Primarily written by Adrienne, a homeschooling mother of seven, ages 10 and under. She chronicles life, laughs, struggles, and lessons learned as she raises a larger-than-most sized family and tries to figure out what she's doing day by day.

With occasional posts, Alexandra, Adrienne's older sister, writes of her ranch life in Nevada and raising four sons, ages 5 and under. Life is never dull and her boys have given her some pretty awesome stories to tell.

Stick around awhile, and you're sure to laugh, nod, smile, be encouraged, and see what life is like with a big (little) family.

9.25.2013

Flexible? Or crazy?

I read recently that that which is not flexible can become brittle, and that which is brittle often breaks.

That statement has me thinking this non-scheduled drop-everything-and-go life I lead with these six little people has been on purpose. Sure, I did this on purpose. I’m busy raising flexible children with this well-refined technique.

In all seriousness, it has worked for us. On Sundays, when church doesn’t get out until 2pm and we don’t usually eat lunch until 3:30pm, all six of my children just go with it. No one even complains. I carry pretzels in the van and often have takers when we’re on our way home, but no one says a word. Skipping naps is no big deal, five stores in one afternoon is common and accepted, and bedtime is 8pm. Usually. Sometimes it’s 9:30, especially in the summertime. They rarely melt, they don’t fuss, they just know that this is life and roll with it.

When we took our last trip with our minivan, there were seven of us in a seven passenger vehicle. Plus luggage for seven. Plus a small dog. On the way home, we were packed to the gills. No one could get out without climbing over seats and preferably out the front doors. On the way home, we got a flat tire. We had to unload the back of the van to get to the spare. The spare that was rusted on tight. The spare that wasn’t sufficient to drive the four hours home. Four hours later, we were headed out again, four hours from home. No. One. Complained.

That was the moment when I wondered if I’d ruined them with all the flexibility required to maintain sanity around here. That moment when I was exhausted, wanted to cry, and my kids saw the two hours of wandering Walmart while they put a new tire on my van as an adventure. We’ve never before spent half an hour smelling every candle in the aisle, after all. We’d never walked the toy section talking about what looked fun, what looked crazy, and what we would choose if we had the funds and space to each pick something fun. We rarely get the chance to sit in a restaurant and eat, and leave our supper mess in some other space.

That fact was commented upon by both of my older daughters. Being able to walk away from the dirty table was the highlight of the night by my dear kitchen helpers. Not long after that trip, we were given our 12 passenger van. Space was amazing, as is the ability to pack in places other than the foot space of my children.

But still. I’m still unsure about the flexibility that happens around here. It’s so completely different than the way I grew up. Is this a necessity of a larger family? Is it merely a byproduct of my personality? Do share, what works for you?

2 comments:

Cindy M. said...

Flexibility is not the same as being unstructured, undisciplined, or unproductive. Flexibility is just the ability to gracefully break from the structure and the plan when the need arises. The trick in parenting is being able to figure out the balance and to figure out what is the priority and what is the greatest need now. (And, just sometimes, the greatest need is to rest or have some fun together!) Flexibility is a great thing to learn - because who never needs to be flexible in life? Being flexible will make life easier for our kids (and for their mom, too.) And, every parent's personality somehow flows into their parenting, and our children's personalities affects our parenting, too!

Adrienne F said...

Thank you, Cindy, for your kind words. I've never considered it that way - but I definitely appreciate my kids ability to "roll with it" and I assume that's at least in part due to the flexibility we have on a daily basis. It's definitely a reflection of my personality - and none of my kids are uptight and rigid, so they must be okay with it too!