Ramblings from us as we strive to live a holy life in the world, not of the world.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Large family...impossible to be a good parent?

I've noticed over the past few years that ESPN has really towed the line as far as being politically correct. Many of their reporters have espoused those thoughts and those who haven't have felt the wrath of the powers that be at ESPN and lost their jobs, like Craig James or Chris Broussard. However when comments or portrayals don't fall under politically correct, like many other news media outlets, ESPN gets a free pass. 

The most recent outrage, although not from the main-stream media, but just in conservative circles is Sam Alipour's ESPN The Magazine's recent interview with San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers. Rivers is asked about comments that people make about him being a whiner. This was the exchange:

Six kids? Regardless of your profession, it's impossible to be a good parent to six kids. Not enough hours in the day.-- From TheBigLead.com comments
It's a two-year rotation: Once the diapers come off of one, we usually have a newborn. And we have another one on the way, due in October. I help when I can, but my wife, Tiffany, is the key. My big, growing family keeps everything balanced and grounded. My oldest is 11 now, and the kids are getting into football. They're Daddy's biggest fans, and they don't get on you as bad as most fans. If you throw an interception, they still love you.
Kudo's to Rivers who handled the comment diplomatically, but what does that comment have to do with his playing style or his on-field behavior? Why bring it up at all? Because six kids is obviously out of the norm and not covered by the doctrine of politically correct thought. The comment was obviously made by someone who doesn't have a clue about large families. Granted, our family likes Rivers and not just because he plays for San Diego, where my sister lives and we LOVE to visit. But because he is a man of faith who tries to keep his life in perspective. He is a leader on and off the field who hunts out the oldest church in the city when he's on the road so that he can attend Mass before the game. He's also dedicated much of his free time to charitable causes.

But back to the comment...Impossible to be a good parent to six kids?! No it's not easy, there is always a child who needs something. But as a mother of six, I can say that my children are hardly ever bored and there is rarely a time when a child feels unloved. Maybe parents of large families don't have the time to adhere to society's ideal of being a perfect parent. But considering our society's ideal, I'd say that's a good thing. No, my children are not involved in an exhaustive number of extra curricular activities. No, we don't let them attend every birthday party they are invited to (Since when has it become appropriate to have TWO class birthday parties for a six year old? No joke). No, we don't go crazy with play dates and outings and we don't agonize if we don't have a jam-packed fun-filled weekend scheduled for our precious babies.

So what we do have? Love, and lots of it. When my two college-aged children come home after a rough day they usually run right over to the baby or the five year old and scoop them up for a hug. When I am in the middle of fixing dinner and the seven year old wants something, he finds a sibling. When I'm nursing the baby and one of the children gets a boo boo, my high schooler is there to make it feel all better. Oh, and we have the squabbles too, but that helps our children learn to get along with others. We are a family that loves each other, comforts each other, and is there for each other. That doesn't mean that I pawn off my parenting duties to my children, it just means that there are more intimate connections for my children to make. That's what society doesn't get, because we don't conform to their ideals, they think that large families are anything but ideal and therefore open to bashing.

I'm not suggesting that small families are in any way less than a large family because they are small. I only need reminded of the Holy Family to humble my opinion. But a little understanding here would be nice.

We still try to give our children memorable experiences, but it isn't the focus of our existence. I would be willing to bet money (if I believed in gambling, ha ha) that my children would much rather spend evenings playing board games with each other, talking to their siblings, and having Mom snuggle with them then going to pee wee football practice every night or having dinner at McDonald's. I know that there are some sacrifices with large families. There are times that I haven't been able to give my children some of the things that they've wanted, either materially or time-wise. But, I believe in the long-term they will see the love that exist between my husband and me and the fruit of that love which is our children, recognize the sacrifice, and relate it to the love that God has for all of us.