When Christine first got pregnant we had this book that suggested we write down our fears about parenting, and I just had one, and it was pretty simple:
Talking to Parents
Because, let’s face it, on the whole grown ups are a lot more boring than kids. We just don’t do interesting things every day. But it’s also more than that. There’s parents who are obnoxious around their kids on both ends of the spectrum. In our town my guess was we’d have a lot more obnoxiously over-protective parents than… well I guess I’ll call it the red-neck obnoxious parenting I saw growing up in the trailer park.
(To be clear. My mother was never obnoxious. She’s amazing and always has been, except oddly enough for one year when I was 13, but *maybe* that was me not her.)
Was I Worried About the Right Thing?
Well, actually it’s not nearly as bad as I thought. There are parents that I avoid on the playground, but honestly I just don’t take my kids to the playground much, which solves that problem. And when I’m at school events, I just hang out with the parents who have more similar parenting strategies.
So now that I’ve been a parent for 11 years, and have 4 kids… what do I like and dislike about parenting? I’ll start with the dislikes.
- I want our bedroom back. I love the kids, but want more private time with my wife.
- I dislike bedtime. I know the norm is to force kids to do things at bedtime, but I’ve interviewed so many college grads who just have to be told EVERYTHING in their life it just doesn’t feel like doing that is setting up the kids for success… and this tension causes stress in me and others.
- I hate making lunches (or maybe I should say “meals”). I used to love to cook, but since Christine got so into fitness she doesn’t usually eat much that I cook, and I can only have Chicken and Kale a couple of times a week before I get bored. Because our eating is so inconsistent (Christine has about 10 meals a day and rarely what anyone else is eating) we haven’t felt able to force the kids into an arbitrary eating schedule. It doesn’t help that Charlie doesn’t feel right eating animals and will rarely eat meat, while Christine and I usually have meat a couple of meals a day. I’ll be honest about this one, if we made the time to focus on this and followed up, I’m sure we’d have it nailed in two weeks. I mean Max and Charlie have packed their own lunches every day this year, and in general the kids are open to trying new food… but it just hasn’t been a priority so lunches become hard for the two younger ones.
- I wish I had more time… both in my life and as a family.
So what do I like the best about having kids?
I love seeing Christine with them. Snuggling with Tristan. Playing piano with Charlie. Drawing with Ian.
I also love spending time with them. I love the noise. I love the chaos. I love having 8 kids in the house at any time, or being out to dinner with all 4 of our kids and 3 guests (our car only seats 7 passengers).
I love how different they are and how powerful they are.
- Max said to Christine yesterday morning “Mom, can you ask me about this later because I’m finishing my homework now”.
- Charlie and Leo put Tristan in the wagon and walked to Coopers Corner to buy snacks.
- The older kids are home alone a few hours every week. It makes me proud
- I love playing board games with Max. He’s so strategic.
- I love playing video games with Max and Ian.
- I love that Charlie decided she wanted to learn the piano and made it happen, and that she knits and crafts and read the whole Harry Potter series in less than two months and got in trouble for falling asleep at school because of it.
- I love that when my kids are mad or feeling unfairly treated in the world, if we ask them math problems they settle down and have fun and talk about how the math problems we ask them are so much better than school.
- I like that they have friends at school (something I didn’t figure out until high school).
- I enjoy snuggling and walking with them one-on-one.
- I love watching them help each other.
I think I’ll keep ’em… :)