Now, let’s be very clear before I continue this conversation. I am in no way encouraging “neglecting” children with this list. However I am telling you the amount of breathing space increases and the over anxious ridden mommying decreases with each child.
By the time my youngest came around, my first “baby”, I had been exposed to children more than most. The oldest of seven, with four foster(at the time) kids, I was pretty ready in my own book.
When he came, I marveled at his little toes and huge hands. I watched him sleep, I nursed him as he wanted and I cried at milestones. But…I wasn’t the same as other first time moms. More friends began having babies and I saw a trend. I didn’t whip out the doctors number immediately for the sniffles; I didn’t carry four containers of germ-ex. I was diagnosed with some pretty intense postpartum depression and anxiety, so I did watch him sleep..but I honestly watched everyone sleep those days.
With this realization it hit me-this baby, while my “first” baby, was my fifth child; and by number five, parents are parenting differently. And it inspired this post(and the sister post, “5 Things You START Caring About by the Fifth Kid”..coming soon!)
1. Germs! Yes, germs are very important things to be aware of; they are very dangerous and illnesses as an infant can be life altering. However…by number five? No one has time to carry the Germ-Ex around in their diaper bag. When we had three in diapers, there wasn’t even room to imagine it in there
2. Dirt! Oh my lanta, ask me how many times I’ve had someone tell me I need to put my son back on the darn blanket outside. Why does he need to be on the blanket?! He’s a rough and tough country boy, ladies and gents. He’ll be eating dirt before we know it-in fact I’ve already had to stop that a few times.
3. “Sleep when the baby sleeps.” This can be great advice for a new mama, yes, it’s really a good plan to try and sleep while your baby sleeps. But new parents usually don’t have four other kids they have ton feed, help with homework, and run after. Napping while the baby naps? No, my dear friend. That time is spent with the other children
4. “Well-Rounded Meals” People who know me may blink at this one, because I usually make my kids eat meals that are pretty well rounded…but when Bug came, that was not always true. There were weeks where my kids had three nights of sandwiches, simply because that time came around and I was too tired to consider throwing together meals. Cooking for seven is infinitely harder than cooking for three.
5. Limited Screen Time. Don’t get me wrong, y’all. I get where this idea comes from, I appreciate the belief we should keep kids from watching too much television or send them outside instead of allowing them to play on the computer. I truly do. But limited screen time has become somewhat competitive within the “crunchy parenting” community. “I only allow an hour of screen time a month, none before age ten, we always do crafts on rainy days.” Well, praise the good Lord you spend time with your child. But trust me, when husband, number one, and two are gone, you’re left alone with a 5 and 3 year old and throwing up the third time from morning sickness…you give up on the “no screens” and turn on Disney. At least I did. And it’s okay if you do too.
Keep having those babies mamas, and you can get to the point where you no longer need to worry about the germs and the dirt! Or stop at one and you don’t need to worry how you’re making it to all their parent teacher conferences in the same day!
Stay tuned for part two, coming later this week!
What about you parents out there? What did you find yourself not worrying about as you increased your family size?