She is tactile, she is impulsive, she is energetic. 

My eldest on the other hand requires very little physical assistance.  In fact, on the continuum he is a plus when it comes to help…  He can cook a little, is capable of washing his own clothes, doing his chores, and helping with his siblings.  In some ways he is like a little adult.  In other ways not so much.  

He is mentally exhausting.  He is constantly questioning, negotiating, and pushing the limits. With us and with his siblings.  Older kids recognize all the areas that they are able to be like adults, and want the perks too… but they are 12, not 30.   Their brains aren't fully developed.  They want to stay up late, negotiate for more time with friends, talk about things in pop culture, ease-drop on grow up conversations, inquire about how we parents spend out time...  But they are still children and need constant reminding of the tasks and rules.   I found myself yelling in frustration one day “you are acting like children!”.  

I was talking to my children.  Yes.  They are children.  That is how they act. 

But it can be easy to forget that they are just little kids, because they are so quickly growing into great people.   Each age and stage has gotten better with my kids.  And my oldest, well he is so much fun to be around too because he is a great kid and I can see he is going to be a wonderful man some day soon. 

In a family, that means if you really want to get to know your kids you have to separate them and get good 1:1 time every once in a while.  That is how you get to know them as individuals and not as part of the pack.  And that is where I am happiest – when I am with any ONE of my kids.  Alone,  I can see the beauty in each of them so clearly.  Their unique, individual gifts and talents.

That said, they are who they are because of the benefit of this family in which we are raising them. They are practicing the virtues of the Holy Spirit everyday. They are challenged everyday, not only by me, but by one another, to be virtuous and fair.

Last night driving home from a soccer game JR and Anthony were talking about a video game.  Then I hear JR say "I really don't like it when you say the stuff I am doing is easy.  It makes me feel bad.  You may have already done it but I am doing it now".  And my heart soared.  Not because he felt bad, but because at age 9 he is learning how to express himself and his feelings.   Anthony gave a very appropriate response and it was what I call a Kingdom Building experience.  Right there in the back of the car.  They learned just a little better, how to interact with one another and with people in general.

This is really what parenting multiple kids is about.  Yes, it is exhausting, but I am not alone in the adventure.  We have each other all along this journey of life.  We have each other to love, to cherish our special 1:1 time, and to grow daily through our interactions with one another.   That is what it is all about.

Special thanks to WhoaNellie Photography for the beautiful beach photos shot on location in Oxnard, CA.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...