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Archive for May, 2011

Getting Caught Up

My only goal this week is to get caught up with my regular work. Wish me luck!

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Who knew?

I am secretly amused at myself when I drop my daughter off at preschool. During that time I look completely normal. I have two children-a boy and a girl. I drive a mini-van. Sometimes I’m even wearing exercise clothes. (Yes, I am exercising!) What amuses me so much is that I have three other kids at another school. And there is no way of hiding the fact that where I live, five kids is NOT normal. When I casually mention the other three boys, the other preschool mothers and fathers are usually shocked.

Yesterday at the pediatrician’s office, we ran into one of my daughter’s  preschool classmates. I cheerfully greeted the boy’s dad and introduced him to my oldest son. I mentioned the other two boys and his eyes got big. “Really?” he asked me. I laughed and said, “I know that I must look so normal with just the two kids–”

“You look happy, ” he interrupted me. “We’re going to have three boys soon and I’m not sure how it is going to be,” he rushed to explain.

We chatted for a few minutes about the baby they will have and then I left with the conversation hanging in my thoughts.

I am always surprised at the number of people who imagine that having more than children increases one’s misery or unhappiness. Almost as if extra work equals unhappiness.

I won’t lie to you, having five kids is hard work. I don’t spend my mornings working out at a gym. I don’t have a nanny or housekeeper to pick up the slack.  I don’t have grandparents nearby to provide babysitting. My husband doesn’t arrive home at 5 p.m. on the dot. His hours are long and while he is a tremendous support to me and totally involved with his children, much of the child-rearing rests on my shoulders.  I know many mothers like myself–but I don’t live near most of them. And to the people in my area, having more than two children, making do without a nanny or a housekeeper, seems like an impossible feat to accomplish. They find it hard to imagine that I can keep smiling.

But I do keep smiling, even when I want to throw things because my kids keep making messes, spilling drinks on the floor or fight. This is my life. And I am not miserable. I have my tough days, but tough days are universal.

I believe that achieving something worthwhile, like raising a large family, requires hard work. The hard work is worthwhile and valuable because I believe that I’m building something bigger than myself.

 Why is that we as a society have a hard time acknowledging that as a valuable contribution? Yet we laud olympics athletes with praise as they dedicate virtually every minute of their lives to breaking records and winning medals. And yet, the Olympic feats are so fleeting. Records are broken by other driven athletes. 

My hope is that my work with my family will extend throughout generations. And that seems a little more valuable and worthwhile than an olympic medal. Certainly worth a smile or two at least!

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Wrestling

Like every average woman, there are things I wrestle with. There are problems  with which I grapple and feel defeated. There are challenges I don’t understand, much less finding solutions for said challenges.

When that happens, I feel impotent and powerless against forces that are stronger. Sometimes my desperation spirals out of control and I wonder what in the world I will do.

I like action. I want to precipitate action in the face of challenge and adversity. But sometimes patience is warranted. I chafe against the waiting, the quietness, the inaction of it all. Then I worry.

But worrying is counterproductive. It stays in your stomach, adding lead to the weight you already carry, subtracts sleep from your schedule and frazzles your soul.

I find myself at an impasse. I’m torn between relentless movement and the need for inner stillness.

And in the meantime, meals must be prepared, clothes washed, children cuddled, stories read, houses cleaned. And I still wrestle.

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Almost Famous

Since moving to New York three years ago, I’ve been approached by modeling and acting agencies a few times about my kids. I imagine it is pretty common as there are lots of opportunities for modeling and acting and plenty of parents with visions of celebrity children dancing in their heads.

Part of me is totally flattered. Since I don’t post pictures of my children on this blog, you’ll have to trust me that the interest in my kids, particularly my youngest, is totally warranted. My little blonde baby has piercing blue eyes and the cutest little grin, if I do say so. I’ve secretly fantasized about Ralph Lauren seeing my little guy and demanding a photo shoot. What parent doesn’t want the world to acknowledge how darling and beautiful her children are?

The other part of me cringes. I know that  modeling and acting ventures don’t have to end badly. There are probably scads of well-behaved, well-adjusted child models and actors. The problem is that gossip magazines and the internet are full of stories of the bad experiences. I don’t want my kids to end up like Miley Cyrus, Lindsey Lohan, or heaven forbid, like the newest scandal, Demi Lovato (yes, I follow gossip magazines. . . it’s a vice).

I don’t want my kids to grow up with the crazy idea that being famous epitomizes success. If they want fame and are willing to work  and sacrifice for that dream–that is something they can pursue. But I won’t be pushing them toward it.

I want my children to understand that worldly success doesn’t equal happiness or contentment. And often the price of worldly success is far too high to pay.

What do you think? Would you let your child be a model or actor? If you were approached by a talent agency, would you take the opportunity? Do you think I’m crazy for saying no?

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