How I Parent
Most days, I wake up between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m. to write while my kids are still sleeping. In the afternoon, I record podcasts and answer emails after our school day is done. I have no nanny, but my college-aged son is teaching his teenage sisters math and science. When I travel for speaking engagements, we often take the whole family in our 12-passenger van…
As a working mom of 10, there are days I literally have to stop helping with a math page to run into my room to take a radio interview by a national media outlet. I’ve been on video calls when my youngest child has run through my bedroom to use my bathroom. I don’t stress too much about it because if I did, I’d never get anything done. I trust that the people I work with understand that this is a real family filled with busy, noisy kids. Also, since I try to write before my family wakes up, I’ve developed two important skills: focusing and writing fast. Those two skills have helped me get more done in a few hours than most people get done in a day.
Parenting “philosophy” in a sentence:
If I want my kids to follow their dreams and live life with confidence and gratitude, I need to model what that looks like in everyday life.
What’s your favorite thing about parenting?
To be honest, road trips and board games! I love opening up the world to these kids. One highlight was seeing our four teenage daughters burst into tears when they got out of our van and saw Mount Rushmore. They were in foster care for eight years and didn’t think they’d get a family, let alone be able to travel like that.
What’s the hardest thing about parenting?
There are many things that make having a big family challenging — the cooking, messes, and all the activities — but the hardest part was dealing with the grumbling. Life would be so much easier if no one complained. John and I suggested a “grumble-free” challenge to our kids and promised a family cruise if we worked on learning to be grateful without grumbling.
We had many failures, but many successes, too. I realized that our efforts were paying off after standing 10 hours in a line at Build-a-Bear, only to have the people right in front of us receive the last stuffed bears! We were able to turn our disappointment into humor. We learned that grumbling is really a lack-of-gratitude issue, and every day we work at trying to be more grateful. I’ve also been able to take this experience and write about it in my new book, The Grumble Free Year.
What’s the best advice you can share with new parents?
Live the type of life that you want your kids to duplicate. You can tell them how to act, and you might have some success with that, but showing them will go much further.
What would you want your kids to say about you as a parent?
As a former teen mom who has now written over 70 books, I would want my kids to say, “If mom can do it, I can do it too.”
To read more, including more details about adoption, our daily life, and more click here: How I Parent.
Would you like to know more about how I parent? What questions do you have?