The other day, a friend at work shared that she’d finally made the hard decision to pull her son out of competitive swim. He had been complaining about daily practices for weeks, and she was over the arguing. She is open to re-evaluating in the spring, but for now her son will come home from school each day to just homework and neighborhood friends. I cheered for her.
The other day, a friend at church shared that she’d finally made the hard decision to pull her son out of private school and send him to his neighborhood school instead. Although his siblings had enjoyed time at the private school, it didn’t feel like a good fit for this particular child. She told me they’d decided as a family to take things school year by school year. I cheered for her.
I feel like there’s this pressure as parents to give our children the world, especially the world we didn’t have. Maybe it’s the defensive large family mom in me. People might assume we’re too busy or too poor to engage in the type of lifestyle smaller families do. That assumption doesn’t offend me. Time and money are always a constraint, no matter the number of children. I’m not here to defend our choices on either. But still, I want my kids to grow up grateful. I want them to understand how other kids live, both across the world and across the street. Everyone doesn’t have what we have. Everyone doesn’t do what we do. Some families have and do more, and some have and do less. I want us to be okay right in the middle.
My bonus boys are both playing football this season, and I like the fact that our entire family can be at each event. I don’t want to spend my days split up and driving all over town. Even with six kids, it’s important to my marriage that Chris & I avoid a zone defense when possible. Therefore, our younger kids don’t play soccer or take dance lessons or attend play groups yet. Instead, they hang out with each other, on the sidelines of their older brothers’ games. I’d love to put them in their own activities someday, and maybe that day is coming soon. But it’s not right now, and that’s okay.
My bonus boys are beginning to figure out who they are, what they like, and who they represent. They’re developing personal tastes and personal convictions, and it’s a joy to watch. They’re the ones with the iPhones and the wish lists and the new sneakers. Therefore, our younger kids wear second-hand clothes and enjoy a lot of free entertainment. Someday, they’ll have their own iPhones and wish lists and new sneakers. But it’s not right now, and that’s okay.
Moms, hear me say that it’s okay to be right in the middle. You don’t have to go broke or crazy saying yes to everything for your children. It’s okay to say no. Brush your shoulders off. You’re doing a great work, right where you are. Right there in the middle.