Thursday, October 29, 2015

20 Thoughts On Having Six Children

One of the last posts I wrote mentioned how I just wanted to, "leave this year open to a little mystery.  Kind of a feeling of letting the wind take me where it will."  So it seems as if the wind has blown me towards a familiar island.  

I know it's been a long time since my last post but with good reason.  We found out that we were expecting our sixth child in February of this year.  It was a little bit of a surprise but the best kind we could have imagined.  The expecting and arrival of Thea has been just what our family needed.  

I do realize though... that the idea of a large family is foreign to most people (especially outside of our state) and so I have decided to share: 

20 Thoughts and Facts I've Found on Having Six Children 

1.  Fact:  Surveys in recent years show that less than 2% of families today have 6 kids and .5% of families have 7 kids or more.  This means that I now belong to a very elite and little understood group of super women.

2.  I cannot count the number of times people have stopped me at the store with, "Oh my!  Are they are yours?" or "You have your hands full!"  or my favorite, "Are they all from one father?"  Honestly I enjoy it. There is a sense of accomplishment knowing that I do something every day that few other women can imagine possible and with a smile to boot!

3.   Did you know that those who do have six children are presumed to be very religious or not very educated or both. My husband and I are religious, well-educated, and just love children. (Well at least our children.)

4.  Studies show having six children can be the mark of the eccentric or the genius. The psychologist Alison Gopnik wrote a very fine essay about her brilliant, eccentric parents and the six children they produced, including, besides Alison, her brother Adam, the New Yorker writer, and her brother Blake, the art critic. The novelist and director Galt Niederhoffer is one of six daughters; their father is, according to The New York Times, “one of the most successful (and most idiosyncratic) money managers in the nation.” I claim to be both eccentric and genius.  haha

5.   I am very mindful that many people want more children than they have but have been unable to have them. My hubby and I talk about how lucky we are every day.

6.  We all want to leave something behind when we leave this world and if all else fails I will leave progeny. Not a bad legacy if you ask me.

7.  And I won’t be lonely in old age. Maybe they won’t all love me and take care of me, but the odds are good that one of them will. Maybe two.

8.  I come from a thrifty upbringing which I love and think more people should adopt.  And now, finally, having our cute little sixth addition has given me the power I was lacking before, to instill these beliefs in my kids. 

9.  Up until now I have been in a tug-of-war between the belief of giving my kids things that I didn't have so they wouldn't be deprived or left out, and the belief that sometimes the answer is no and that they will have to earn or wait until its right.  Now I clearly can say no to things we don't need and not feel guilt.   I can explain to the kids that it’s because of our sacrifices that this family works.  We are not like the majority of families.  Sometimes we will have to make sacrifices but we also have things that some other families might not.    This is just one of the many lessons that I think kids can learn from growing up in a large family.

10.   No, I don't like pregnancy, at all. I'm not sentimental about it. I literally told my doctor before I knew that I was pregnant that if I ever was pregnant again it would kill me.  I had to come back two weeks later, tail between my legs, for my first prenatal visit.  I'm not going to lie...everyone in his office had a good laugh about it. 

11.  One of the joys I got during this pregnancy was having everyone ask if this was my first.  I always took it as a compliment and then loved shocking them when I said, "No we have a few more.  This is our sixth."  Always put a smile on my face no matter how awful I was feeling.

12.  One of the unexpected joys of parenting this many kids is that it has given me new reasons to admire my husband.  He is awesome!  I don't think I would have known how amazing he could be if we had only had one or two children.  I tend to take control in the parenting department and it wasn't until I knew I couldn't control all the kids by myself that he blossomed into this amazing dad!  And I give him props for patience.  Patience with me in the early days as I tried to do everything by myself and patience with the kids which include 4 dramatic daughters.

13.  And he was raised to do this job.  His 3 sisters did a very good job of teaching him how to be an awesome, understanding man surrounded by beautiful women. 

14.  Having six kids has opened up a whole new world to me.  People all the time are telling me about how they grew up in a big family, like 8-10 kids, and how they want that too.  These are people I have known for years and we have never had these conversations before.  I'm not sure if it's because people are afraid to admit it until they are with other large families or what but I love being a member of this new club.

15.  I have come up with unique ways to deal with the responsibility.  Sometimes when I get the chance to be in the car alone, I blast the radio in the old minivan and pretend I'm 20 again with no kids.  And sometimes I get mad that I'm in a minivan because it ruins the whole illusion. 

16.  Yes, I am very tired. 

17.  But I use my fatigue like a super power.  It's like the Hulk and his anger.  The secret is that I'm always tired.  You can control it when it’s constantly with you!  I'm not sure what I would do it I was ever well rested. 

18.  There are things I miss about life before parenthood.  Showering without interruptions.  Conversation with the hubs without interruptions.  Sleep without interruptions.  (I'm starting to see a pattern here.)

19.  But those interruptions are the cutest little things ever and most of the time they are jumping into my conversations to tell me something they are so excited about.  Or jumping into my bed because they know I can make it all better.  It's nice to be surrounded by people that still have a lust for life and who need me wholeheartedly.  Someday they won't. 

20.  We're happy!  Yes life can be hectic and weekend dates can't come soon enough, but I would not change it for anything.  Family is everything to me and I have created a life surrounded by what I love most.  There is nothing better than that!

This article was inspired by Mark Oppenheimer's post Forty Thoughts on a Fourth Daughter.  You can read it here.

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