People call or send emails weekly, asking questions about raising kids and I have to say, having 4 does NOT make me an expert, rather a person who’s probably failed many more times than not, doing the wrong thing, more than the average person. So hey, if you can learn from my mistakes, that’s even better.
I’ve had more opportunities to fail. Don’t you feel better ALREADY? And probably apologized way more times than you’ll ever have to, and am always reminding myself that Practice makes Progress. It’s called Life – and we’re on this crazy journey together.
1) What’s it like to have 4 kids?
The same as having 2 or 3, it’s just exponential with each child. I have friends who have many more than me, and some with learning disabilities, so I, by no means, have it as hard or feel as frustrated as some moms who really have to kick it in gear when they don’t always feel like it. To you, I salute your determination.
For us, it’s Crazy and Loud and everyone’s always hungry . . . there’s a ton of laundry. But I don’t think about it too often. Mostly because there’s no time. I spend my days repeating myself and very seldom do I finish a complete sentence, thought or phrase without interruption. Whether you have 2, 4, 6 or 8, you still have to make dinner, crank up the washer and drive kids around, so – GREAT JOB MOMS! You deserve to make your own treasure box full of goodies. (www.dancepartyforone.blogspot.com)
2) Friends ask: Was it hard having 4 kids?
No. The answer is an Epidural. That seemed like the easy part, until my epidural didn’t work once, for about 30 minutes, and I heard something in the room that sounded like a wolf howling. I know, it scared me too. But when the epidural works, it’s like the Disney Slogan: It’s a Magical Day!
3) What sort of responsibilities do you give your kids?
Around our house, if 6 people make one mess, it’s gridlock, so everyone is responsible for cleaning up and putting back what they take out. The kids (no matter the age) help in some capacity with the dishes, the laundry, cleaning their room and feeding the dog. OK, Max gets jibbed some days, but for the most part, he’s fed daily. We’re a team – and that means everyone has a role to play for the success of our family. It’s all for One and One for All.
4) How do you instill a sense of community in your children’s lives?
We can easily become selfish and live in a world that is “ALL ABOUT ME” It’s important that the kids see it as “WE” not Me. We’re a community and have to help one another. I show them pictures of the kids we sponsor in Africa and have them give a percentage of the money they earn through household responsibilities, to purchase items to give as gifts through Samaritan’s Purse. They get so excited to use their own money to purchase fun items for other children.
5) How do you discipline your kids?
Every child is different. But this is what typically works for us: If the kids get into big fights and the one at fault is unwilling to apologize, I will randomly allow the offended party to decide the punishment. i.e. the offender goes to bed 15 minutes earlier than everyone else. That usually does the trick. Next time, they’ll treat others as they would like to be treated.
If they breach a virtue (i.e. lie, cheat, steal) or disrespect mom, (rolling of the eyes/ slamming the door) it’s immediate corporal punishment. They already know the rules, so they should consider that, their fair warning.
Carelessness, not listening . . . like throwing balls in the house and breaking things, equates to more chores beyond their regular day to day responsibilities, or taking away games, television, DS. When we take away one of the big 3, they tend to “turn their ears on” quicker.
6) How do you stop your kids from waking up at 5:30am on the weekends?
There are no cartoons before 8:30am and each child has an electronic clock in his/her room. They have to sleep or play in their room until they see 8 3 0. Otherwise, the first task of the day is a chore, such as folding towels or cleaning the playroom. This usually does the trick and we all get to sleep-in on the weekends.
7) How do you do everything?
Who says I do. Between sports, homework, chores, music lessons and life in general, we’ve eaten cereal for dinner on occasion. 85% of the time, the kids take healthy lunches to school. The other 15%, they eat in the cafeteria. There comes a time when “the list” becomes too long, the plates need extra spinning and you have to let go of something. Give yourself permission to Surrender.
There’s no guideline that says we have to raise our kids a certain way. Make it fun, adventurous, outside the box. Eat dinner at the park, have the kids make their own lunch for a change. No one is going to die. You just need a break to recoup, re-strategize and re-define your goals. As I’ve heard it said before: Do your Best and Forget All the Rest.
8) Do you feel guilty doing fun things for yourself?
Absolutely Not! You should feel guilty if you DON’T. As the CEO of my Household, it’s important to take care of me; be a good example of a well-rounded, happy person, engaged in outside events, hobbies, social activities, tennis, date night, spa day, healthy activities that inspire you to be a better mom, wife, sister, daughter and friend.
You want the kids to see that life can be fun after childhood, and if it’s not: you might need to re-access. It’s not just about paying bills, cleaning the house and running kids from here to there. Don’t be a martyr. Life is what you make it: Now get out there and make it FULL, FUN & FABULOUS!