Recently, I was on Facebook looking up old friends, as you do. I came across a college friend whose profile was a picture of his lovely family. My first thought was, “wow! That’s a lot of kids!” And, on further inspection, I realized he had five kids. FIVE. You know, the same amount of children as I so wisely/stupidly have. Pick your descriptor.
I always said that a big family is “one more kid than I currently have.” When I had three, I thought four was a lot. Then I had four and I thought five was a lot. And then I had five and realized I was right before. Five is a lot of kids.
It would be boring if I listed all the things that are harder with five than with four. Suffice it to say, I could eliminate 50% of them if I sent all of the older ones to school. But where is the fun in that? I happen to like not having a moment to myself ever, day or night. I love it. It’s my favorite.
But the one thing I can’t say I love is how much harder it is to show every one of my children that they, as individuals, are very important to me. I can easily get wrapped up in the productivity of the day, such tasks as posting on Facebook and cleaning up dog vomit. Because that’s pretty much all I’ve accomplished today. Maybe I should save this post for a day when I actually do something. But I digress.
There are a lot of great ideas for parent-child date night, and maybe that’s where you thought I was going with the sleep-deprived, loosly connected set of words. But could you imagine doing that with five kids plus a spouse? I would do nothing but date people, and I already did that in college. And high school.
It’s important to do little things regularly that celebrate the individual and not just the family unit. These moments usually happen as you are going about your day and your kid says, “let’s play phase 10.” Family game night is awesome. But so is a card game with just your 8 year old. Family dinners help connect the family, and grabbing a quick lunch out when you find yourself alone with one child help build individual relationships.
Now we come to why I have a stomachache. I found myself alone with my teen and the baby-toddler this morning. My teen was awake (SHOCK!) and the baby-toddler doesn’t really count. So I offered to run and grab breakfast for us and my teen asked for McDonalds.
And now my stomach hurts because I love my child. A lesser mom would point that out to him. And I probably would be that lesser mom except he went back to bed after he ate.