Sooo...John got a voicemail this afternoon. It went something like this..."Hi, this is Steve Williams from ABC radio in San Fransisco CA KGO810am..." Huh?
"We're doing a story on large families and we were reading your wife's blog..." What?
"And we'd like to do an interview..." No stinkin' WAY!
"So if you could call us back at some point this afternoon..."
Needless to say... I called.
Feel free to click on the link to here my interview!
Another cool thing is that one of my very best friends, Stephanie Johnson, (Sorry! Her blog is private.) called in and spoke to Mr Gross too!
As for all of the rest of the show, I really wish I had been able to stay on and respond to some of the comments made by the other guest and callers. So here are some of my thoughts:
Can you really give 8 children the attention they deserve? ABSOLUTELY! It will be HARD. It will be EXHAUSTING! But... it IS possible. It is SO important to treat each and every child as an individual. One of the things that John and I do is "date nights" not just with each other, but with our kids. We take turns taking individual kids out with us. John may take one of the girls to dinner or I might take one of the boys shopping for clothes, just the two of us. We also have father/son and mother/daughter days. Just last night, I took our Ammon to buy crickets at the pet store for his lizard. We were there for over an hour talking about all the lizards and amphibians... and the fact that he wants a chameleon for his next pet! (We'll discuss that one later, Ammon!)It was time well spent.
We also make it a point to allow the children to have special time with their extended family. Nana and Papa will often pick up a child or two and take them fishing or out to lunch...depending on the particular child's interests. Those relationships are SO important!
As for providing "everything they need"... That is an interesting question. I think that far to many people think that children NEED a lot more than they actually do. Children need love. Children need a full tummy and clean respectable clothing. They need a mother and father that love them and teach them what is right and wrong. They need a comfortable (though not ornate) home. Children do NOT need name brand clothing. They do NOT need to go see every new movie that comes out. They do not need the newest game system or the car that will be bought for them on their 16th birthday.
As a family, we are lucky enough to be able to provide more than the basic necessities, but we make it a point not to do it all of the time. If we teach our children, through example, not to over indulge, then perhaps it will be easier in their adult years to maintain self control and stay out of debt. That also makes the times that we HAVE to say "no" a lot less painful.
In response to the email from Cathlene... I also believe that "family planning" is important. I PLANNED my family from the time that I was 12. ;) All joking aside... While I do believe it is important to preserve the earth and maintain it "responsibly", I do not believe that eradicating the world of the human race is a very "responsible" way to protect it. Even if you aren't christian, preserving a planet that no one is living on to enjoy, makes very little sense.
It truly broke my heart to hear Fran speak about his childhood. I am truly sorry that he felt so left out growing up. I couldn't imagine one of my children being gone for more than 20 minutes and me not searching them out to find out what they're up to! We (John and I) also try to make it a point to allow each child to have their own belongings and a space of their own... no one sleeps in the hallway. (but they would do it joyfully if it were necessary) I am also sorry that he never received the one on one attention that I spoke of earlier. But I think it is important to point out that you can have poor parenting in any situation, whether you have 1 child or 10. Unless parents make a consistent, concerted effort to give their children the love and attention they need, they can (and will) grow up feeling left out.
When the woman called in shortly after Fran my face got red hot. I have to say that I resented the implication that my oldest daughters raise my younger ones. My girls are as "little girl" as possible! They play, and run, and jump on the trampoline. They have chores, and violin/karate lessons, and school work.
To help prevent that kind of thing in our home, we have a standing rule. If I tell a child to do something, they do it. But they know that if I ask "Would you mind...?", they are allowed to so "Yes I would because...". Trust me, they have exercised that right on more than on occasion! The important thing to remember as a parent of a large family, is that I am the one that chose to have all of these babies, not them.
It irritates me that people assume that older siblings are always forced to raise the younger ones just because they "knew a large family" once. When I was in my teen years, I had a very good friend that was being violently abused by both of her parents...and she was an only child. I don't assume that every family that only has one child is abusing their one child.
It all comes down to this. As a mother, I am constantly second guessing myself. I am constantly wondering what my children are going to be speaking to their counselors about in their adult years. Parenting is a learning process. Do I screw up? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT! But I always try to make it right. I show my children that I love them every day and ask for forgiveness if it is needed. That is what we do as parents. We hope... and try... and do our best...and PRAY... a LOT!