Monday, March 8, 2010

What Have We Done

Someone asked for advice about parenting as they added a new baby to their family and how larger, non-punitive families function. We're pretty dysfunctional, always kind of swirling along like Taz but this was my advice:

My advice is kinda worthless because it's kind of non-advice.
  • Keep listening to yourself and trust your instincts.
  • Forgive. A lot. Yourself and others.
  • Begin again and again and again---as many times as it takes--and it's going to take a lifetime.
  • Focus on endurance rather than patience.
  • Laugh. A lot. At yourself and others. Seriously as moms we say and do and witness some of the most hysterical things if we can just learn to not take it all so seriously.
  • Let go of expectations--they're just pride and are ruinous. Rather have an idea of the goal, but remain detached from results and allow the journey to take whatever course it will take.
  • Be in the present--lingering in the past or the future will always make the present a mess and diminish your joy as well as your effectiveness.
  • Don't forget that you are a person with needs, too. Include yourself in the plan for meeting everyone's needs. You don't honor yourself, your children, or God by neglecting your own personhood.
  • Enlist help. Ask for help. Beg for help. Not asking for help is just pride and is ruinous.

And going from 2-3 means you now have more kids than hands and that is a huge leap. Give yourself time to develop the skills you need to deal with that reality. Every new kid means a new shift in balancing everyone's needs and the immediacy with which we can meet needs---and that always involves grieving through to the resolution stage. And it's hard to grieve with a gaggle of children always needing you.

8 comments:

  1. Shannon asked me to move a facebook comment here. My qualification? I just had my third baby and I'm also the oldest of 10.

    Hmmm.... keep talking to your kids. Help the older ones express themselves by making time for them when you're not holding the baby.

    Expect everything to take an extra 20 mins - 2 hours. Everything.

    There is nothing wrong with having toast for dinner. Just not every night.... See more

    Love. Love everybody hard. Kids will put up with pretty much anything - extra sharing, less mummy-time, late dinner, having to do more things for themselves - if they know exactly how much you love them (which will, of course, be heaps!)

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  3. How beautiful, Shannon, the advice you just provided, so full of the warmth, the wisdom and the humour I always found in you.

    Blessings,
    Jer

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  4. Let go of expectations--they're just pride and are ruinous. Rather have an idea of the goal, but remain detached from results and allow the journey to take whatever course it will take.

    Really like this.

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