Yesterday, when I was talking to a couple different friends, I realized something. One of them said I'm making parenting four children look easy. And I don't know if I've portrayed this experience well. The challenge isn't in parenting each child, but in bringing each component into the whole picture. The challenge is how differently I have to parent each child.
The rugrats are easy. They need basic logistical care, but not constant detail. Homework, feeding, cleaning, clothing, laundry. Stuff I mostly understand. And their needs are pretty simple, and the complications easy to solve.
Then I have a teenager. And he's a good kid, but I'm done with logistics, mostly. If I never cooked for him again, he wouldn't starve. He does most of his own laundry. I have no idea if his room is clean because I've stopped going in there. Heh. But I'm not done parenting him yet! This period is Life Skills. And it's not easy, but it's WAY important. Does he know how to treat a girl? Does he know how to use a checkcard? Can he apply for and maintain a job? Can he safely drive a car? Is he ready to be on his own in two short years?? It's easy to give him the least attention right now because he can survive without me. But I am constantly reminding myself how important these next couple years are in skills he'll desperately need when he leaves our nest.
Now throw a newborn in the mix, I double dog dare you. Everyone knows the attention and time a newborn eats up.
So am I busy? YEP. Am I tired? Absolutely. But I'm so doggone happy and feel so fulfilled. Some days I'm going to chase my tail all day and hope I don't make anything worse. But most days, I'm going to make a difference. I'm going to continue to give these kids the tools they need to be successful adults. And, I hope, I'm going to squeeze in a nap.