I sometimes cringe when people ask me how many children we have. I mean, you never know what their response will be, once they hear that we parent and co-parent a collective of four kids. We’ve heard it all. From the “don’t you guys own a TV” (do you know that co-parent means we didn’t physically birth four kids together?) to “yoh, you guys are crazy!” (Thanks)
Most of them shake their heads in disbelief (because it’s like, sooo shocking, and stuff) and say “wow, that’s a lot!” I guess they’re referring to the fact that they don’t know where we get the time, energy and money from, to rear four children. “How do you do it?!” They’d ask, with big eyes. And my response would probably always be a shoulder shrug followed by “I don’t know either” or “must be the Lord!”
Now, I know that most people mean well and probably can’t help for their reaction. This post is not about that.
This post is about their replies when I say I don’t know how I do it. They would then usually tell me that we make it look easy and we’re so blessed and that I’m such a super woman and we are great parents and all of that.
And it’s ’round about this time that my eyes glaze over and I begin to hear montage music, as replays of my life flash before me.
Sorry, I’m not trying to insinuate that their kind words are insincere. It’s just that most days, I don’t feel like a super woman and I find it hilarious when people say that we make it look easy. I mean, hilarious in a non-funny way. Because it’s not. It’s NOT EASY.
It’s not easy being the parent of two small kids under the age of 5, while co-parenting two other kids who are nearing adulthood at an alarming pace. It can be heavy, emotionally (especially the co-parenting gig) and yep, co-parenting means we don’t have the full responsibility of raising the kid, but it doesn’t make it any easier yo.
It’s not easy when you have to make sure you’re distributing love evenly and consistently, to all kids, even though one of them does not live with us and two of them don’t even refer to us as “mom” and “dad”.
It’s not easy when you literally don’t have time for each other. Like, I’m not just saying so because it’s a cool thing to say on a blog. The last time I even sat next to my husband was probably at the doctor’s surgery a few weeks ago. No jokes.
And guys, try raising a 2 year old and a 4 year old without the help of screen time and copious amounts of mini cheddars, while having a successful career of sorts and a clean house. Not easy! (Yes, I’m raising processed food eating hermits. Somebody call Oprah.)
It takes a lot of balance and planning and pre-planning, when it comes to working out school fees and food and clothes and extra-mural activities and how to get everyone from point A to point B (by the way, we still have no car! It’s especially exhilarating) and to still find time for yourself in the middle of it all.
But more than that, it can be challenging to not lose yourself, in the mix. I often have to remind myself of the point of it all… that this story is bigger than me and my ego and how I feel.
So when people refer to me as a super woman, I can’t help but want to point out all the ways that I feel like I’m failing as a mother and wife, daily. The term “super woman” feels like a fraudulent statement… as if they’re only seeing the shiny side of the coin. And I wonder if my positive outlook on life falsely advertises a challenging lifestyle by, you know, passing it off as easy, doable and without trial.
Can you successfully rear a big family, in this day and age? Sure you can! Are you able to raise well-balanced kids even though half of them did not originate from both you and your husband’s loins? Yep, that’s a definite!
But I don’t want to be the one, out here, selling false hopes and pipe dreams. It’s not easy and I’m not a super woman. We are not super, duper people who can do no wrong on the parenting front. In fact, we’re just ordinary people (I know, John Legend should pay me royalties for pimping his song this much). And we would be a hot mess without our faith and our constant drive to live our lives on purpose, with purpose.
So there you have it. How do we do it? Well, the truth is that we’re not the ones “doing it”… and that’s why it works. Like, honestly you guys, if I didn’t have Jesus as my firm foundation, I would probably be in a mental asylum right now (or still partying my life away, in a mini skirt and hooker heels).
Through all of the dips and peaks of parenting our brood, I’ve found myself clinging to God, because honestly, He is my only constant. People fail you and hurt you and make living life even harder than it should be. Things fall apart, you guys. Tomorrow is not promised. Success (or our perceived version of it) is fleeting. But God’s promises for us are timeless, never changing and faithful. It’s the only surety we have. Clinging to the rock that is higher than I is the only way I know to survive.
And that’s how I do it.