Dear Person Asking Me Why I Have So Many Children,
The truth is, I don't know. I didn't sit down with my husband when we first got married and set a number goal. I mean, we talked about it. We would fantasize about having two girls and two boys and oh how perfect that would be, etc. We talked about names we liked. We talked about names we didn't like. But we also talked about the giant heated, stone, in-ground bathtub we were going to build in our dream home in Ireland.
Likewise, we didn't sit down before each child and make a detailed budget sheet. We didn't examine our finances. We didn't look at assets and the stock market. We didn't calculate the cost of college tuition and dance lessons or how inflation would factor into Friday night pizza delivery charges. I guess that's irresponsible. But the bottom line is, it wouldn't change anything.
I still think it's a little funny when people comment on how many children I have. I don't feel like I have a big family...except when we have to take potty breaks on road trips, and then? Oh boy do I feel it. But just the every day thrills and spills? It just doesn't feel like a huge number of people. Okay, maybe that's not totally true. Sometimes it feels like a huge number. When everyone is crying and the laundry is up to the sky and dishes are overflowing and I haven't slept in four months, then yes, it feels overwhelming. But right now? In this moment? It doesn't. And actually, there are probably more of these moments than I even acknowledge.
As for how we afford it, well, I don't really know. We just kind of do. We buy what we can afford and we don't buy what we can't. There's a lot of stuff that falls into the can't category. There are a lot of gadgets we don't have, a lot of trips we can't take, a lot of things my children have to do without. I'm not sure if that's fair. I was an only child and I had pretty much whatever I wanted. It was great. I had a good childhood. But that nice car I drove my senior year? It got totaled. And that JCrew sweater that I just had to have doesn't sit next to me at the Thanksgiving table and tell funny stories about the time we got into trouble sneaking out of the house. Those things were wonderful and I am thankful that my parents worked hard to give me the things I wanted. But they are just things. I know there will probably be times when my kids feel the sting of having less money than their friends. Maybe they'll resent me. Maybe they won't. I hope, though, that one day they will sit with their siblings and tell stories about the time they painted the walls with finger paints the night before an open-house. Or the summer they spent running through the sprinkler and catching frogs and eating popsicles for lunch. In those moments, I hope they'll realize that some things are better than money.
I don't have a magic answer for "how I do it". We get up in the morning. We go to bed at night. Most everything else just sort of happens in between. It's not always fun and it's not always tidy. We can't afford it. We can't organize it. It's tiring and it pushes me to my limits. Honestly, I have no clue what I'm doing. The more kids I have, the less I know about parenting, and life in general.
But ya know what? It's pretty amazing. I see miracles every day. I am challenged every day. I am humbled every day. I'm the villain, the hero and the bystander every day. I say things I never thought I'd say. I feel things I never thought I'd feel. It's not perfect but it's good, really good.
The Crazy Mom With All Those Kids