Sometimes, on the rare occasion regarding my children, I've been told "You're soooo lucky!" I like hearing that phrase although I admit as a mother of five children, including twins; it's not usually folk’s first reaction. Mostly people say things like, "Wow! Five? That's a lot!" or "Oh my!" Sometimes they don't say anything at all. Sometimes their eyeballs fall out of their head or they sort of spit out their drink. I don't go around announcing, "Look at me! I have five kids!” Instead I've noticed my friends or coworkers will use it as a way of introduction, "This is Stephanie, she has five kids!" (witches!)
I guess there are worse things to be known for - octuplets or taking my child to a tanning bed being two of them.
While I do indeed have more than the average number of children I also happen to be pretty stubborn. What that means is when I was thirty two years old with an eight, five, four year old and newborn twins I was determined that while I may be outnumbered, I would never be outwitted.
That's when I became serious about parenting. I read books and attended seminars on the subject. I collected data on all forms of parenting styles and worked out a method of raising kids that neither drove me insane nor broke the bank. A little over the top you say? Perhaps, but the way I saw it was not going to be known as the woman who, in the words of Mother Goose, "has so many children she didn't know what to do".
Five kids were not going to rule me or run me down. I was the parent, the adult, and I knew I had only one shot at doing the mothering thing. I was not going to spend the next eighteen years with my fingers crossed hoping someday they'd leave the nest. Oh no! I was going to work and put in all the effort required to maintain a successful launch.
I need food, exercise, a social life and time to sleep in on the occasion weekend morning. I need coffee, a good book and comfortable shoes. I need all these things to be in tiptop shape. And believe me when I say parenting requires I approach it in my best form.
Secondly, I take care of the kids. I provide healthy meals and limit screen time. I teach them responsibility and make them do chores. I put them to bed early and encourage them to find work. I make sure they, not me, do their homework. I teach them it's more important to be kind than almost anything else. I respect them and demand it in return.
These things are not easy! Nay, I am almost always in full on mom-mode, checking in on them, checking up on them, teaching and correcting any one or all five of my children. I invest almost all of my waking moments to physically and mentally taking care of them. So when someone says "All your kids got a good report card?" or "How do you get your kids to go to bed so early?" and then precludes the statement with "You're sooo lucky!" it really sort of burns me.
We've got no magical blend of DNA here! My kids aren't good/smart/well behaved because I'm lucky! I've spent years investing into them. I've worked at establishing a healthy bedtime routine. I've labored to instill a good work ethic! I've lost sleep - ok, no! I have not lost sleep - who am I kidding? I pass out exhausted in bed at night. I'm too tired to lie awake worrying.
The point is these kids of mine didn't fall out of the stork's blanket all precious. That's the testimony of all the hard work I've put it day after day. I'm not lucky! I've been doing time!
Parenting is without a doubt one of the hardest and most challenging jobs there are out there. Parenting well is darn near life threatening. It will suck every ounce of energy and life out of you if you're not careful. Luck, however, has pretty much nothing to do with it, if you ask me. Luck is for the Irish, shooting stars and four leaf clovers ... not parenting! Why? Because I'm the mom and I said so! That's why!
This article appears as a part of my weekly Practical Parenting series for The Daily Review Atlas also I'm hanging out with the YeahWrite group. I love them! Be sure to check them out!
Help a mother out .... how do you feel about this idea of "You're so lucky?"...
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