Some people say "Wow, that's a lot of kids." And twelve is a lot. However, if we only have 8 at home, and they are the right 8, the whole thing is a breeze. Or, if we have a certain combination of kids together, it's like a picnic in the park -- but get the wrong combination and it's like an explosion and the whole family is stressed and tense.
However, I think that in every group of kids there are going to be some that act up and if our most difficult children weren't here, that others would rise to the occasion and cause a problem or two. So I don't have any big dreams about how it would all work out better if we didn't have these particular kids. In fact, compared to a lot of the families we know, we're doing OK, all things considered.
This morning was one of those mornings when the wrong combination was set up and it has not been pretty. I'm stressed and frustrated and am trying to regulate my breathing and calm myself down before we head for church. I recognize that if I don't maintain some sense of inner calm, that the whole thing is going to escalate.....
I do a keynote (which by the way, I'm doing in Fargo the end of this month and I just found out in Indiana in November) and the bottom line when it is all said and done is -- change yourself cuz they kids may not be able to change.... ever. And the constant struggle to make them do what we as parents want them to do is what kills us. I'm not saying not to have the right expectations or to stop trying, but it's the consistent insistence on results for our efforts that stresses us out. When I find myself getting mega stressed I picture my future as the psychiatrist in What About Bob drooling and in Depends at a pscyh hospital because he tried to change someone he could not change.
Fortunately for me (and for my kids) I'm learning some ways to keep myself from getting all worked up. Hopefully I"ll remember them this morning.