Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spending time with our children, in joy and love

The other day, someone told me that obviously, I will need to send Shira to daycare once the new little one is born, because it's "impossible" to have two littles at home full-time (what should one do with twins or triplets, I wonder?). Imagine that! Instead of raising my children side by side, and taking advantage of them both being home so they can truly become the closest and dearest friends, I'm supposed to send one of them away for most of the day.

I didn't feel it was fitting to argue at the moment. I simply said that financially, it doesn't make any sense to shell out money for daycare when I'm staying home with the new baby anyway. It was only then that I got an understanding nod and a resigned sigh: "yes, yes, of course you have no money to spare. But it will be so, so hard on you!"

And just so you understand, the person who voiced such an opinion was an experienced mother of five. After fifteen years of parenting, she believes that being home with one's children is a struggle, and that being home with two of your children is impossible.

Holding such a view is not uncommon. Around here, mothers go out to work when their babies are very young, any misconduct or misbehavior in children later on is explained away by "oh, that's today's youth, there is nothing you can do" (simply spending more time with the children doesn't occur to anyone), and during vacations and holidays, when all the children are home together, havoc reigns and mothers all over the country sigh and say they wish summer was over. This is true even for many religious Jewish families, which is especially sad. No wonder families are becoming detached. Just a generation ago, it was common for a child to be home until they were three years old. Now, most babies are away from home when they are just three months old.

People may have five, six or more children, and never know the joy and comfort of a habit of spending entire days together as a family. Not long ago, someone I know quit her job to raise her one-year-old boy. She confessed to me that she discovered she essentially had no idea what to do with a curious, active baby at home all day long. She was challenged, and surprised – and she is enjoying the experience.

I assume that in every more or less normal family, children are loved. But do we enjoy spending time around our children? Or do we view them as a particularly time-consuming and tedious household chore? I do not want to sound self-righteous. I'm a new mother, learning along the way. I am, as much as anyone else and perhaps more, guilty of impatience, of moments when anything and everything seems more important than a baby who is seeking attention.  Of moments when I feel I simply must run off and tend to the laundry, cooking, ironing, or whatever. Of driving myself crazy by thinking about how efficient I could have been, of counting hours that are slipping away and imagining everything I could have accomplished.

But thinking in terms of efficiency and cost and effect is pointless and frustrating when you have children. I have come to realize that being home with my children will never work out if we don't enjoy spending time together, if I don't learn to abundantly pour out time and love into them. Or at least, it will never be joyful. All my life, I have been working with timetables and check lists and goals. Now, it's a special challenge to learn to slow down, sit on the grass with my one-year-old, and count the butterflies. Life has a slower pace, and a sweeter one.

It feels as though from a journey by speed train, I unexpectedly had to switch to a trundle in an old-fashioned horse-and-carriage. It feels unusually slow, and there are bumps along the road – but I can also notice the flowers growing by the road side, smell the grass, hear the birds chirping. It might not be a very efficient way to travel, but I know I will reach my destination anyway. So I can sit back and enjoy the journey. And I love it. Oh yes, I do. 


Mary R. said...

It is not hard being home with 2 little children. Mine were 2 years apart, and if anything, it is easier having two at home close together in age, because you are in the swing of things. You will enjoy it! It is terribly sad that small babies are put in day care. I was a little bit older when I started having children -- I was 34 when I had my first -- and knew how fast time flies. Before you know it, they are grown and gone. Don't listen to those detractors. Just do what you know you are supposed to be doing.

Mary R. said...

Oh, I see that you have The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer on your Wishlist! It is a fantastic book -- best enjoyed while your children are young. I bought it years ago and have read it several times. Her book, "What Is a Family" is also a classic and a "must have." So many good ideas in both for raising a family.

Star said...

There were three versions of this post on my list today. I presume you have edited it a couple of times? No matter, I found the right one at last and was pleased to see that you are expecting another child. I am to be a grandmother in October, for the first time, I might add and so will follow your progress with added interest.
I agree with you about spending time with the children while they are growing up and it really is up to you how you do it. The more effort you put into child rearing, the more enjoyment you will get out of it so run with it and all will be well. I know how hard it is. I brought up three of my own but eventually they do grow up and you get your time back so enjoy it while it lasts. It is only transitional.
Blessings, Star

Jodi said...

Well said, as usual, Anna. :)

Until recently, I honestly thought all mothers who weren't home with their children would really like to be. I have since discovered that's not the case.

Of course there are many women who greatly desire to be home, but there are also many who would rather be at work. That's truly sad to me. As challenging as staying home may be at times (financially, emotionally, and otherwise), I would never *want* to leave and go back to work outside the home. I understand *having to*, but I don't understand *wanting to*.

Autumn said...

Mac is only 18 months older than me, and Collin is only 2 years younger. Mom raised all 4 of us at home. And now, my siblings are my best friends.

Little Shira will love to be mommy's helper with the new baby, and you will love having them both.

People are silly. You are wise.


Sharon said...

Thank you for this post! I, too, have had to remind myself that efficiency is not the "point" of these precious years while my children are small. Life does move more slowly, but I wouldn't miss these precious moments for anything.

A Joyful Chaos said...

The art of joyful motherhood is something to never take for granted. I find some days to be much more sucessful at that than others.

We had three toddlers at one time and those years were wonderful. The thought of daycare didn't cross my mind, I didn't even like to leave them at their grandparents when ever I had to go to the doctor.

Days will be busier but it is so worth your time being with all of your children. Which I know you realize.


Anonymous said...

You are so right about keeping little ones with you! Raising your children is the most important job you will ever have. The years when they are young fly by so quickly and I pity those who have missed those times for the sake of a bit more money.

As an aside my sister and I are 14 months apart and have always been very close. My mother said we were great entertainment for each other and that it was actually easier for her!

Phebe said...

Oh, Anna, thanks for taking time to write this post. It made me smile and want to go thank my husband right now for the chance to stay home with my little ones. It's nice to remember that we can enjoy the journey, and not miss the journey in pursuit of our goals...

Anonymous said...

Ummm....I am a mother to 9 month old twins(#3 & #4). If we had shipped our older boys away after having Asher and Leland then we would of had NO help. “Family” didn’t offer anything. Not that we expected it. Canyon(9) checked the mail, helped in the kitchen, picked the garden, bounced the babies, brought me needed items to change the babies, took care of Trenten(5).

We conceived the twins naturally and people assumed we were finished having children because we are at "risk" of conceiving twins again. When someone is brave enough to ask if we are going to have more they are always shocked when we reply. They ask if it's twice as hard and honestly it is NOT. They often wonder if the older two are jealous and they are NOT. The older boys LOVE their baby brothers and beg to hold them. They love feeding them little bits of food. They are very helpful and are always thinking of their brothers. Our first two boys are so close. Trenten is always saving treats to share with Canyon. People often comment “I’m glad it’s you and not me” when they notice we have twins. We always reply “We are too”.

We enjoy having our children with us. We feel lost with out them. They are not burdens! They are blessings.

Lady M said...

Our attitude has always been "why have them if you are going to give them over to be raised by someone else the better part of the day". It is not too hard to raise children together. My children are 11, 9, 1 and due in Oct. While the older 2 bicker at times, they are each others best friends. They LOVE their baby brother and are excited for the next little one to get here.

When my older 2 were little, there was a season where I worked part-time at nights outside the home. I have to say, sadly, that was my favorite job of jobs and if I ever had to work outside the home again, I would like to go back there. BUT - I HATED having to leave my family 4 nights a week and part of Saturdays. Granted, they were having fun with Daddy (and they have a great relationship with Daddy!), but I felt like I was missing all the fun, lol! Thankfully, God brought me back home full time and I do not miss working (even though I enjoyed the job) and I do not miss the hassle that went with it.

I hear my SIL say every year at the end of summer that she cannot wait until school starts because her children are driving her nuts. And yet, it is not like she spends all this time with them. She works 3-4 days a week and has them in all kinds of week long programs the whole of summer break. It breaks my heart for them and she has said this in front of them. I often wonder what that does to their self-worth.

So yes, women have been taking care of more than one child at a time (including a baby) since the beginning of time, lol! You can as well. And if I can (Had our first at 30 and the 4th will come when I am still 42), anyone can!

Persuaded said...

I actually felt my stomach drop when I read the words "put Shira in day care"...

Lawsy girl... don't scare a body like that!


momto9 said...

having two little ones at home is a DELIGHT!!!! I just can't imagine shipping one sad!

THE Princess Bombshell* said...

I had four under the age of 3. It's tiring. It's hysterically funny. It's challenging. It's irreplaceable. It's loud. It's cuddly.

Not impossible.

People who say it is have other issues. The number of their children and age-spacing have nothing to do with it.

Walters Inc said...

Spot on Anna! My son was just born on March 29th and my daughter is 23 months old. While my days are full I would not trade this for the world. What a blessing children are. Too often they are viewed as an inconvenience and baggage. When in reality they are entrusted to us as precious cargo. They need our guidance and love to grow and learn.
A lot of people here in my neck of America say the very same things that folks in your area say. It is a universal problem. Your blog though is a wonderful support of Godly motherhood and it is lovely to have you around. Also, when your # two gets here you will be so much in love with the children it will not really seem like work. There are stressful times but the delight outweighs it for sure.

Bobbi said...

Here in America I get a lot of pressure about daycare... in order for the child to be "socially" where they should be...and "academically" up to speed before AGE 6? Craziness...pure and simple. Children are a blessing from the LORD...and may God help me on the days that I do not view them that way! There is a holiday song that has a line that makes me cringe, "The Moms and Dads can hardly wait for school to start again." Good's only a week long holiday, at best. You can't enjoy your children for such a brief time...for shame!! You have it right Anna...Shira and baby ? will be blessed as the outcome!!

mamajuliana said...

My second and third child were 10 months apart and I would have never thought of putting one in daycare to make it easier.

Sure there were some rough days-but that is part of being a family-part of being a 'Mother'. There were days that saw a dirty house and laundry that didn't get finished...but we were all together.

Daycare as a convenience is sad in my opinion.

Serena said...

Mrs. Anna, I have never commented on your blog before but have been a faithful follower for about a year. I have a daughter who will be two tomorrow and a baby boy who is six weeks today. Yes, it gets harder with two, but oh what joy there is in having your children with you all day! Your post was so refreshing, reminding me to take it slow and treasure everyday because all too soon it will be over.

Thursday's Child said...

My son is 6 years older than the twins. He was a big help to me when they were younger and still is. When they were born we were homeschooling and it was a challenge but not the struggle that people always assumed it was.

Now big brother is in q8 visiting their dad, whose still working there, and the twins and I are enjoying spring break being home in Lebanon, just the 3 of us. They're exhausting and can drive me batty, but I wouldn't have it any other way. {They're also my extra pillows in bed this week. ;) }

Homemakers Cottage said...

Anna, I experiened similar questions when our second child and daugther, Emily, was born almost 4 years ago. She and our oldest are 2 1/2 yrs apart, and it just seemed reasonable to most people that we would enroll Amy (her big sister) in a preschool of some sort.

I have NEVER regretted keeping them both at home. Now we have 3 children, ages 6, almost 4, and almost 2, and are expecting another baby later this summer. We have a house full and, yes, sometimes a handfull! I homeschool and stay at home full time, so the kids and I are ALWAYS together.

Whenever I feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or like I can't enjoy my days at home with busy little ones, I realize it's time to reprioritize. The Lord has never failed to guide me, bless my efforts, and restore joy and peace to our bustling little home.

Kristy @ Homemaker's Cottage

Ganeida said...

I have 5, including identical twin boys. At one point I had 3 under 3 ~ & no daycare anyhow where I live.
Of course staying home with multiple children can be done. It's how our foremothers did it. What has changed is our perception of motherhood & our *rights*. Selfishness is at the root of this movement of women out of the home ~ & for the record I'm not naturally the domestic sort. Far more likely to get our ego stroked working outside the home than changing diapers & scrubbing floors & raising a generation that honours the Lord. Put in the hard yards when they are litte & do require so much physical work & you reap the rewards later during the teen years. Our children need US, not some daycare worker. That requires our TIME ~ not our money, not our resources, our time.

Keep walking the road less travelled. You will have your reward.

mhutchinson said...

Wow, what a post! So well said.

My youngest two are 14 months apart girl and boy, they are so so close. They lead eachother around by the hand all over the house and yard. They are sincere best friends, so far ;)

You can do it, it will be a joy!

I love it too! Yesterday, I went up the little hill, under the pine trees where the kids have a sleeping bag laid out to *make* their fort (they are only 3 and 4 years old)..I sat down with them and was so intrigued to see what they do up there all the time. They always go up there together and I learned their secrets! It was awesome! (and so much fun!) When's the last time you or I laid under a tree and breathed deeply-absorbing the tranquility all around us?

M said...

I agree with Lady M--Chris and I had the Boy because we wanted to HAVE him. He's ours.

And don't you think, maybe people are over-thinking it a bit...I mean, it is tiring, and it is loud and messy, but my Boy sets the pace for play, he's played with some new cups I bought for him He brings me toys and I show him how they're "supposed" to work and he corrects me and shows me how to actually play with them. We name things constantly, we read, we run, we jump out and surprise each other, we tickle and laugh and cuddle. It's not impossible by any stretch.

I can honestly say it's the funnest job I've ever had.

Gothelittle Rose said...

Hee hee, wait 'til homeschooling starts!

I'm glad to see summer coming up, honestly glad and excited. Lil Bernie will be 7 and Lil Tricia is just about one year old. Daycare would never have occurred to me. After all, what AM I here for?

Holiday is when I don't have to push the schoolwork and we can all just hang out together without the stresses of everywhere we have to be or do. I couldn't imagine waiting for holidays to end so that we could send the kids off again.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but that's hysterical! I'm so glad that poor misguided lady was talking to you and not me - I don't think I would have been able to keep from bursting out laughing.

Two small ones is as challenging as it gets. With number three it's easier, and more so with numbers four and five. (I only have five, so I don't know about six and up.) How can this be? Well, they keep getting older, and if they've been home with you, learning from you, they're more and more of a help.

Can you imagine Shira in daycare? You'd have to get up when the clock said it was time, whether you were ready or not. Then force feed her breakfast if she wasn't hungry, wake up the baby and drag him or her along to take big sister to daycare. Back at home you'd have to recover from the violent beginning to the day, and do all the housework (because of course you'd have so much time to spare with one in day care - grin). In the evening, you'd have to work dinner preparations around going to get her, hauling the baby along again. Then she'd bring home all manner of new and exciting words, behaviours and illnesses for you to suffer through!

If you're able to stay home with your own children, daycare is a ridiculous idea. I'm so glad you're able to put it all down so graciously - great post!

Rose said...

Shira and Baby T are very blessed in their parents.

messy bessy said...

Here's what I find so ironic about comments like the ones you describe: Think of even the best daycare situation. (Of course, I don't know Israel's set-up, so I'll just use US examples.) How many children are there per each "worker"? Six? Five? Or even more? (Here, I've heard of places with 10 kids per provider.)

And not only that, but here anyway, daycare work is a low-skill, low-pay job (although perhaps not in Israel). Certainly daycare workers have thorough background checks and have to truly love children and even have some training, in some places. But these jobs do not necessarily attract people with any particular education.

Why is it that daycare workers can put in long hours for low pay with far more than 2 children assigned to them each day, and still be superior to the children's mothers, who LOVE THOSE KIDS MORE and gladly do it from their hearts? Who have a HUGE vested interest in making sure that the children are polite, kind, disciplined, socially graceful, etc? Where will you find a daycare worker who lies awake in the middle of the night, stressed out because little Johnny isn't learning to share like she hopes he will?

Actually, I must confess, every time I go to the grocery store and get the alarmed questions from people who see me with 8 gallons of milk in my cart, underneath all the other food that keeps us going for a week, I am so tempted to say, "I'm the general manager of a small Catholic infant development center, but I also work in the food service department."

I could even get business cards!

Amanda said...

Bobbi, I get the same sort of pressure here in the US! So many moms I know lament the fact that their kid is 'missing out' on the social benefits of daycare. Crazy stuff for sure!

Anna, I'm expecting my second baby too! I'm due in November and while the first trimester is rough on me my 21 month old son has been such a help. He is becoming mister independent and with simple guidance from me can help a lot with simple tasks like clearing the table and putting away toys. He's even potty trained now and on occasion when he has an accident he knows the drill and tosses his wet clothes down to the basement to be washed later by me. He doesn't mind that I've slowed down either and we have some great cuddle time on the couch in the mornings :)

My sister and I are 18 months apart as well and we were so close growing up. My mother kept me home from preschool specifically to keep my sister occupied (not that I think she did right by holding me back, but it shows how much easier she found it to have two little ones rather than one). I've nannied for as many as 4 kids at once and always found it an exciting challenge, certainly not nearly as difficult as everyone makes it out to be. I'd get the most amazed and pitying looks from mothers wrangling their 1 or 2 children when they saw me at the library with 4, 2, and 5 month old boys. I enjoyed it and look forward to the day when I (God willing) have four children of my own with me each day.

Hannah in Canada said...

I completely agree with you, Anna! My sister and I are 16 months to the day apart, and have been best friends all our lives. Neither of us were ever in daycare - one parent was always home with us and my grandmother was happy to watch us. As a result, I have strong relationships with all of them. I don't think I was socially or academically hindered by being home - I entered kindergarten ahead of most of my classmates and graduated high school at the top of my class.
I'm not planning on having children for at least a few years, but when I do, I think that it's important that either I or my husband stay home with them, at least for the first few years.

Anonymous said...

Lovely, very lovely!

Analytical Adam said...

As in Christianity feminism has been a problem in religious Judaism for a long time as the male leaders sad to say would rather a woman be involved in the congregation of something else rather then be in the home being the helpmate of the husband because sad to say they are threatened by men who work and use their analytical skills and critical thinking skills in the workplace and the men in the religious skills are not allowed to develop skills to work and the women focus on this and they are allowed to have this envy of men which again leads them to make them decisions that are bad for their own children. That is why envy is considered such a serious sin and this is a double dose for honest Jewish men. Some woman feel envy that men have somewhat more control in the outside world even with gov't forcing companies to hire women and Rabbi's feel threatened by men who do work work and use their skills in the supply and demand world which requires thinking and questioning and experimenting and doing things to make things more efficient.

If feminism wasn't a problem women would want to be home with their children. I suspect many of these women are married to men who they don't really respect either which is why they don't trust their husbands to stay home with their kids.

I am depressed because most religious women have been brainwashed by feminism and are focused on a career and don't want to be for their children.

Anonymous said...

I find that when people in obviously the same condition offer a counter-intuitive point of view, they're merely shoring up for themselves that earnestness indeed is behind the rhetoric, to assure themselves that the person to whom they're talking to isn't going to bail out at the last moment when things become too difficult and trying, and that there is honest intention of dogged pursuit.

Perhaps, the mother of five was able to give some reasons why she wanted to send her older ones away, but hopefully they were issues for which you'd already decided were insignificant to the benefits of an older sister's care.

Sometimes, those who think they have a lot of experience think that those without a lot of experience need a little self-talking to confirm that plans have been made.

In any case, had someone suggested that to me if I'd had multiple children of pre-school ages, I would have been perplexed as to why it might be an advantage. (I would've said in my head, 'Are you out of your freakin' mind?) There is none closer than siblings to grow old with, unless we're dealing with separated orphans, then one has to make do with what can.

Jo said...

How did mothers cope in years gone by?? when they had many more children.

Anonymous said...

I was born in the 50's to a mother who had a career, even though my father made enough money.

I was unwanted and considered a burden, and my mother never spent any time with me or showed any interest or tenderness to me at all. I feel the effect of that to this day.

I am always wistful and envious of people who have had good and caring mothers.

God bless you and your family abundantly, Mrs. Anna. Your children and husband have a treasure in you.

FosterMama said...

Wow- I can't believe people think that way! I am at home with a 19 month old and a 10 month old right now. It was hard in the first month with 2, but that was just figuring out how everything would work with 2 babies who were so close in age. Now, it's a complete joy and I wouldn't want to be doing anything else. I cannot imagine sending one of them away for hours every day. No way-- we have too much fun!

Mrs W said...

I have three babies at home right now. I am thinking of one day a week daycare just so I can do my errands, BUT, if we can't afford it or don't want to do it, I can "handle" my three. They are 2 1/2, 19 months, and 7 months. And the two oldest are special needs, but I can still "handle" all of them at home.

Kate said...

As of late June/early July I will have a 4 year old, a 2 year old and a newborn in my home. Despite having children I am mostly able to keep up with my chores, cook delicious dinners, homeschool my oldest, garden and do yard work, exercise (when I'm not pregnant), spend a little me-time, sew, work on hobbies and house projects, and spend special time with my husband. It isn't impossible. It is just reality.

There are seasons in our lives where we can't fulfill everything on our to-do lists, and that's ok too!

Why get a dog when you're just going to stick him in a crate or kennel the whole time?

Why buy a cake you're just going to stick in the back of your fridge until is goes stale and mouldy?

Why have children if you're just going to put them in daycare for someone else to raise?

Mary said...

Isn't it a sad thing to see the way the feminist mindset has invaded our culture ? I was married in 1953 and we lived in New York City. We had our first 4 children in 6 years and thoroughly enjoyed them.

We lived in a six room apartment in a 6 story building, so the thing all the Mommies did twice each day was walk the few blocks to the park with all of their children.(for fresh air ???) We Moms sat on the benches that encircled the play area and large sand box and talked together as we kept an eye on our little ones as they happily played together.

In the years we lived there before being able to move back to our home town, I never once heard a Mom express negative thoughts about being home with her children, or even once heard a Mom criticize her husband. How blessed I was to begin Motherhood surrounded by such a positive group of women.They made motherhood a happy, joyous, creative, experience and I learned the same mindset from them.

We were a very mixed group of Mom's since most of the women had husband's who were working on their Master's degrees at nearby Columbia University. I learned SO much from those women - many of whom were from different countries. I learned that there is no set way to raise a child since all their methods seemed to work equally well. The American Moms toilet trained at 2 years, the Mom from the Netherlands said that everyone in Holland toilet trained at 1 year. Her 13 month old was completely toilet trained with no struggles and seemed very well adjusted.

It was all a very good learning experience for me. I laid down my small town mentality and enjoyed the diversity. My daughter spent the night with a Chinese friend and came home asking, "Mommie, why don't we eat soup and rice for breakfast? The Mom whose husband was German went back to Germany with him every other summer and while he studied, took a walking tour of Germany with her 4 small children, carrying her youngest in a backpack on her back.All the Moms said, "That Betsy, she's so terrific !"

The Mom from Indonesia told me how much easier it was to parent back in Indonesia where the extended family all lived in a compound and she had grandmothers, aunts and sisters to help love and care for the children and lend support.
Still, with all of their differences, they one and all enjoyed being with their children and never once considered putting one in day care.

So, Anna, enjoy your growing family. I have one daughter who has 8 children whom she home schools. The oldest is now married (and second generation homeschooling) and the others at home range from 6 years to 23 years.

They are all godly young people who have an unusually close bond with one another and the older ones have done well in college and the work force. Two of our other daughters have also home schooled -each with 4 children, and their children are doing great!

So continue swim against the tide, dear Anna, you are swimming in the right direction and blessing other young Moms as you journey.
Blessings to you and your family,
Mary L.

Val said...

As someone who doesn't have children, I can't comment on the difficulty of raising kids. I can, however, tell you that my own experience as an only child (because of health reasons - my mother almost died during her pregnancy) was sometimes lonely. While I loved having my mother at home with me, I would have thoroughly enjoyed the companionship of a sibling. Even today, in my 20s, I still wish for a sibling....I don't have that life-long friend that so many do. If my husband and I are someday blessed with children, I intend to have multiple, at home, so they can grow up together and enjoy each other's company.

Stacey said...

What a wonderful post, and of universal relevance. We do not have children, but as a retired teacher, I have had years of experience with families of differing opinions and philosophies, or usually (and sadly) no philosophy of parenting at all. It has always troubled me the number of women and couples who have children with little or no thought put into it, and without really wanting to be around them. Here where I live (in Scotland) we have one of the highest rates of teenage, unwed pregnancy in the world. Can you imagine? I never would have thought if of this little place until I came to live here and saw it with my own eyes.

You are a wise woman, and your child (soon, children!) and husband are blessed by you, I have no doubt. If only every woman (and man) would think and plan and prepare carefully for their little ones, and take the time, as you said, to invest in their little precious lives. Bless you!

Bethany Hudson said...

The comment that mother made to you is one of the most absurd things I have ever heard (says the young mother of 2 little ones under 3 at home). Sure, it's difficult, but frankly, so was college. And, having them together DOES pay off--my children adore each other! I am actually astonished at how close two babies can be when their friendship is nurtured and expected in the home. I always find these sorts of tidbits of Israeli culture that you share interesting. We have similar attitudes towards raising children in the US, but we go about it a little differently--most people just have only one or two children--and the two children are usually about 4 years apart, so that one is already in school by the time the new baby comes!

Anonymous said...

We have 3 at home right now. Ages
5, 3, and 9 months. The older ones absolutely adore their baby brother. I can't imagine sending ANY of them off to daycare!
I have never heard someone--especially a mother of a large family--say such a thing before. Wow.

I can slip into the mode of making sure my children are fed, clothed and getting enough sleep pretty easily. It's when I put my own "special time" aside that I really start enjoying my kids. When I focus more on me, the kids become more of a "chore". My children are such a blessing, though. I'm learning every day to enjoy the time we have together. Because all too soon they'll be grown and gone.


CappuccinoLife said...

Wow. What a sad thing to hear of. :( Nobody has been antagonistic to me, but I've gotten a lot of "innocent" questions from people about why my children aren't in "school" at 2 and 3 years old. "Socialization" and "academics" are hugely pushed for young ages in the US (not that it does our kids any good, from looking at the stats when they reach highschool) from the government windbags to people on the street.

Maybe having two will be hard. I know I have hard days. But the hard days are worth it and the good days are heaven. :D My olders help me with the youngers, the youngers learn from the olders, they enjoy each other, I enjoy them, and most days we get through just fine.

You can do it Anna! I'm sure your children with thrive at home with you.

Jamie said...

So true, Anna.

I had a friend tell me recently that I was the only one of her friends with small children who didn't use daycare. I was surprised.

This is not to say that I've had an easy time. Mothering can be tiring and very challenging. I have found it hugely so! But it is such an important job.

I now have two children at full time school (a 5yo and a 7yo) and one at home (a 2yo). Our older children are on school holidays at the moment. It takes us a few days at the start of each holidays to adjust to being together again full time, but I so look forward to the holidays.

There are times when I am tearing my hair out and feeling frustrated, but I love having all of us together.

Too soon, they will be making their own way in the world.

tw-us said...

Isn't it funny how we expect a daycare provider, a preschool or kindergarten teacher, or an elementary school teacher to be able to care for/teach/discipline/manage a whole room full of children, perhaps 20 or more, all of the same age, no less, sometimes without an aide, but we don't think a mother can do that for several of her own children at home, who are of different ages and able to help each other?!

Why is it that if you take care of many children OUTSIDE the home, (other peoples' children, that is) for money, it is something one is capable of doing, but a MOTHER is not capable of doing it because she is home and not paid for it? Crazy.

~Ashley~ said...

Wow. Wow.

I'm nearly speechless!

Honestly, I think in *ways* it is easier to have more children than it is just one. They play together, help each other, etc. In some ways, of course, it's more challenging ... but anything worth having is worth that challenge!

I have a 4yo, 2yo, 1yo and am due in August - I think a few days ahead of you. ~smile~

I love, love, love not being alone during the day! I get more done now with three, than I did with one. They love to help me!

But more importantly, I've gotten a wonderful chance to learn what is important and what really isn't.

The nice thing about a growing family, there is always someone who likes all parts of the meal, the edges, the center, the burnt part, the undercooked ... LOL It amuses me to watch my children swap food. We don't allow it often, but sometimes it is just so obvious because they are asking for each other's "dislikes". LOL

Simplify the areas that keep you way from your little ones. You won't regret it!


Wendy said...

This reminded me of the time when someone told me, "If you don't put your son into the Youth Group at church, he will rebel!" All I could muster in my exasperated state, was a, "No, he won't!"
Time will bear out the rightness of your choices. When your family is close in their hearts, and your children treat each other with love and respect, and can carry on a conversation with an adult and look them in the eye, people will sit up and take notice and ask you, "How did you do this? Why are you different?"
What you are doing is the destination, in a sense. Treasure every day! (Please come and read my blog--I keep thinking of things I have already written, to say here, but that would be so silly:) I hope you do come, and when you do, let me know you've visited! I extend to you and all your visitors a very warm welcome, and the cookies and coffee/tea are always out and I am always excited for you to visit.
Faith's Firm Foundation

Pinkkihelmi said...

It seems that my comment got lost..
I really appreciate your posts.

Julie said...

Oh, Mrs. Anna, I just popped in here from time away. I am so excited for you.
As a fosterparent there was a time in my life where I had two 1 year olds and a 2 year old. While a lot of work it was one of the fullest times of my life. I loved it!
Now I am expecting my first biological child with five adopted children at home from age 13-4. I often wonder if I will even see my baby except during feeding time. LOL My kids are all so anxious to meet her and help with her.
Even though your daughter is young she will be able to toddle around and help mommy. What a wonderful experience for her.
It's the same way around here. Even in the evangelical church. It's so sad. It seems like everyone wants to seperate families. Schools, churches, summer programs... My DH and I purposefully plan things to do as a family instead of everyone running off in seperate directions.