One thing parents of large families are often (if not annoyingly) asked is:
“How do you DO it?”
And my direct and honest answer is…. not well.
I heard once that there are two types of large families- highly organized, and greatly disorganized. Guess which category we fall into? But, I think organization is only a component of the truth.
The thing is, I often see blogs and YouTubes and reality shows of large families who are killing it. It seems, from the well-edited snippits of life that they show, that the kids are doing really well together, and not trying to rip one another’s heads off.
That’s where I got confused. Because quite often, mine are on each other like a pack of starving wolves with a fresh kill. Not always, of course, and I wouldn’t want to throw my dear… wolves… under the bus. But really? It can get pretty chaotic around here.
I think that aforementioned “highly organized” family is the result of something else, something bigger, and more encompassing.
Now, I’m not talking about rods and switches and chore charts and motivational stickers, but the big, all consuming problem: as a family, we are running around, chasing after what we feel like doing, instead of taking care of what needs to be done, when it needs to be done.
And guess where that starts? Um…..right here.
I have never been very disciplined. Call it my personality, blame it on my upbringing (baby of the family, y’all), point to the fact that I’m a lazy, crazy lady- any way you slice it, I’ve been pretty undisciplined my whole life.
And I’m sitting here at 40, overweight, with a messy house and fighting children, looking at the things I want and have wanted to accomplish, left undone, unexplored, never sought after with any real consistent effort.
I feel like there is a lot that I’ve missed out on, because I lack quite a bit of discipline. And now, I see it affecting my children. And that’s not good.
Yesterday, we embarked on a new focus to enforce some consequences on a particular child who pretty much ignores much of what is asked of him. While we’ve read a crazy amount of books and spoken to numerous people and tried all sorts of “plans”, the bottom line is, this particular child hasn’t had a reason to fulfill what was asked of him. He hasn’t been reminded on a regular basis that when he doesn’t do “x”, the consequence is going to be regrettable.
We’re setting him up for a pretty miserable existence, then.
I do think, however, that there is more to learning discipline, than just avoiding the negative things you want to avoid. After all, by being disciplined, there is so much that is good and enjoyable that you can have access to, whether its a clean room to play in, a fitter body to run after children with, or just having a personality that people want to be around.
Its tough to teach a lesson to your children that you need to teach yourself as well. But hopefully, but attacking this head on, I can show my kids that yes, you can change for the better. Maybe I can set an example of recognizing my faults, and doing something to change them. Hopefully, I can give them tools to help them live a good, no… great life.
The next question is, of course, how? Have you found yourself in place where you needed to discipline yourself more? How did you overcome that darned inertia?