Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

How busy is too busy?

On Tuesday I wrote my theory on family planning.    But I think there is something else, something that goes beyond how many children you have.  I know parents of only children, and even childless people, who are waaaay busier than me.  WAAAAAYYYYY more stressed.  Heck, I have a friend who just posted on Facebook that she is "too busy to floss".   She has one preteen child.  So clearly number of children is not the only factor in determining one's busy-ness.

I remember before I had children, being terribly busy.  I worked 60 hour weeks, and then I was involved in local politics the rest of the time.  When I had my first child, I thought I would return to work part-time after my maternity leave.  Fortunately, my company's idea of "part time" was 40 hours/week....  so I stayed home.  Over the past 19 years I went back and forth several times between working full-time, part-time, or SAHMing.  I know what busy with kids is, and I know what busy without kids is.  I also know what it feels like to goof off on whatever commitments I have, whether at home or in the workplace.

I have concluded that people make themselves as busy as they are comfortable with, regardless of how many children they have. People can raise many children with a laid-back attitude, or an only child and be busy with work, hobbies, etc up to the gills.

(As an aside: I find it curious indeed that people who think having another child would take time/attention away from my existing children would think nothing of it at all if I chose to take a full-time job. Trust me, a full-time job takes time/attention away from your kids a lot more than a new baby.  With a new baby, you have to multitask, and sometimes the older child has to wait his/her turn.  With a job, you are just not there.  As they get older, the kids occasionally grumble about their siblings being disruptive when they need my attention, but that is made up for by the times they spend together with each other.  As I have matured, I think that making the children wait for each other is actually a benefit in its own right.   The ability to delay gratification is a prime indicator of success in life.  How often do we undermine our children's ability to learn this by jumping at their beck and call?  Siblings provide an automatic mechanism for practicing patience.)

What do you think?

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