Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Let them be little

I've been thinking a lot about parenting lately.
I talked with close friend the other day who is strongly opposed to large families.
She thinks it is neglect to have so many kids that you cannot give adequate attention to each one.  
She came from a large family and did not enjoy it.

I came from a large family and I loved it.  My mom has 6 kids, and my Dad and his wife have another.  My step-dad also has 6 kids.
I am the oldest and I loved it.  I love each of my siblings.  Being the oldest, I love them in a motherly kind of way.  When my mom was spread too thin, I helped.  I loved always having a baby at home.  I've had a carseat in my car for as long as I can remember.  When I had my own children, I felt ready for it.

I have three children already, but I know that we will have more.  I want a big family and so does my husband.  While I do not agree with my friend about big families being "neglect", I do want to make sure that if I have a big family, I do it right.  I want to focus on what's most important and I want each of my children to feel that I love them individually.

“If I had my had my child to raise over again:
I’d build self-esteem first and the house later
I’d finger paint more and point the finger less
I would do less correcting and more connecting
I’d take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes
I would care to know less and know to care more
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites
I’d stop playing serious and seriously play
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars
I’d do more hugging and less tugging
I’d see the oak tree in the acorn more often
I would be firm less often and affirm much more
I’d model less about the love of power
And more about the power of love.
~ Diane Loomans

One of my friends took a parenting class at BYU Education week a few years ago, and we had a discussion afterwards that has really stuck with me.  She said that parenting young children is about helping them find joy in life.  It's not about making sure that they can read by the time they are 3, or are competing in professional sports as soon as they can walk...it's about JOY.

I don't mean to discount the importance of education or any other interest (my boys love sports!), but the most important part of being a child, is loving life.  It seems that expectations are getting harder to achieve, and we are placing them on our children younger and younger.

“Everybody today seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater developments and greater riches and so on, so they have very little time with their parents. Parents have very little time for each other, and in the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world.

- Mother Theresa

I talked to our pediatrician recently about some of Saxon's emotional outbursts.  He reminded me to make sure to praise Saxon.  Help him to know how important he is, how good he is, and how much we love him.  Then, our emotional bank account is full, so that when I need to draw from it and discipline him, it doesn't upset the balance.  He still knows that I love him.  And...he will start looking for attention in positive ways if we show him that he can get attention for being good.

I love the song "Let them be little" by Billy Dean
"So let them be little 'cause they're only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love everyday
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little."

I think of this song a lot because my kids are always sneaking into the middle.
I put them in their beds, and I wake up to them climbing into mine.
When I get annoyed, this song usually runs through my head and I think that if I don't let them sleep in the middle sometimes, one day I will be sad.  Because they won't always be little, and they won't always want to sleep in the middle.

Last week we spent a day at the beach.  I let Bridger swim in his undies, and let my little brother half bury Dalton is sand.  Saxon found a million shells and wanted to keep them all.  I said ok.
I love it that they are little.  I find joy watching them enjoy life.  I want to have a big family and teach them to find joy in each other.  I want them to be little as long as they can.  I want our home to be a sanctuary.

I was talking to my husband a few days ago because I was really stressed.  About money.  It's usually about money.  We always seem to fall short and I always worry.  I was telling him that despite the fact that I have a nagging worry in the back of my mind all of the time, I think I will always look back at this time in my life and think that it was my favorite.  Being young parents of young children.  Having time when they are little and they are all mine.  I love it!

And somehow, by writing all of this down, it helps me remember to be grateful, and helps me remember to do better.  :)


  1. I would almost bet the speaker at education week was one of the Eyres. Have you read "teaching your children Joy" or "teaching your children values" from Linda and Richard Eyre? They are AWESOME. The values book has activities for preschool ages up and we use them for FHE lessons. We haven't been very good lately, but we usually pick a value a month and my kids LOVE it. you can get either book at thriftbooks.com for 3.00 each (plus free shipping)

  2. I love this post. Such a great reminder of what is important right now and what's just not. You're such a good mom. Those 3 little boys are so lucky to have you :)

  3. This post brought tears to my eyes for so many reasons. I feel like I have been rushing around so much this past year and that I had kind of lost focus on what is most important. Now, that I am actually taking time to slow down and say no to more commitments I am enjoying my children and life so much more.

  4. What a wonderful post! I love being reminded to let them be little. I always remember someone's blog post where they showed pictures of their sons action figures set up all over the house. On the banister. In the bathtub. etc. She reminded us that life won't always be like that and that we will miss it later. Toys used to bother me, but now I LOVE when I see action figures and little toy fairies all over. Someday I will miss it.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! We have 4 children and want one or two more. Some of my friends here in West Virginia think we are CRAZY! Most of them only have two, and they are done.

  5. Talking to the same above mentioned friend always makes me feel a little sad, and a little embarrassed and a little irresponsible for having and loving and enjoying so many kids. It makes me feel like how could I think about having another, I am already overpopulating Lehi. It makes me feel like I suck because I can't afford every sport team and five hundred dance classes and that I am not doing what is right because I work because I have to, not because I want to, like she does. But every time I talk to you, I feel like I can do it, and why shouldn't I have one more, and how much would I be missing if I only had two? Is being able to afford season tickets to Disneyland more important than being able to bring a soul into this life and loving and hugging the guts out of it? Never. You always remind me of that. You're the best. (Ryan says to quit trying to convince me that 6 is our magic number, 5 is plenty. Ha ha ha) glad you are back. I have missed our chats.

  6. Beautiful post, thanks Cait! I love the quote from Mother Theresa, I think I'd like to put that up in my home to remind me. Blessings on your family xx

  7. Thank you for this. Us mommies have to be reminded that the hustle and bustle shouldn't get in the way of those times when we should be paying more attention to the real reason we are mommies.

    Mommy Sauri~