My sister is visiting, so that means you all get to do the work today. This is an open thread — ask me (or readers) anything, tell me (or readers) anything, or make a suggestion for a future Your Turn question. If any questions are interesting enough, I’ll follow up with an answers thread later on. Have fun and be nice!
Tina D says
To Lisa F.:
Thanks for your thoughts on Little Saints Preschool! I have just the instruction manual a friend gave me (no pattern packet) and while I love some of the ideas and things that it teaches, it looks like a LOT of work on my part. I was overwhelmed just thinking of the time and the cost of getting together so many art supplies. I too actually already purchased the CHC preschool/kindergarten curriculum — I really liked the kindergarten part but wasn’t too sure about the preschool part. I guess we’ll just go through the year and see what happens! Please e-mail if you want to "support" each other as we go through it! firstname.lastname@example.org
I have to say, Wow!! You sure look like your dad!!!
Tina D and Kim F
I just purchased the CHC PreK-K Curricula, too! I’m getting organized to "officially" homeschool my 4yo and 5yo daughters next week. Feel free to e-mail me, too, to see how it’s going! I’m excited and nervous to get started.
Julie, ADD and Homeschooling – if you are looking for a no-med approach, I have lots of resources. We are successfully treating my oldest for ADHD and a mood disorder without the heavy duty meds (all natural supplements).
The Feingold diet (modified) is a big part of that! It’s a huge topic, but please email me if you want to talk more.
I like "The Myth of the ADD Child" by Thomas Armstrong. He talks about diagnosing process, etc., but the real gold is the second part of the book, which contains 50 different strategies that parents/teachers can try to support and help their child cope and learn. It is a very thorough overview of all of the different strategies and how to tell if it might work for your child.
Homeschooling (another HUGE topic)!
We do what is best for each child. This year, 3 are homeschooled and one is in public school. Last year they were all public schooled, my husband felt that was best. The year before, they went to a Catholic school. We move a lot, so our situation changes.
We move a LOT. Every house is different, and since they are rentals, storage is always an issue! In the last three houses, we’ve been fortunate to find 4 bedroom homes. We ALWAYS dedicate one room to toys/books etc. We have 3 boys in one room, 3 girls sharing a room, and a room for the kid stuff (It is SO worth it to dedicate a space to that!). Our last house we converted the formal dining room into a Montessori preschool/play room.
I finally have a family closet (for 6 weeks now!) and I LOVE it! LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I got wire cube cubbies from Target and the kids’ clothes are in the laundry area. It has helped so much in staying on top of the laundry.
Ok ladies, I am 3 months postpartum with my 5th. Full time breastfeeding and finding it very hard to track my fertility. I have had 2 that were a year apart so I am concerned. Not ready for another one just yet. Help
Question / follow-up to Amy way back at the beginning…and others who want to use NFP to take a break. How do you navigate the period when you’re nursing and have a variable return for months…and months…and….
I haven’t had a cycle since I got married (6years). I’ve gotten pregnant the first time I ovulated and didn’t have a clear indication that was happening (after observing months and months of variable return…) Is this just God’s making His will clear? Anyone else struggled with this?
Some of you seem so uptight wondering what God’s will is for the growth of your family. IT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE THAT. We are supposed to be at peace. If you TRULY believe that children are a gift from God, be totally open to however many God chooses to send you. Then ask for the grace to handle whatever He sends (This is the hard part; you may have to sacrifice beyond what you find comfortable, but that’s what sacrifice is, right?)
Mean what you say, and say what you mean: If children are truly a gift, then they should always be wanted and welcomed. Who in their right mind refuses a gift? ("No, my friend, I don’t want this gift right now, but come back next week and maybe I’ll feel like receiving it." No one says that about a gift.) Children are ALWAYS a gift; they aren’t something to be postponed.
When you are open to life and to emptying yourself through hard work and sacrifice, you will be at peace. None of this "discerning what God’s will is for us this month." Does God speak to you in a booming voice from a cloud or does He just whisper in your ear before you drift off to sleep? None of you are sure if you’ve done God’s will, so you post here in a worried fashion, fearful that you are not following God’s will (and wanting affirmation that "you’re doing the right thing so don’t worry.") The only way you can be sure that you are doing the right thing is to be open to life and not use NFP except for the GRAVEST of reasons (woman has a health problem and childbirth could kill her; husband is out of a job, etc.). God will then let you know His will loud and clear: If you get pregnant, that was His will. If you don’t, that was His will, too. Pretty simple. No guess work or guilty conscience. Peace and a wonderful relationship between husband and wife.
They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Knowledge about reproduction is wonderful, but too many people have used that knowledge to cloud their thinking. Things are supposed to be simple. Just live life, enjoy it, work hard as if everything depends on you, and pray knowing that everything really depends on God, our Creator.
Wishing peace of mind for all.
I agree that tracking your return of fertility while breastfeeding is EXTREMELY difficult. Sometimes you get a clear sign, sometimes you don’t. I still haven’t figured that one out yet. Just got my first period 2 weeks ago (ovulated first) and I’m 11 months postpartum. My others were much earlier though, so who knows.
Thank You so much for sharing about your Dad. This has given me a lot of hope.
God Bless You!
I agree with Anonymous about some of us being too uptight about family planning when we should just leave it up to God. Though I am not perfect and do worry about getting pregnant so soon after a birth or how adding more children to the family may be stressful I do observe so many people that use NFP to the extreme. From what I understand NFP to prevent pregnancy should only be used in grave situations, and I think that the situations should usually be more grave than we realize. The Bible states that our needs are a shelter, food, and clothing. Even those needs should be looked at in the sense that we do not need new clothing but can buy used, we do not need to eat out or eat fancy meals, and we do not need to own a big elaborate home or even own our house. As long as we are meeting our families needs and in good health I see no reason to postpone a pregnancy, though I am sure that there are other valid and good reasons. But I have heard so many reasons (not on here, but just throughout passing conversation) on why a Catholic family was delaying or even "done" with children. Everything from not being able to afford college, to needing a bigger house, to just waiting until they were finacially secure. Some of these reasons will never be resolved and if everyone waited to have children until they were finacially secure than most of us would not be here!!! I do not mean to preach as I am in the same boat as most of you who worry about adding more children but I think that we all need to realize that most of our situations are not grave enough to warrent NOT having more children. By today’s standards most families should only have one or two children but the Bible tells us to be simple, not live for worldly things, and to just meet our basic needs. We truely have to sit down and realize that our basic needs are much more basic than we thought.
To Elizabeth & Anonymous…
This is a subject that is VERY close to my heart b/c I longed for a large family, dreaming of having babies since I was a little girl myself. However, having no medical insurance, a business that is constantly flucuating (like, literally not knowing if there will be grocery $$ on some weeks), suffering from severe post-partum depression after having 2 babies very close together, and also several miscarriages…things changed. Not to mention other medical situations throughout the years that I had babies (w/my youngest being 15 mo old right now) that put a HUGE physical & mental strain on me & my family. What is grave for one may not be grave for another. Everyone’s situation is VERY different as are our personalities and how we handle all things emotional. I must also say that while I do use NFP, we practice it VERY loosely so know that another baby is generally always a possibility. It’s true that children are ALWAYS blessings but w/out $$ for food for the family that we already have, would it be God’s will for us to add another baby into our home? I doubt it very much…He also gave us brains & knowledge to use to discern what is the path for us in this life. Our path, not someone else’s and I think that any talk of NFP is a rough discussion b/c I have been judged MANY times over when I still "only" had 3 kids…by women w/very large families telling me that I was not trusting God…how dare they say that when they have NO clue what our financial situation was/is (we owed many thousands in hospital bills & taxes which is again the case for us right now…we struggle constantly!). It’s really sad b/c they were all so happy for me when I had my 4th baby & most of them said stuff like "Well, it’s about time!" instead of truly embracing the gift that we were given w/our baby girl. Short of selling everything we have & living in a shed, I don’t think we can have anymore children…but God also knows what is best for us so I continue to be loose w/the NFP. Also, my husband is not totally on board w/all of this…he was happy w/only 1 child so it’s a HUGE balancing act (he is not Catholic) for me & very, very stressful. You never know what is really going on in someone else’s house, heart or mind when it comes to having more children…all you can do is pray for people & do what is right for your family w/out judging everyone else. God bless you all!!!
I’m also interested in the homeschooling vs. Catholic school discussion, especially in light of the Vatican documents entitled "The Catholic School"* and "Declaration on Christian Education,"** including the statement that the "Council also reminds Catholic parents of the duty of entrusting their children to Catholic schools wherever and whenever it is possible and of supporting these schools to the best of their ability and of cooperating with them for the education of their children" ("Declaration," no. 8). I read an article recently (I don’t remember the title or author) that argued that homeschooling counts as Catholic education, and certainly if parents think their local Catholic school is so subpar that they can’t in good conscience send their kids there, or if it’s too expensive, etc., then homeschooling is a wonderful option, and one I would also consider if needed. But it is clear from these Church documents that Catholic schools are also a wonderful option, and one that my husband and I are very excited about. Also, I do believe John Paul II attended his local public school growing up.
EJ – go Catholic!!!!! My husband is currently in the process of converting to Catholicism, praise be to God, from Evangelicalism/Fundamentalism. He joined our parish’s RCIA program, and is devouring books on Catholicism, like:
"Catholic for a Reason I" edited by Scott Hahn
"A Biblical Defense of Catholicism" by Dave Armstrong
"Evangelical is Not Enough" by Thomas Howard
"Catholicism and Fundamentalism" by Karl Keating
"What Catholics Really Believe" by Karl Keating
"An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine" by Cardinal John Henry Newman
"Apologia Pro Vita Sua" by Cardinal John Henry Newman
"Catholic and Christian" by Alan Schreck
And many others! If you want more titles, just let me know!
Ozgirl – you don’t need to decide now how many kids to have! I too dislike the "how many kids are you going to have" question, because it implies a predetermined and human-decided stopping point … my favorite answer is "However many God wants us to have!" I’ve always wanted a big family, and I love being mom to our two boys, and I hope to have many more (we just lost our third, early on in pregnancy), but what if next year my husband loses his job? Or some other unforeseen circumstance occurs in the future that prohibits us from having a large family? Obviously, then, a smaller family would be God’s will for us. Also too, my husband, a practicing Protestant until last month (now converting!), has always been nervous about the idea of a big family. I just figured that God would take care of it when He saw fit. Indeed, after having our two boys and finding that he LOVES fatherhood, my husband seems much more open to having several more kids!
To Jen re: how much to pay a babysitter — my sister babysat five kids recently for a wedding — 3 siblings ages 6, 4, and 18mos, and their twin two-year-old cousins; it totaled 12 hours between the rehearsal dinner, wedding, and reception — and they paid her $300.00, which is $5.00 per child per hour. So using that formula, for four kids it would be more like $20.00 an hour. But I do also have to say the families seemed pretty well off, and VERY serious about not being bothered with the kids for a while (the mom told my sister that the dad would most likely be drunk when he arrived home, and they told my sister to give the baby Benedryl if she wouldn’t go to sleep!).
Thanks Danielle for a great post!
* "The Catholic School" found at http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccatheduc/documents/rc_con_ccatheduc_doc_19770319_catholic-school_en.html
** "Declaration on Christian Education" found at http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651028_gravissimum-educationis_en.html
Michelle Reitemeyer says
I think a Your Turn about babysitters would be a good one, as I see some desperate people…or insane people…in the comments.
Last week, my husband and I went for two hours to a mandatory function. We left all five kids (ages 2,4,6,7,9) with a 12 year old girl (whose dad was home next door), and paid her $10. Her mom wanted her to do it for free (as a favor). The week before I had to leave these same 5 kid with a 14 year old girl for about 3 hours, and I gave her $20 (I used $6/hr and then rounded up because I didn’t have the exact amount).
My kids are well behaved. They think having a babysitter is a treat (and often I allow late hours or movie and popcorn, so it really is a treat). If they weren’t good, they wouldn’t "get" to be babysat. The older ones help wiht the little ones. I minimize the tasks that the sitter has to do (I’ll order pizza, have them use paper plates, or, if it’s later, have all the kids in PJs already). I always have my cell phone. There is always a nearby adult they can go to for immediate assistance. And my kids generally amuse themselves. All I need is someone to make sure they don’t burn down the house or take out every single toy they own and redecorate the living room. I can’t see myself paying above minimum wage for someone to sit at my house and watch cartoons with my kids.
I share the same concern as Jennifer regarding postpartum fertility tracking. I am four months postpartum with #3 and breatfeeding.
I just wanted to add something quickly about the people using NFP to spread out their children. I just want you to know that I think you are very blessed. I have been blessed with one child and have never been able to have any more. I always wanted a large family and it has been my biggest heartbreak/cross to not be able to have more. My husband is not open to adoption, so that is not an option for us.
I just want you to know that I consider all of you extremely blessed to have the gift of fertility.
I am the "Anonymous" who posted below about people needing to accept their children lovingly from God and about not being so uptight about deciding family size. Your short note says it so beautifully…fertility is a gift. Those blessed with that gift often don’t see it as a blessing. They want to pick and choose when and how many children they will have. Too often they decide to tell God "no, not now." Later, when they decide that the timing is right, they view their fertility as a right, not a gift. And sometimes God chooses to tell them "No, you are not in control. I wanted to send you several babies earlier in your marriage, but you refused them. Now the answer is no. You rejected the gift when I wanted to send it. You are not in control, and now I choose not to send you this gift."
I am so sorry that you are on the other side of the coin…You who see what a great gift fertility is and have been denied that gift yourself.
I would like a large family but don’t know yet if the good Lord will bless us with many children. However, my mom always tells me that even if I am only blessed with one child, if I do my very best at guiding that soul, I will have lived out my vocation as a mother to the best of my ability. I am sure that your one child is very blessed to have a mother who values children so much. God Bless You.
Great for you that you can get teenage girls to baby sit for minimum wage or less, however I personally feel that when my husband and I go out, we do not eat at McDonalds but we have a nice dinner. Are our children’s needs not as important ? Though my children are now a bit older, I can honestly say that I have never resorted to hiring such young ( I consider under sixteen too young ) children to be in charge of my precious children. Even if there were an adult near by. In the case of a fire by the time that adult was notified it may be too late. Also as far as "minimizing the tasks" I would never had asked a sitter to do anything but watch the kids. No matter how well behaved your kids may be , this is just too much for any young girl. Besides, would you trust this young girl to carry your life’s savings to the bank ? Are our children not more precious? Just another view.
So, if you’re a providentialist or NFP isn’t working and you’ve been going from clothes that are easy to nurse a baby in to maternity clothes, how many years do you wait to give away your full-length dresses? 🙂
Thank you for giving another view on the delicate issue of family size. Though Danielle is wonderful at not letting anyone be rudely judged here for their choices, I have gotten away from a few Catholic Mom blogs for their judgmental views on family size. There are many factors (some of our own will, others not) that contribute to family size. In today’s society good paying jobs are almost non existent, as is good ( if any ) insurance. Please don’t feel pressured by other’s. Sometimes we just have to do what we have to do and God understands.
If I’m reading your post correctly, you only have 1 child. Please then, don’t judge those of us who have had many children extremely close together, who feel as though (through much prayer and scarifice) our unhealthy bodies need a small break and use NFP to avoid for a SHORT time until we feel healthy again. When I only had one, I too couldn’t understand using NFP except for Grave reasons, until I had more and I knew what the meaning of grave was. Perhaps if you have more children, you won’t be so judgemental of those of us who absolutely have responed to God’s gift of life and have had children very very close. Let me tell ya, it’s an incredible strain on your body and mind. One that I too never knew until I had my children. I love them all and I’m extremely greatful to have them, but it’s no piece of cake!
I had to add a comment about the picture of your dad, which is so cute. He was my college philosophy professor, so it cracked me up to see a baby picture of him! And to think that I was nervous about his exams, back 15 years ago…
In an effort to quote my mom accurately, I wrote a very awkward sentence that DOES make it sound like I have only 1 child. I should have used quotation marks around my mom’s words of wisdom!:)
Be that as it may, I have 4 children and 1 miscarriage. My children are stair-steps, all 5 and under. I have been pregnant almost my entire marriage. I am almost 40, so I know that my time of fertility will very possibly run out before we have what we would consider a large family. However, God’s will is God’s will. I say this to let you know that I most definitely DO understand completely the hardships of having a family.
I am responding to your post because I want to make it clear that I am judging no one. I do not question your reasons for postponing pregnancy. It is no one’s business but your husband’s and yours. I wrote my post in a spirit of explaining the teachings of the Catholic faith. "Grave" and "serious" are the words used in the encyclical "Humanae Vitae." Enough said. So many don’t even know that. So many think, "Great, NFP is Catholic birth control." My post was an attempt to let people know that there is peace in letting God take control. Your personal reasons for using NFP are none of my business.
I will say that people tend to become very hot about this issue. And those who start getting bothered and calling others judgmental seem to be the ones who are not at peace with themselves and their decisions. God wants us to be at peace.
God Bless You.
Teresa G says
Hmmmmm, so are you saying that the document Humane Vitae, issued by the holy Roman Catholic Church, which teaches us about the beautiful gift of sexuality, fertility, and fertility control, is just bunk? The pope states clearly in that document that for the good of the spouses, or the good of the children they already have, a couple may in good conscience, for a time, use the natural rhythms of a woman’s cycle to postpone conception for serious reasons. Pardon my paraphrase – but that’s the jist of it. I think the Church leaves the "serious or grave" reasons vague on purpose – so that the couple prayerfully approaches this issue together, with their confessor, and in taking into account their own circumstances.
Truly I think that the women who post here, asking other’s opinions about postponing, are really the ones who are trying to follow God’s will in this area. They’re not looking for excuses or wimping out about having another baby – just seeking other women’s experiences to help them judge their own set of circumstances by.
You said: "No, you are not in control. I wanted to send you several babies earlier in your marriage, but you refused them. Now the answer is no. You rejected the gift when I wanted to send it. You are not in control, and now I choose not to send you this gift." Wow….. that’s not the good God I know. I don’t find Him vengeful or withholding gifts because we misjudged His will previously, or got off track a bit. Actually, I find that He rewards us when once again the scales from our eyes are shed and we once more find the right path. He’s not out to get us; He’s wanting in every step of our lives to draw us closer to Him.
Lastly, it is evident from your post that you either have no children yet or just one child. Please don’t misunderstand me, but I find your tone quite harsh and unkind to those who may have a handful of kids and know themselves well enough to know that they should not conceive again for a bit. Your words: " Peace and a wonderful relationship between husband and wife." Peace and a wonderful relationship between spouses is NOT automatic if you are freely open with your fertility and never use NFP. Just have a pile of kids and you will realize that. It is often quite the opposite. Yes, both spouses realize how blessed they are to have a pile of kids, but both spouses often also feel the huge burden of caring for those kids – which is extreme exhaustion, financial stress, bombardment of the senses constantly for the mother who stays home with the kids, inability to stay on top of the needs (emotional, physical, spiritual) of each child, etc. Those stresses can often lead to the disunity of the spousal relationship, to the lack of time for the husband and wife to grow together, and to a general depressing tone in the home.
This is not what Christ envisions for families! Certainly there are hardships that we all face and tons of sacrificing to be made by all. But JOY should reign in the family, and if husband and wife are too trodden down by the load, they need to take the yoke of Christ, listen to Him, and that may well mean using NFP for a time to get their family life back on track. "Woman has a health problem and childbirth could kill her" might be rare, but "woman has a MENTAL health problem (like very little sleep, no time to think, way too much to physically do in a day, fighting children who she has no time to guide properly, all more difficult if said mom is also home schooling) and may kill children or spouse if she becomes pregnant again" is probably a more common reason amongst us regular moms. 🙂 I don’t expect you to understand this if you don’t have several children yet, but I bet other readers here will.
On a personal note, my 17 years of marriage have for the most part been blessed with "peace and a wonderful relationship between husband and wife", thanks be to God. We currently have nine kids, ages 2-16, are blessed financially and haven’t had to make use of NFP much in our marriage. But there are times when peace is far from our home, and when things are terribly tense between my husband and me. He’s almost 50, and I’m 43, and I’m sure the other "older parents" out there can echo the fact that parenting is more exhausting as you get older. By God’s grace, we are still open to having another child, actually, really hoping and praying to having another child. It took awhile to get to that spot though, and it’s been easier to get to it now that we have some older kids who help out a ton. I have always viewed my fertility as a sacred gift, always. And we have tried to use that gift responsibly, considering each other’s needs, and the needs of the children we already have.
Anonymous, I don’t mean this to be an attack on you at all – I hope it doesn’t read that way. I just think you may want to reconsider your forcefulness in coming against those who use NFP and assuming that they all have poor motives, even if that has been your experience with folks you have met. I have found the women on this website to be of impeccable character and we should try to give them the benefit of the doubt, especially since we don’t know many of them personally.
Humane Vitae is a beautiful encyclical that I have read many, many times. I encourage all to read it frequently throughout your marriage, and allow the Holy Spirit and the teaching of the Church to guide you in use of this beautiful gift.
Let me also add to my post below, that I am envious (in a friendly sort of way!!!) of those of you who have many more years of fertility. What joys await those of you who are able to have a large family! My husband and I both come from large families, and we know how wonderful they can be!!! It is this spirit and sense of urgency that is behind the posts I have written. My husband and I met later in life and so our time to build a family is shorter than most. God’s Will be Done.
Teresa G says
Just want you to know that I must’ve been posting my comment below while you posted yours to Amy. Thus the misunderstanding about the size of your family. But I still hope you read my comments carefully. Thanks!
This is a late piping in (my computer time is way cut down since school began and I just saw this thread) but…
I wanted to take a moment to respond to Joan. I don’t know if you’re still following this thread, Joan, but if you are I just want to (((hug))) you and tell you I have been where you are and have only recently in the last six months seen a turn around in this situation in our life. There is hope! LOVE Never Fails. With God All Things Are Possible.
Everything Ann said to you was right on and so true!
Like you, my dh was a quiet drinker but still it was steadily eroding his self worth, his values even began to blur. I constantly strove to build him up, even when I was so hurt or so upset I couldn’t see straight. I had to remind him of who he really was, had been, and how he was falling away from that because he was losing sight of it all. I knew he adored our kids so I would constantly remind him of his love for them.
I don’t see how to e-mail you but you can e-mail me anytime if you just even want to talk – and NOT receive advice.
I reminded God every day that I KNEW HE loved our family and would preserve us from this pit and He did.
This is my first chance to read this thread. Three month old twins give me very little hands-free time.
First to Amy,
Regarding "serious" reasons to avoid pregnancy. If you check out things by Dr. Greg Popcak, a Catholic Psychotherapist and author who has a blog at exceptionalmarriages.com and a radio show on avemariaradio.net you will find some interesting info. He and his wife talk a lot about being open to life also meaning meeting the needs of the lives you have already brought into this world. One of those needs is a mom who feels like she can do this and do it well. If you are feeling overwhelmed or not ready to be able to give a new child and your current children what they need then that is reason enough to postpone. Of course, if you are practicing nfp and you and your husband are praying about it together and then you have an "accident" then you can be assured of God’s providence and grace to get you through. Prayer, we have found is a very important part of nfp. Last summer, my husband and I had been praying about whether or not to it was time to welcome a new life. We had just decerned that we should make plans to move 800 miles to be closer to family so we were also getting the house ready to put on the market and my husband was looking for a new job. SO, we were praying about a new life and I had a question for my ob/gyn. When I called him, he suggested I come for an appointment and at the appt. he did an ultrasound to determine where I was in my cycle. I have irregular cycles due to past thyroid cancer issues. So, my wonderful pro-life doctor did this ultrasound and determined that I had not one, but two eggs getting ready to mature within 2-6 days. So, I went home and asked my husband if he wanted to try for twins. I cannot think of a clearer answer from God that this. But he also gave us the information we needed to make the decision. We could have chosen to say "no" given all that we had going on, but we chose to say yes and know that God would give us the grace we needed. But, it was all done prayerfully, together. That is the beauty to nfp. God has given us a system within our bodies to be able to make use of it to discern the right course of action for our whole family. I hope this helps you.
To answer your question about the homeschool movement, I think there are several points. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in the section that begins on page 530, about the 4th commandment, talks of parents’ responibility to educate their children in a responsible way and that the parents have the right to choose which method they see fit. Firstly, homeschooling in general is becoming more popular, so that is part of the reason why it is becoming more popular among Catholics. Estimates of the number of homeschooled children in America are in the 2 million range, so naturally a good amount would be Catholic. Homeschooling takes a tremendous amount of effort so it would not be for those who don’t take their responsibilities as parents very seriously. I would say that devout Catholics, in general, would be in the group that take their responibilities seriously. Also, public and private schools in this country have taken a "politically correct" approach which is often contrary to our beliefs. Catholic schools, many, not all, have lost their Catholic identity. And some are simply too expensive now that there are no longer nuns to teach in them. There are many fine Catholic schools and many good public schools out there, I am sure. BUt basically, it is up to the parents to decide what is best for each child. Even within the same family, homeschooling may be best for one child but not another. Here again, prayer and discernment are key. What is God calling a particular family to? I continually re-evaluate what GOd is calling us to as far as schooling goes, but I also see the fruits of my labors up close. My daughters are much closer to each other than they would be if they were in school all day, esp. given the 3 year age difference between each. Our family works together and learns together and we have to learn to love one another all the more because we are ALWAYS together. It is not for everyone, but I am thankful that it is an option and that we have been called to it. Hope this helps.
I am in the exact same situation you are and all I can say is I am planning to lower my expectations for a while and go with the flow, working with what we have and praying that it all turns out. Start out slowly, maybe a few subject at first and add a few more each week. Anyway, I will be praying for you.
Gosh I am getting mixed up with all the anonymous posters.
But to the Anon mom who struggles with medical bills, had post-partum depression and the other financial struggles who has felt judged by the number of children she has and the pressure she feels from some other moms about having more babies. I just wanted to wish you peace and pray for God’s grace in your family life in all ways and at all times.
I too have had the same responses from women. After the birth of my youngest child I was hospitalized, disabled for a year and unable to take care of myself or my family. How sad I was when a Catholic "friend" asked me soon after that if I was really open to life. Exactly what is the litmus test, that you have over 6 children? Clearly the teaching of the Church is not to have has many biological children as you are physically able too or that you can determine if someone is really open to life by the size of their family.
It in interesting how some "holy" individuals feel the need to discern for other couples.
I am very open to life, I cherish my health and each and every day with my kids and husband that I have to actually be able to be physically, mentally and spiritually present to them and recognize them for the gifts from God that they are. How I would love another one!! It would be very irresponsible to intentionally conceive at this time though.
Be at peace and don’t feel that you have to explain or prove your need to post-pone a pregnancy to anyone. God is the one who we need to answer too.
Kim F. says
To Tina D. & Stephanie re: CHC pre-k I would definitely appreciate keeping in touch with both of you about how the homeschooling is going. My email is email@example.com. The only families I know of through church have homeschooled for years and it would be nice to hear from people who are at the same stage as I am.
Regarding the whole rise in popularity of homeschooling among Catholics…our reasons our twofold. As Julie commented below the costs of Catholic school have become too expensive. There is no way we could send all our children without me working outside the home or my husband taking on a second job…I don’t think God is calling us to do either of those. Second, even though we live in an area with fantastic public schools (#1 in the state of NH), I seriously worry about what my children will be exposed to. I know many parents don’t believe in "sheltering" their children but it is our jobs to protect their precious souls. They are only young once and there are many things out there that I don’t feel are appropriate for young, vulnerable minds. I went to public school and I remember what it was like. I feel like if I homeschool they will grow up to love learning and not worry as much about fitting in, or dating, or wearing the latest fashions, etc. All these things seem rampant in public schools. I AM NOT saying that those who send their kids to public schools don’t love their children as much as homeschoolers do…I just think there are some fights I won’t have to fight if I school them at home. And for anyone considering homeschooling I highly recommend Elizabeth Foss’ book Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home. After I read this book I thought "how can we do anything but homeschool our children?"
Now to all those questioning postponing another child: Please don’t beat yourself up about this!!!! If you are using NFP and it is God’s will that you have another then you will become pregnant, no matter where you are in your cycle. But actively trying when you are mentally & physically exhausted or suffering from post-partum depression? I don’t believe that is what the church asks of us. I am due with my fourth in Dec. and will have 4 under the age of 5. We’ve never had to question if we’re ready for another baby…it all just happened. Truth be told, I’ve never been very good at charting. But after this baby is born I think my body & mind need a break (hmmm…I said that after #3 was born). I’m tired all the time and that makes for a very cranky mommy. Four may be all that I can handle. I don’t believe that God would want my children to be raised by a mother who is cranky all the time!
I just have to say that this has been really wonderful. I’ve never been a big fan of posting my comments but I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments/advice. No matter what your reasoning for writing, you will all be in my prayers tonight.
I’d love to hear input from others- either parents of large families or people who grew up in large families- regarding how much older siblings should help with younger children. I have 7 children & am expecting #8 in Dec. I try very hard to not have the older ones do too much because I don’t want them growing up looking back on their childhood feeling resentful. My oldest 2 daughters are 13 & 12 in Oct. & they’re always begging to do things like take the baby for a walk, play outside with her, give a bath… I’m torn between letting them do things to help out like I believe children in all size families should & going to the other extreme so they won’t be overburdened. I have to admit part of my concern stems from the opinion of others. I’m sensitive to the fact that many are critical of large families for that reason. 2 sisters repeatedly tell me I have built in babysitters, all the help I need,etc & this bothers me.
How does everyone else handle this situation?
I was the oldest daughter in a large family (8) and was 12 when my youngest sibling was born. I did do a lot of babysitting as a teenager and I did it because I liked to do it. I wasn’t terribly interested in sports and other than hanging out with friends, I didn’t have too many other hobbies. My parents always paid us if we (my next in line sister & brother) babysat in the evening, and because of all my baby experience, I was in high demand in the neighborhood. So, my advise would be, if your daughters enjoy it, let them do it. By allowing them to hone their skills with young children, you are preparing them for their early motherhood years. My mother never forced us to mind our younger siblings, but she did recognize that sometimes we just "had" to do it, and other times, we could just be regular teenagers and hang out with our friends.
I was the oldest of 5, but we had big gaps, so there is 10 years between me and my 3rd sister, 13 years between me and sister 4, and 20 years between me and sister 5. Like Jennifer, I ws in high demand as a babysitter because of my experience with young children at home. If my parents used me to babysit in the evening so they could go on a date, they paid me the going rate. If I babysat for an hour or two while my mom was grocery shopping, however, I did not get paid, and my sitting was considered part of my chores, one of the ways I contributed to the family. When I got my license, I had use of a car, but with the understanding that I also had responsibilities to the family such as running errands, grocery shopping, carpooling with my sister, etc. All of this experience not only helped me form close relationships with my family, but helped prepare me for life outside my family. I think if you avoid having your older children involved with the younger ones, you run the risk of their not really knowing each other because by the time the younger are old enough not to need babysitting, supervision, etc, your older children will be out of the house. I never saw it as a burden to help out with my younger sisters. I much preferred it to, say, mopping the floor, though I did have to do that every 3rd Saturday as well. I loved that my family was very involved and supportive of one another and that we actually liked spending time together. While I literally had to turn in homework that my sisters colored on and lost my favorite watch down the toilet when I was 14, taking them for walks, playing barbies, and snuggling up to watch disney movies with them on the couch provided for very fond memories, not feelings of resentment. I was reminded of this, too, when my youngest sister (now 10) BEGGED to give my boys their baths, change their diapers, push the stroller, etc. Don’t deprive your children of forming a bond that comes from one watching out for, taking care of, and nurturing the other. That’s not taking advantage of them to let them use their talents to contribute to the family.
Dani & Jenifer,
Thank you both for your reassuring words. It’s nice to get a perspective from someone who was actually in this position. I feel so much better about letting them do what comes naturally. I’ll try to keep a balance between them being kids and letting them have fun "playing mommy", which is what I think they’re doing. My oldest loves taking the 3 year old up to her room & reading to her, doing crafts… The 11 y.o. loves holding the baby & I’m always trying to stop them!?! 🙂 I guess if they’re begging to do it, they can’t be resenting it. I suppose if they are doing things to help in place of other chores it would be the same as a family w/2 kids doing household chores to contribute to the household. Thanks again for your thoughts- Julie
Most have probably moved on, but If any ( like myself ) are still lurking around, my seventeen year old daughter could use some advice. She is in her second year of Medical Occupations training at Vocational school and is working with her instructor on securing a job that she will work at and be graded on during the school year. Her first choice of jobs in this field was to work in a Veterinarian’s office, since she has such a deep rooted love for animals. Though we all thought that our local animal clinic was going to employ her, they ended up backing out of the program due to internal reorganization. ( downsizing ) At this point my Dear daughter and her instructor sent resumes all over. The dilemma is that she now has two job offers . One is at a local nursing home making $9.35 an hour . The other is at an other veterinarian’s office but only pays minimum wage. DD does not really need the money right now as her Dad and I pay all of her expenses. However once she starts making money of her own she will be expected to help pay for some of her own things ( clothes, Gas for her car, etc) My husband feels that she should go with the nursing home not only for the money but because she plans to attend nursing school and this would be related experience. She is leaning toward the Veterinary position, and I am torn. Should she go for the money or the job that she would enjoy more? Is she too young to worry about money ? Please help !
Go with the vet. Simply because if you love a job then you will be a better worker. And if your a better worker – promotion is just around the corner. But if she takes the nursing home, she may really dislike it and end up quiting.