Yesterday in the ladies room at church, I met a mom who was pregnant with her third child. She had a boy and a girl and noticed I had a handful (well almost, we had four instead of five). :) She asked if I ever get the comment that I have enough. I said yes. She said she especially heard it since she already had the "perfect combo" (a boy and a girl), why have more?
An older lady heard our conversation and came over and asked me how many children I planned to have. I told her I wasn't sure. She asked "As many as the Lord gives?" And I said yes.
She then went on to tell me a most sad tale of how she was one of seven children, and none of them got along. In fact one of her brothers had died a few weeks ago and they just found out when another brother was reading the obituary on an airplane newspaper. How her mother and father didn't really like children, so she was left to be cared for by her 14 year old brother, who resented taking care of a baby, so he abused her.
My mom is one of nine children. Her mom too didn't really like having so many children (I know she liked children because she did like us). So my mom ended up caring for her younger brother (who is only 3 years older than I am). My mom did not like seeing her mom "miss out" on so much. Her mom really wanted to travel and never got the chance to. I hear from my mom all the time how I should be done having children (especially now that we have our boy - as if the only reason we had children was to get a boy). The the more I have the less I am able to do fun things (obviously she has not spent a lot of time with us because we have a LOT of fun - maybe I should invite her over for a tickle wrestling match or a pillow fight).
My husband is one of three, and they all fought and really hated each other growing up. Still fight to this day, even though both are Christian!!!
Then I hear other stories of families with 5, 6, 8, 10 children who all get along and love each other and are happy and look forward to having large families of their own. So it is not the number of children that makes a difference in how the children get along. So what is the difference? I really think it is in the mother's attitude.
I know from my mom and from the lady in the bathroom that their mom's did not like having children. My husband's mother had the attitude of raise them up and get them out - I want to get back to the privacy of loving my husband. She had put her husband so far first that the children felt unloved and unwanted (there does need to be a balance between putting your husband above your children and LOVING YOUR CHILDREN).
Are your children fighting all the time? Might you subconsciously be conveying to them that you would rather be doing something else? Are you unconsciously regretting giving up things? Or maybe, you spend so much time doing other things (like scrapbooking, reading or computer time) that your children think you would rather be doing anything than being their mother?
Remember our children go more by our ACTIONS than our words. You may not MEAN to convey a message of "this is my time leave me alone," but if you are seeing your children withdrawal from you, if you are seeing them fight with one another, stop and think about what actions you are doing throughout the day. Are you doing more actions WITH your children or without them?
Our children want TIME with us. Curled up reading a book on the couch. Tickle fights. Pillow fights. Blowing bubbles. Running in the grass together. These things cost nothing in the way of money, but cost a lot of our time and devotion to our children. It is dying to self. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Yes, I love digital scrapbooking, and I love reading books, and I love antique shopping. But right now, those things are to be done with a minimal amount of time.
And when they are done, they need to be done WITH the children. If I want to read a book, read it aloud to them OR have them read their own book quietly next to me. When I digital scrapbook, I have the child whose page I am doing near me and help me pick colors and papers, and I read what I wrote them. Then I print it out and put it in THEIR book (that is just one more reason I love digital scrapbooking, a page for them AND a page for me). I am just learning about antiquing (thank you Kat for sharing!) and can hardly wait to actually go out on a hunt with one of the girls!
Most of my time right now is spent with them training them. We cook together and clean together (although I will admit I need to do MORE of this). And when I am not training them, we are schooling (which is really just real life together - like reading books, learning what bird is in the backyard, gardening - which we are starting this year, etc.). The rest of the time is spent playing. Bubbles, tickles, giggles, balls, pillows!!! :)
I hope this will encourage you to check your heart and see if there are any areas in need of improvement. I know that after writing it, I see lots of areas I can improve and have felt very convicted! Time for some changes! I hope this has encouraged you.