2015-05-19 15.03.47

I have heard the question over and over.  “Are they all yours?”   “Don’t you know what causes that?”  “You must be Catholic.”  “You must be Mormon.”  “What were you thinking?” But I have never, ever, ever been asked, “How much fun is it?”

To answer:  yes, they are all mine.  No, I did not foster, adopt, or steal seven children that all bear some genetic linkage to me.  Yes, I know what causes it. It’s called sex.  Which I have obviously had at least 7 times.  Yes, I am Catholic, though not practicing.  I always forget to give up or stick with giving up things for Lent and I enjoy a nice steak on Fridays sometimes.  No, I am not Mormon.  Although I would like to visit Utah.  And I was thinking, I love my big family and I feel incredibly blessed to have all 7 of my children.  Most of the time.

And they are fun.  They are stressful, worrying, staying up nights with sick and scared ones,  incredibly infuriating, overwhelming loved, never a quiet or dull moment,  and I would not trade it for anything.  Well, maybe for an all expense ADULT only vacation but than I would miss them and want them back.

I have a big family.  I am not ashamed of it.  I enjoy knowing that my children will always have a great relationship with their siblings (once they learn to like each other and not try to knock each other off) and that I found something that I rock at.

I am a good wife.  I am a good sister.  I hope I am a good daughter.  But I am a great mom.  I am not perfect.  I make mistakes, I get impatient, I forget what eating a hot dinner is like.  I am raising 7 people to not judge by appearance, to forgive and eventually be able to forget, to think for themselves, and to be contributing members to society.   They make me a better person by not hesitating to tell me when they think I’m wrong, by knowing how to love someone unselfishly and with all of their flaws.  My children say thank you and your welcome and hold open doors.  They are my imperfectly perfect gift to the world.  And you do not even have to thank me.

I have never went up to a parent with one child and said, “How selfish to only have one.”  I would never put someone down for not wanting to have children.   My little sister only has two for gods sake.  I do make fun of her for it, but I don’t judge her for it.  So why is it okay for complete strangers to make remarks about my family?

If you did not birth them, raise them, or pay for them, than you have no right to judge me or question me for my family size.  And I won’t judge you for yours.

The only difference for me, at least, is that when I take all of my children and my SO out in public, I smile and answer, “Yes, they’re all ours.  Yes, we know what causes it.  No, I do not care to discuss my spirituality with you.  And they are a joy to behold, aren’t they?”   before bolting to make sure #7 isn’t choking on #6’s barbie shoes and that #4 is not putting #5 in a choke hold.  God, I love my family!

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Whenever I hear parents utter the phrase “I want my children to be honest with me” I cringe.  I shudder.  I want to shake them by the shoulders and have them retract that statement, post haste.

I want my children to be honest with me .. but .. I am a fan of not having full disclosure with them.  I want them to come to me with their problems, with their worries, with their highs and lows.  I just don’t need all the gory details.

Case in point:  puberty.  I have five sons and two daughters.  My kids range in age from 24 to 2.  I am the queen of the sex talk and dealing with all the perils of puberty.  And I hate it.  I hate it with the same amount of passion that Hillary hates Benghazi.  I wish that I could just sleep through puberty.   It is that bad.

Puberty for boys is totally different than puberty with girls.  #1 pretty much stayed in her room for 2 years and wore a lot of black.  I could have owned stock in Hot Topic.  She did it the right way.  In private.  Without tears or recrimination. Mostly.

Boys are rough.  They are gross, smelly, and do not mind telling you about all the changes taking place in their little bodies.  Even after you’ve told them not to.  In front of company.  Gleefully.

#2 took on the personality of Andrew Dice Clay.  He thought he was funny.  Everybody else thought he was a dick. (Note to parents:  you will not always like your kids.  You will occasionally call them bad names.  You are not a bad parent, you are a human being who birthed a child who is too much like you.  Try to only call them bad names in your head.  Do Not Call Them Bad Names Out Loud!) #3 hid in the corner of the kitchen, sobbing his little heart out.  Because he had to do dishes.  He was 13.  It was sad.   #4 was a mixed bag of emotions.  He would tear up if you looked at him wrong and than blame you for looking at him. Thankfully, his puberty period only seemed to last about 2 weeks.  Than he had a mustache and started locking his bedroom door and washing his own sheets.

#5 has been the worst.   He went from being the cute little baby boy (#7 wasn’t born yet) to being this tall, skinny, hands and nose too big for his body, moody, pissy, petulant, sometimes unlikable, most of the time unbearable, man-boy.  He did not cry, he yelled. He raged.  He failed classes and stayed away from chores like a Mormon does caffeine.    And he had a girlfriend.

Most of the time the talk goes like this:  your body is changing, blah blah blah.  It’s okay to masturbate, do not use mommy’s good towels.   Sex makes you stupid, always use protection and do not become a statistic.  Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask questions but you can always ask Dad if you don’t want to talk to Mom.  And do not ask your older brothers for advice.  They will lie to you and think it’s funny.  No, you cannot break a boner.  Pretty basic talk.

Except now I had to have the full disclosure talk with #5.  Who was still in the mindset that his parents are only out to make his life miserable.  Because he’s 15, ya know?  SO was not happy to be included in the talk.  My beloved, who is not exactly a shrinking violet, believes that children should learn about sex when they are married. At 30.  And not from him.

#5 turned several alarming shades of red.  He stuttered.  He averted eye contact.  He told me the dreaded words that no parent wants to hear, but will eventually.  Maybe I could buy him condoms.  Ya know, just in case.   My baby, my little premie who was still one of the smallest in his class.  He wasn’t ready for this.  What about the girls parents?  Did they realize they had raised a harlot? A hussy?  A fallen woman? (Full Disclosure:  I love #5’s girlfriend, she really is a sweet girl.  Not really sure about her taste in boys but still sweet.)

Than I realized:  I had asked him to never be embarrassed.  To come to us and know that no matter what, I would always give him the best advice I could.  So I told him that while I wish he would wait, I was glad to see him taking responsibility and for being honest with me.  I told him that this would forever change his relationship with his girlfriend and that it was a big step.  I told him that I would not be raising any grandbabies and that McDonalds is not going to support a family.   I parented.  Hard.

Don’t get me wrong, I was not happy that my child was possibly going to have sex.  But, I am realistic.  After all, I had #1 at 18.  Kids are going to explore, even if its someone elses nether regions.  They are going to be full of hormones and youth and stupidity.  And I am glad that my children can be open and mostly honest with me.  Without all the gory details.

 

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I am not crazy.  I am not a saint.  I am well aware of what caused me to have 7 children and yes, it does involve sex.  And some bad decisions.  But mainly sex.

To start, I had my first child, a beautiful daughter, known from here on out as #1, at 18.  Well, technically two days before my 18th birthday, but 18 sounds so much better than 17.  I married her father at 19, who will hereby be referenced as THE EX.  We had four more children (#2, #3, #4, #5 and all boys) in 10 years.  After 17 years together, THE EX and I were divorced.

Enter husband #2, hereby known as S.O.  He is a wonderful man, generous, kind, lovely even.  And he is slightly crazy. I mean he married a woman with 5 kids.  And he is 9 years younger than me.  So, technically I am not a cougar, but a puma.

S.O. and I decided to have two more children, #6:  finally another girl!  And #7: another boy.  Love them dearly, they completed our blended family and are not loved any differently than the original 5 (OG5 in our house.)

 

OG5, the babies, SO and me

OG5, the babies, SO and me

We have two cats, Gus and Ivan the Purrible.  They are cute, they are menaces, they thrive on tearing up toilet paper and trying to kill me by wrapping between my legs as I am walking down the stairs.   I also have my widowed dad, “DAD”.  He is a sweetheart of a man who breaks my heart over and over by missing my mom more terribly than any of us ever could.

So, that in a nutshell, is my family.  Life with nine.  Plus two cats.  And a widowed dad.  And my siblings.  And in-laws.  And other extras.

I am attempting to be the best mom I can be, although most times I settle on being an okay mom.  Sometimes I have great advice, sometimes I have good advice, and mostly I have funny, hilarious, and make-me-pee-my-pants horror stories of parenting, marriage, and being an adult child.

Hope you enjoy!  I know that I am … mostly 🙂

 

 

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