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Thursday, February 9, 2012


I recently read a blog from a mother of nine kids talking to mothers of one child. She basically said that she believes it's easier to have nine kids than it was to just have one when she was learning and adjusting to motherhood. I read her post agreeing that learning to be a mom is tough work. However, I shook my head and thought, "Are you nuts?!? Nine easier than one?!!!"

My introduction to motherhood was wonderful, as I'm sure any mother would agree. I had a beautiful baby boy ... who I only got to spend six weeks with full-time. That's right, only six weeks. I was new enough at my company that the Family and Medical Leave Act didn't apply to me, and we had unexpected payments to family the week before our baby was due -- so finances and having to return to work so soon were a lot more stressful to me than was becoming a mother. I wasn't a stressed-out mom who worried about doing everything "right." I figured if I loved my baby and took care of him, I didn't have to worry about which diapers to use, how to stimulate his mind enough, etc. Not that motherhood was an easy task by any  means, but working full time as a mother was what made it hard for me. I've heard non-working moms have very long days where they try everything they can to fill them in anticipation of their husbands returning home. So, I suppose no matter which way you do it, it's probably a hard adjustment.

Then I had my second little guys 20 months later. He was a joy, and I was blessed to be able to stay home full time with them at this point. However, this was also when my husband began a terrible journey through depression, triggered by his Dad's sudden decline in health and eventual death. Two was hard for me, but I also know it was partially because I was doing it mostly alone at this point. I remember asking a lady in my ward with six kids how she did it. She said that after her first three (who she adopted very quickly) that there is a big break before they added the next three. For some reason I liked hearing this from a woman who seemed so capable.

Number three came in a different way for us when Becca moved in with us at age 10. She definitely eased the constant needs of the little boys, because she loved to play with them. We did have to deal with emotional issues and teach basic skills like brushing teeth, shampooing hair, etc. However, that was still much easier than having a newborn, so three (which I hear is the breaker for many) wasn't too bad for me.

Enter Shayla as number four, and life was grand. Becca was 12, Tyler was 5, and Zachary was 3. I decided three years apart between kids was perfect! Shayla coming to our family was like a joy being added, not any additional responsibility or work. I don't even know how to describe that it truly was easier at that point than it ever had been -- I had a mentally healthy husband and three kids who loved to help out with the new baby. In fact, there were days, maybe even weeks, where we had no temper tantrums.

I figured it would be much the same when Austin joined our home four years later. Boy was I wrong! He has been the most mild, laid-back, easiest baby on the planet. I tell people if all the babies were like Austin then people would have 20. :) However, having five has been so difficult! It is just a lot of kids who need you, and often at the same time. It seems I'm always running around to the latest play, program, dentist appointment, etc. and when I'm home I'm cleaning, doing laundry, attending to current needs (including those of a very talkative teen), etc. I realize there is just a LOT to do with five children.

I think I most realized this during the summer when my older boys (who are pretty self-sufficient, or so I thought) went to spend a few days with my brother and sister-in-law. I was sitting here one day thinking, "Why is it so nice right now? Oh yeah, it's because three is easier than five! Duh!"

I know that each mother has her own unique set of circumstances that might make any number more or less difficult. (Like, for example, I have two callings right now -- scouts and RS presidency -- so maybe that's why five is overwhelming?) Regardless, though, no matter how many kids you have and how much work it is, it is ALWAYS worth it ... even if you feel like your kids are throwing tomatoes at you, figuratively speaking of course. :)

So, to the mom of one, or two, or three, or even four children: Don't judge me when I sometimes lose paperwork. Or when my daughter's hair isn't always combed. Or when my house is a mess, which is always. Or when I sometimes choose to let the kids hand in their homework late. Or when I don't spend 20 minutes with each child memorizing times-tables. Or when, heaven forbid, we eat easy-to-make-but-not-so-healthy casseroles. I just don't have time to do it all. What I do have is time to love my kids in the best way I know how -- and when that doesn't include a bath everyday, so be it.

I figure I'll clean the house, eat perfectly healthy and be organized to a fault when the kids move out. Unless I have grandkids, of course, in which case I might never get to it. :)

1 comment:

the Rowleys said...

Love it! Thanks for the words on motherhood. It was good to hear your story.