To Everything There Is A Season

A Time For Every Purpose Under Heaven

A blog about raising a young family and keeping Christ at the center of it.

The Cyrs

The Cyrs
Photo Credit: Rachel Dewhurst

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Time to Get Some Help Around Here!

I don't have to tell you how overwhelming it can feel when house work, yard work and laundry all pile up! Whether you have no children or 10, everyone falls behind and everyone feels like the work that needs to get done around the house is too much for one person. I feel like that pretty much on a daily basis. It can be very discouraging to spend a few hours cleaning only to have it look like you didn't do anything 10 minutes later because 6 kids make a lot of mess! 

Now that we have "older kids" we have the benefit of help around the house. We don't HAVE to do it all. Part of raising kids is teaching them. Teaching them to not only work hard but how to do that work by having them work beside you. It takes a lot of time and and patience on the parents part to train kids how to do things before they get to a point where they are able to do it on their own. But in the end every parent who does it will tell you it is worth the effort. Not only for the extra help it gives us but for the character it instills in the kids.

 My kids are normal kids...they would much rather play then work. Sometimes there is something we are doing that they want to help with and get excited about but a lot of times we have to force them to help. Whining to get out of work is not tolerated and neither is complaining about the work. Teach your kids to do everything with a happy heart because in the real world there are a lot of things they will have to do that they won't like and is there anything more annoying than a whiny and complaining adult who refuses to work?! Start them young!
All the kids (except Tess of course) have their nightly chore. Noah sweeps, Owen washes the table, Gabe washes the chairs (kids get chairs SOOO dirty, I had no idea!), Will sets the table for dinner and Jena picks up the toys on the main floor before bed. This is what is expected of them nightly. Once a week they have to bring down their laundry, except Jena because she's too little to carry it down, and they have to tidy up their rooms. And no, they do not get an allowance for this. Everyone has their different opinion on this and you have to do what works for you but our opinion is that they are a part of this family and need to pitch in without expecting a reward in return. 

Then there are the extras. Things that we ask them to do when there is down time, a rainy
day or we just need the extra help. For example today it was raining and they spent a lot of the morning watching a movie and playing their DS. So I put the boys to work in the afternoon while the girls napped. They had to wash down all the walls throughout the house. This is something I like to do a couple times a year. Gabe even did all my kitchen cupboards! Just give them a bucket of water with some pine sol and some rags and they are good to go. It's an easy task and one that I particularly appreciate having get done. Now don't think I sat back and watched. I was washing the floors while they did this. The best way to teach your kids to have a good work ethic is to lead by example. If you just sit back and watch them work while you delegate they will learn to resent work and likely, you too. 
Jena has always loved helping to unload and load the dishwasher. She started this when she was 2. I keep my dishes in a lower cupboard so the kids CAN help with this and with setting the table. Everything they need is in their reach. She is super at doing this job and more than capable. Of course the boys are able to help with this too and they do sometimes. We also have them help with yard work. The other day all of us went out and weeded my flower gardens. Ben taught Gabe to safely use clippers so now he loves to clear the borders of our rock walls of unwanted small trees and weeds. One of the big jobs we have that Ben has taught Noah and Owen is piling wood. We heat with wood so every year there is wood to be piled. Last fall the two of them piled 3 chords of wood by themselves and they did a great job! Ben did pay them for this because it was a big help to him, they worked everyday after school till the job was done and they did with a happy heart. 
These are just some examples of how we have been teaching the kids to work. Are there
times we get frustrated? Yes! Are there times we think we could do it faster if they were just off playing? Yes! But we know the time we are investing in them now will only be a benefit to them in the future. I encourage you if you have not yet started training your kids to work to do so now! You will not regret it! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Time for a Public Service Announcement!

I don't often rant or complain but the following advice I feel will be most helpful. If not for you, then for me! I'm really not sure when the following questions became appropriate in our society but after 7 pregnancies and conversations with friends who have been pregnant I realize these are common occurrences (though some questions only happen after you reach a certain number) and I feel I have a responsibility to inform the public on their inappropriateness.

1. Can I rub your belly?
If you would not ask a woman who isn't pregnant to touch her why would you think it's ok to ask a pregnant woman? Honestly it has never tempted me to touch a pregnant woman's belly...EVER. I do not understand some people's fascination with this. Maybe some women don't mind, maybe some even HOPE you'll ask but I am not one of them. In my first pregnancy I had no idea how to handle this. I was uncomfortable but didn't want to be rude. I'm over that now. I'm not mean about it but if I don't know you I politely say no and walk away. If I know you, then usually I'll say ok...but understand that I would prefer you didn't. 

2. How much weight have you gained? (and other similar questions)
I realize we live in a society that encourages near anorexia and that doesn't seem to go away for a pregnant woman. There is a lot of pressure to only gain a few pounds and then lose it all 5 minutes after delivering. No consideration is taken as to how a woman carries, how big the baby is, etc. We should all be the same, look the same and if you managed to only gain 5 pounds I should be able to do the same too. Any woman who has been pregnant knows this is unfair and yet we judge still. I happen to be one of those people who does not gain a ton of weight during pregnancy. Part of it is that I lose so much in the beginning because I get sick and I get pregnant pretty quick after having a baby so there's always plenty of extra weight to lose. The metabolism boost of another human sucking every calorie that enters my body helps me lose weight too. If I had the metabolism I have when I'm pregnant after I deliver I'd be a stick. Even at my 32 week check up yesterday I was down a pound from my last
visit. But to look at me you would think I am lying. I've included and very unflattering picture of my very pregnant self to prove it (you're welcome!). I'm all belly and look like I've gained 50 lbs when actually I am only 1 lb heavier than I was before I got pregnant. So now that you know please stop asking me how much weight I've gained, if I'm sure it's not twins and if I'm positive the Dr.'s got my due date right. 

3. Are you done having kids?
I'm sure equally inappropriate is the question to those without kids, "when are you going to have kids?" Let me just say that when my family and close friends ask me this question it usually doesn't bother me if it's asked out of genuine wonderment rather than judgment. When the complete stranger ahead of me in the check-out line asks, yes, it bothers me. Whether or not a person is done having kids is not anyone's business. My having kids has no affect on anyone but Ben and I and the kids we already have. We take care of our own. We are not using tax-payer dollars to raise them, we don't outsource them to the grandparents or other family members-we do the work and are not burdening others to help us raise our brood. So really whether or not we will have more should be of no concern to anyone. And it's really no use asking us because we have no idea anyway if we are done or not so usually our answer is vague and uncertain. 

4. How big is your house?
Are you surprised this is even on the list? I am! This pregnancy is the first one where both Ben and I have EVER been asked this question...and on multiple occasions. To me it's in the category of questions like, "how much money do you make?" or "how much did you pay for
your house?". Most people have the etiquette to know you just don't ask those questions. Each time I've been asked I've not been sure what to say. I still don't know what to say. I find it such a strange question to ask. First of all whether or not a house is "big" is usually a subjective thing. What is big to one might not be to another. All I can say is there is room for all of us.

5. You know what causes that right?
Ok so you know the list wouldn't be complete if I didn't add that question because you KNOW we are hearing it often. Just about every time we leave the house. When people say it to try and be funny, I'll laugh along and be a good sport. It's the ones who say it to imply we have been irresponsible that really bother us. And truly more often than not that is the way the question is being presented to us. I don't get nearly as upset about it as Ben does. If there is anything that bothers him its this question! So without exhausting the subject I'll end it with this tip: Its inappropriate to imply ANY pregnancy should not have happened and could/should have been prevented. For a long time I struggled with just the right way to answer...till yesterday. I was reading a blog and the woman had a list of clever answers to this question. My favorite: "yes we do and now I make sure to wash our underwear separately!". LOVE IT! Just don't know I'd have the guts to actually say it!

So there you have it. My list of inappropriate questions to ask a pregnant lady. I'm sure there are others that many of you have encountered...and I'd love to hear them.