Feb 8, 2010

Parenting Skills Put to the Test

By Stacy Johnson

I don’t know what it is about having a large family that makes acquaintances and total strangers say things like, “Wow, with a family that big, you ought to write a book about parenting.” I know those of you with large families can relate. It’s as if the mere fact that I have a lot of children makes me some sort of expert.  I have a hard time thinking that I know enough about parenting to share it with the world.  I do think I have pretty much the best kids around.  For sure they are not perfect, but they are perfect for me. They have this awesome ability to use sarcasm correctly (not that that is always good), they are athletic (they get that from me), they are smart (they get that from their dad), and they are oober talented. I’m bragging a little, but it’s my post, so indulge me.

There is one thing that sometimes frustrates me though; they don’t do their chores very well. I am constantly annoyed by the rolling of eyes, the verbal responses to my gentle (and sometimes not so gentle reminders) to do their chores, and their occasional blatant disregard for the care of our home. Maybe I expect too much; I truly wonder sometimes if I’ve taught my children the importance of a clean home and how to actually clean it. I’ll be the first to admit that I never kept my room clean when I was a teenager, nor did I enjoy doing my chores. I enjoyed a beautifully clean house because my mom was very good at doing just that. But, I never saw her clean, really. I just remember thinking I did all the chores while my mom laid on the couch and slept. But, the mere fact that our house was always clean when I got home from school, tells me that my mom worked hard while we were away. Having said that, I at least can understand where they are coming from. I know I frustrated my mom to the nth degree and now this is what she calls “payback.”

Yesterday, I was put to the ultimate test. We had family in town for the blessing of our sweet little Baby Derek. We had planned a lovely picnic in the park after church for everyone to enjoy being together and letting the children play (without destroying my house that was already being neglected by me so I could spend time with family). My sweet husband reassured me that it would not rain just before he went to bed on Saturday night. I, of course, stayed up late doing homework and tending to the baby who fusses from 8pm to midnight every night while the rest of the family slept. I heard no sound of rain over the crying of the baby. I woke up again at 4am to feed the baby and heard nothing. When my husband’s alarm went off at 6am, he gently snuggled up next to me and said, “Do you hear the rain?”

“ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?! Church is in two hours!”

He held me close and reassured me that it would be all right. I only prayed it would be so. With that, I threw on my clothes from last night and went to the kitchen to try to bring my neglected home back from the edge of Hades. I mean, it was really bad. We didn’t worry about it too much since I knew we would be at the park with about 40 of our closest family and friends. Ben went to wake up the troops (I didn’t want to hear the whining as I was going on only about 5 hours of sleep and was already cranky.)

And you know what happened?

They each took their assignment to heart and pulled our house together in no time. The dishes were loaded, the floor mopped, the playroom organized, the guest bathroom shined. Tables were put up in every nook and cranny, along with chairs and tablecloths.

In addition,

Nobody complained, and we even got to church early enough to sit on the row reserved for the Johnson family (cause that is what you get when you have a large family).

I guess I’m not doing such a bad job after all.
It was like a pat on the back from my Heavenly Father, so I made sure I thanked Him.


  1. It's always so lovely to feel that pat on the back from Father. Thanks for the insights!

  2. I've noticed kids are usually pretty cooperative when they sense that mom's about to go over the edge.

  3. I love it! Kids really can tell when there is a real need. I had a ten year old ask me once, "Are you asking me to do [that] because it really needs to be done or because it makes you look like you are being a good parent?" Sheesh!


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