I completely believe in supporting moms and not judging others parenting.  I wish that I could just embrace all moms and how they parent and give them air high fives.  In truth, I am a little judgey.  I have my opinions about parenting and sometimes I think that I am doing it right and other times I think that I should have my head examined.

I think that every mom should at least try breastfeeding.  I am not militant about it but I found it to be such an awesome experience and it is so good for the little ones that I think that all moms should give it a shot.  If you don’t even try how will you know?  But I am not going to berate someone for choosing not to breastfeed.  I stopped breastfeeding my kids before they were a year.  Sometimes they were a combo of breast feeding and formula. And they have all turned out okay.

I think that parents should allow kids to make mistakes and learn from them.  Don’t hover.  Don’t try to control every little action.  Don’t try to turn them into little images of you.  They are individuals who deserve to be individuals.  I cringe whenever I hear a parent say, “I was just like that when I was little.”  No, you weren’t.  By the same token, I can clearly see in my kids a mix of both parents but also that they are their own little terrible people.  So, yes, they act just like dad but they also do things that set them apart from him.  Like putting socks in the laundry basket.

Let them get dirty and grimy.  It not only helps them to acclimate to the germs that cover every surface of everything in life but its fun for them.  Its okay if their face is dirty or their clothes have a spot on them.  It all washes off.  I don’t think that they should be covered in snot and dirt but occasionally, it’s okay if they look like they re-enacted Lord of the Flies.   Just not in public.  There’s a big difference between a neglected child and a child that has been playing outside.  Trust us, we know the difference and it’s not a reflection of your parenting when your kid just ate a dirt sandwich and is proud of it.

Enforced bedtimes.  I know that some parents let their kids stay up as late as they want until they finally fall asleep exhausted.  I know  some parents enforce a bedtime regardless of summer hours or if the child is tired.  It’s a careful balance.  When you have to get up at 5 in the morning to get your kids ready for daycare or school than yes, they need to get some sleep and probably go to bed earlier than most grandparents.   If you are putting your kid to bed at 7 pm regardless if they are tired because you want 4 hours to yourself and don’t want to deal with them anymore, that’s a selfish parent move.  If you are letting your kid stay up until 2 in the morning because they are “night owls” and then they sleep till 11 the next day,  I think you’re being lazy.  Kids need sleep and schedules and parents need alone time.  Find a balance.

Letting kids cry it out.  Kids need to learn how to handle things like not getting their way and not throwing tantrums.  But kids are going to throw fits.  If your child has been crying, and I mean really crying, not the whining fake cry, for over 20 minutes, they are in distress.  Pick them up and try again.  A child left to cry for hours is a child that is being ignored.  This is not raising strong children. This is setting a precedent that they don’t matter.  It is sometimes not worth engaging a kid who is having a meltdown.  Let the meltdown happen.  It’s frustrating and embarrassing and makes you feel like a terrible parent but sometimes a kid has to let it out.  You know your child and know when it’s time to step in and when it’s time to let it go.

Disciplining your child.  This is such a touchy subject.   Time outs work for some kids, not so much for others.  Disciplining your child is not abusing them.  A child needs boundaries and those boundaries have to be enforced.  If another parent, or grandparent, or complete stranger is telling you that how you handle your discipline is wrong, especially in front of the child,  tell them to fuck off, politely but firmly .  This is your child and you are the parent.  If they really have a concern they will pull you aside and talk to you about it, not berate you or try to enforce their ideas on you.  If you are abusing your child, then you deserve to be told to fuck off and abused yourself. (I am not promoting violence.  Kids should be protected and if you are not protecting your child than you are not deserving to be called a parent.)  Giving a child a swat on the butt because they have run out in the parking lot and almost got hit by a car is appropriate.  Explaining to the child why they were punished is also necessary or the punishment makes no sense and is just a waste of time.  Smacking your child in the face because they told you no is not appropriate.   Finding the balance and the appropriate punishment is what is important.  I also don’t agree with parents who never discipline their kids.  You are not raising an amazing child with no limits, you are creating an entitled brat who will experience a lot of hardship because you chose to not teach them about rules and boundaries.

So, yes, I have opinions and even though I have 7 kids I am not an expert.  Nobody is.  It’s all trial and error.  So, don’t judge too harshly the mom who is trying something, anything, different to parent.  I may have my opinion but unless you are asking me for advice, I will try to keep it to myself.  I may be judgey but I will do it silently.  In my head.  Like a normal person. And I will be giving you air high fives.

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Exactly how my morning went

So many things to write about, so many words to choose.  This is my problem.  I have an insane amount of ideas that I think would be great for my blog.  I have such a large amount of things that I could write about:  blended families, missing my mom, having 7 kids, being an older parent (not that old), raising adult children, raising teenagers, raising toddler, having an obscene amount of boy children, being a stay-at-home mom, being a college student, being exhausted.    How do I pick just one thing?

I don’t.  I write about whatever it is that tickles my fancy that day.  Today, I am kind of bleh.  I have my schoolwork done, #7’s potty training is going well (aside from the underpants flushed down the toilet), and there is really nothing going on that merits 500 words.

I guess I could write about how #4 is going to go into the military after high school and that I am on the fence about being proud of him and not wanting him to go.  I could write about how the kids get out of school in less than 2 weeks and I am terrified.  I could write about how S.O. and I have to schedule sexy time because toddlers do not understand the need for recreation.  I could write about how #1 is flying to California on Tuesday and I am jealous that I’m not going and worried that she is going by herself.

I could write about how I had some work done at the dentist and now can’t stop rubbing my tongue against my new filling and how it makes me look like I belong in an old time mental institute.  I could write about how I almost had all the laundry done.  I could write about how #6 is convinced she was named after a horse, about how #5 gets to take summer school AGAIN.  Or about how I never hear from #2 unless he has laundry.  Or how #3 had attitude yesterday and I totally felt like I had done something wrong. (Turns out he’s 19 and moody.)

I guess I could write about how my mom’s birthday is coming up and I don’t know if it’s creepy or sweet that we still celebrate it.  Do we picnic at the cemetery or do we have an impromptu cook out?  What is the societal norm on this one?

I could write about how I am utterly in love with my S.O. who makes me feel special and beautiful and that I have totally bamboozled him into thinking that I know what I am doing.

Instead, I think that I will step away from the laptop, maybe do a load of laundry, and chill.  AS much as one can chill with all the things that I could write about.

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family, talk, boundaries, laundry,

I am just as excited!

In my current class we are learning about family dynamics and healthy relationships.  It has made me take a long look at my own family dynamics and relationships.  Notice, I did not say healthy relationships.

Our family dynamic is not unusual.  We are a blended family.  My S.O. is unusual in that he was only 9 years older than #1 and took on the responsibility of knowing that if we were going to be together it was a package deal:  me and my 5 kids.   And he completely not only took on the responsibility but ran with it.   The OG5 embraced this young, silly, loving man and even though it has been trying, it seems to work great for us.

That being said:  there are some definite issues within our family.

Issue #1:  Boundaries.  My children know no boundaries nor does S.O.  They think it’s normal to use the bathroom with the door open.  I long to use the bathroom in peace and quiet.  It’s a running joke that if S.O. has called you he is probably on the bathroom.  At least he’s using his time constructively.   Also, there is no topic off limits.  I wish there were.  I do not need to know that 3 out of 5 boys manscape better than me.  Yet, I do.

Issue #2: Leftovers.  I waste more money on throwing out moldy leftovers than the Senate does on $800 hammers.  Seriously, if the food did not kill you the first time you ate it, why is it taboo the second time? I tried having leftover night.  It did not work and mysteriously the kids would all have somewhere to be on leftover night.  I have given up that leftovers will ever be eaten in this house and have decided to just cook enough food for the night.  It’s a work in progress and if anyone wants 2 pounds of spaghetti please let me know.

Issue #3:  Laundry.  You all know I despise laundry.  What you didn’t know is that in a household of 9 you have to try to have set laundry days.  We tried this.  #1 even made up a schedule and everyone had their own hamper.  Here is how that went:  Sunday night 8 p.m., #3, #4, and #5 all want to wash their clothes at once because they just realized that going to school in pajamas on Monday is not an option.  Also, S.O. has work clothes that he just realized has chemical all over and requires two washings each and a bleach cycle to clean out said washer.  Yep, we are that organized.   I tried enforcing the rule of the laundry schedule but boys are gross and don’t care if their undies are crusty and their shirts have stains.  Parenting fail here.

Issue #4: Private time.  This kind of falls under boundaries but slightly different.  My S.O. and I have maybe 5 minutes out of the day when we can have a conversation not interrupted by children or arguing.  We have resorted to stretching a 5 minute recap of our day into 2 hours of interruptions and squabbling.  I love that the kids all want to talk and share with us but seriously they don’t have to follow me to the kitchen when I am trying to escape to recap how they told their history teacher off color jokes and got extra credit.  I already heard about.  From the history teacher.

Issue #5:  And this is the biggest one, Communication.  We are all talkers in my family.  When we say, long story short, what we mean is “I hope you have 20 minutes for me to revel you with just the introduction to the story, including schematics.”   I cannot tell you how many times I have said to pretty much everyone in my family, I asked for the time, not how to make a watch.   It’s a serious issue.  And I am just as much to blame.  I like to share details, it’s part of why I write.  I share way too many details because I want my audience to experience it like it did.

So, these are the pressing issues in my family right now.  And I have to say that I will take all of these issues gladly.  It’s what makes our family ours.  And don’t get me started on replacing the toilet paper rolls!

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