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I am a 29-ish yr old married mother of 8. My family is my life and I wouldn't have it any other way. My darling husband is my very best friend and together we are raising 8 of the best kids in the world! They are Rose(12) Sarah(12) Ammon(10) Malachi(8) Gabriel(7) Hannah(5) Maggie(4) and Abbie(3) We currently own 2 dogs, 1 bird, 5 chinchillas, 1,000,000 rabbits, 1 cat, 4.5 horses, and one ferret. We just purchased a home that is definately a "fixer-upper", with land and room for the kids to roam. Our goal is to run a mostly self sustaining farm and live in peace as we grow as a strong family unit. We have seen our fair share of hardships, but we are thankful for the many blessings the Lord gives us on a regular basis!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Some thoughts on the oldest Child...

Having been the youngest child I never really understood the stigma of the "oldest child". But now, with so many little ones, I see what they mean.

My Rosie is my oldest child. I know that we are hard on her (we are hard on all of our children)and sometimes I feel horribly guilty. I find myself busy all the time and lets be honest, sometimes I just need an extra pair of hands. At what point do you cross the line between teaching responsibility and taking advantage.

It seems like such a simple thing to say "Rosie run upstairs and get Maggie out of her crib" or "Rosie could you feed Maggie while I make lunch?" But what am I telling her when I ask those things? What goes through her mind? I wish I knew. Sometimes I wonder if I'm saying "Rosie I feel like being lazy and shirking my responsibility...you take over for a while."

She smiles and does it. But sometimes I notice she's not to happy about it. That's when I 'm really torn. What do I do then? Do I tell her that she only has to help when she feels like it? I don't exactly feel like that's sending the right message. Your not supposed to help out just when you feel like it. In fact one of our favorite family sayings is "Helping is about doing what other people need you to do not what you WANT to do"

On the other hand, if I make her do it anyway, am I causing animosity between her and her siblings? Am I causing Rosie to loath the responsibility of motherhood. Will she grow up and not want a family at all because of how much work it is?Don't get me wrong Rose is not the only one of my children that is expected to help me. Even Hannah has been asked to grab the phone when my hands are otherwise in use. But the natural tendency is to ask "the oldest child" first.

These are just some thoughts going through my brain so that I can sort them out. I don't have the "all knowing answer" I don't have any funny puns or jokes to add so that the whole thing comes together. I am waiting for my "Ah-ha" moment! (Sigh...)

7 comments:

Brad Phillips said...

Well, let me tell you my experience with it, it may not be the standard, simply what I have gone through.

Malinda was the worst housekeeper, and was incredibly lazy in that regard. Why? She was pretty much burnt out on that from years of being the oldest and having to take care of everything else. I hear she is better now.

Then there's Cali, the oldest and a complete opposite from Malinda. Perhaps Cali's advantage was that Shiloh was close enough in age to help out as well and the fact that Darryl and Cindy would split the chores equally among the seven children to the best of that child's capability.

If it really concerns you, there's always Sarah :) the beauty in having twins. Ammon is old enough to feed the baby while you make lunch, don't forget about him just because he's a boy ;)

Stephanie said...

Children are naturally a little bit selfish, so it's natural for them to feel annoyed when they have to put off what they want to do for a responsibility. It's good for them to experience it. Makes for practical life experience. If you worry about animosity between siblings because of the needed help, you could always ask her to take over making lunch or whatever so you can tend to the sibling in need. Or give her the choice of which way she wants to help you. Families are meant to be teams. By teaching your children to contribute to the whole family, you are giving them the skills they will need to be better spouses when they are adults instead of the run of the mill self centered spouse that only does what is in their best interest and has a rough or failed marriage because of it.

John Leschorn said...

Hey I know...Ammon can certainly hold his own...As long as I don't ask any of them to change diapers, I guess I'm one step ahead.
Sarah has a lot of chores too but Rosie seems to be my "go to" girl. She is much more dependable in that regaurd. I can have her cover pretty much any thing that I can't do at the moment...We're still working on all the other kids.

Cali & Travis said...

As an oldest child I can tell you this, Rose will definitely survive the experience. But I think BJ hit it on the head. The key is to split responsibilities between all of the children as they get old enough for them. It's very easy to call on the oldest child because they'll reach those ages of resposiblities first. She might resent it sometimes, but she'll grow from it.

One caution, remember she is still a child. Sometimes when you have a very mature child it encourages you to put more responsibility on their shoulders. For some oldest children (like me) we even take responsibility that isn't ours upon us. That's dangerous for someone so young. Allow her time and opportunity to just be a kid. (That way she won't get an ulcer at the age of 10 years old from worrying about how her parents are going to pay the power bill this month or buy necessary school supplies.)

leschornmom said...

Cali and BJ, thanks for your insite. I am very careful to TRY to remember that my kids are kids. But I also forget from time to time. I completely understand what you mean about the mature child! That is my ROSE! There have been times when I have concidered letting her baby sit while I make a quick run to the grocery Store but then I remind myself that she is ONLY 9.
PS Cali, I don't think you have to worry about being a good Mom! :D

leschornmom said...

BJ. I was thinking about what you said about Melinda. I know she had the "knowledge" required to maintan a home. I could tell that from a few of the conversations we had.
But, there is a second part to that. I want my children (especially my girls) to have the "JOY" too. I want them to WANT to be mothers and keepers of their home. I am trying to avoid the "burn out" that you are refering to. Because I see that as a real problem for many mothers.
In my life I have had the exact opposit problem from her... I have had the desire but not the knowledge. I'm trying to teach my girls both.

Darryl and Cindy said...

I would answer your questions, but I think Cali and BJ did it for me. Don't worry Erica, you will know when it is time to start passing these responsibilities down the line. Your children will be better adolescents, teenager and adults for what they about serving others in your home. I love you kiddo!