Frank Bruni has a piece in the Sunday Times about siblings. Joseph shared it with me last night & it got me thinking.
About how it’s not fair (& I don’t understand why) that some women, despite the intense desire & longing to bear children, cannot. And because of this, they either go through costly fertility treatments that may or may not work or go through the lengthy & emotionally (also costly) process of adoption.
About how my life has been shaped in an amazing & beautiful way by being the 6th of 7 children.
About how some days I pinch myself because I watch my children interact & play with each other, & I can’t believe I got so lucky. To have effortless conceptions & fairly painless pregnancies (notwithstanding the queasy 4 months of pregnancy nausea). To have 4, four children, who are lively, creative, & each so different in demeanor & personality.
An economist, Bryan Caplan, wrote the book, Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent is Less Work & More Fun Than You Think.
It’s been on my “to-read” list for awhile, based on the title alone. I think the guy has figured out what many of us with larger families have, which is: it’s much easier to have more kids than less. It’ll cost you more, & the initial investment in time & energy of those additional pregnancies is a whole lotta work, but after all that, it is easier & better in many ways.
My friend Deja, a new mom with a 7 month old, recently opened up about the struggles of staying at home. As I read about what she was going through, I remembered how hard it was to only have one.
As weird as it sounds, it’s much easier to have 4 kids than 1 or 2, at least in my experience.
Yes, the initial grunt work of taking care of babies is daunting, but once they get bigger (say 2, & older), they begin entertaining themselves with each other, playing & interacting with each other, in a way that I could not.
I couldn’t imagine what I’d do if Hyrum didn’t have Asher & if Amalia didn’t have Salem.
When people find out that I have 4 kids, their eyes often get wide.
“You must be busy,” they say.
“You must be exhausted,” they say.
“Oh you know,” I say, & smile.
What I don’t tell them, is this simple mathematical equation:
more kids=more siblings to play with=less work for me!
There is more laundry, there are more dishes. But there are also more hands pitch in. I’m not running a maid service, so yes there’s more work, but there’s also more help.
It does cost a bit more money to clothe & feed 4 children as opposed to 1 or 2. So money is a valid concern. Though it’s nothing that can’t be helped by a little frugal living.
One of the most underrated perks of having more kids, is I don’t feel guilt about not putting my kids in summer camps or not doing enough play dates. Between the 4 of them, they get plenty of social interaction.
They create these elaborate games, make crafts, spend hours building spaceships with legos (the boys) or playing dolls/barbies (the girls), build forts, & read to each other. So for the most part, I don’t have to worry about trying to entertain my children, because they do that effortlessly amongst themselves.
It’s a beautiful thing.
What do you think of Bruni’s piece–are siblings better than friends?
How’ve your siblings shaped you?