When my husband and I were raising our six children, people kept asking, “how do you do it?” Well, the same way folks all over the world have been doing it I guess, some with more, some with fewer kids.
My mom was the eldest of fifteen, born on a farm near Grandview, Manitoba from Ukrainian immigrants. My grandmother managed the first 5 with no running water or electricity. How did SHE do it? I guess the simple answer is “you just do what you can”.
Perhaps a more pertinent question would be to ask how you get through each day and still keep smiling. Surely there is a skill to that – some trick to learn – an art to master?
For me, the skill was one that kids provide themselves; one we somehow forget we have when we get to be an adult and are faced with the stress of all the crying, storming, laughing little faces that surround us tightly and won’t let go.
The answer to the skill-testing question? Just pick out the funny parts. Kids always see the funny parts. And there are usually funny parts in most situations that deal with kids.
I began writing down the funny things the kids would say, then progressed to the funny things they would do. Eventually these things became a lifeline for me when I was overcome by those tiny faces that surrounded me so tightly. I’d try to withdraw from sticky situations; try to just sit back and think that surely if I wasn’t so tired, so grumpy, so overwhelmed with the moment, I’d find this quite funny. So I’d write about it.
I chose writing as a means to temporary sanity and would write about each insane situation because they were – I discovered – funny. I had in fact discovered the magic of choice: you can laugh, or you can cry, and laughter feels so much better than tears.
Raising a family is surely one of the most challenging experiences that you will undertake in your life. It is my hope that my stories will help you raise a family that laughs together.