When I had my first child, there was a learning curve, but for the most part I felt like I was on vacation as I had begun staying home and with the three of us there really wasn’t much to do.
When I had my second child we bought a house and that plus a toddler and a baby kept me busy, but I felt equal to it.
When I had my third child, we were back in a cramped apartment as my husband returned to school. My oldest was now a kindergartener and I did not feel quite equal to teaching him, and having a toddler and baby in 750 square feet of space with no yard. It was then that I realized that if I was going to succeed at this I would have to step up quite a bit and simply work harder. It was also during this time that I went to a women’s enrichment class. The topic was on getting children to do chores. I was astounded by the list she handed out of what children were capable of, broken down by age. I actually raised my hand and said, “Can you honestly expect a three year old to be capable of these things?” She smiled and said hers were, because she had trained them. Well, I decided if it was all about training then I would do it. Fruit was slow in coming and it was a bit bumpy like most of my first endeavors, but I persisted.
When my fourth child was born, we were back in a house and I was working hard and I was training hard. I also began for the first time home schooling two children at two different levels, and I had a baby and a toddler. Sometimes I felt exhausted-I took a lot of naps.
When my fifth child was born, life got easier. A lot easier. Incredibly easier. My oldest two children are such a huge asset that I admit sometimes, I’d rather they didn’t spend the night at relatives quite so often. My third child is beginning to bare fruit, and my fourth is in training. I am still busy and my days are quite full, but I find everyone gets what they need, our house is reasonably clean and the children are reasonably well behaved and I am not doing all of the work. Part of it, I’m sure is that my expectations may be a little more realistic. Also, it is helpful to me that I sincerely delight in my children almost all of the time. Not through conscious training, but by example my older children have learned to delight in the younger and even my husband has been known to copy some of my phrases and tell me cute and funny things that the children have done, if I ever miss any.