Thursday, April 25, 2013


I'm working on a project at work that looks at decision making and how a certain federal agency measures "fuzzy" concepts and how that effects its ability to prioritize resources in a budget reduced environment.  We're looking at other disciplines (psychology, sociology, conflict resolution and peace building) to see if any measurement methods could be applied.  I was thinking about work this morning as I drove in and it got me thinking about how I make decisions during to day.

It is a constant struggle of prioritization.

Some decisions are easy.  Feeding the kids or scrolling through facebook.  Obviously the minions must be fed.  Go to my own soccer game or watch D play baseball.  D is going to rank on top every time.

Some are a lot trickier.  Read to L or listen to E vent about her day.  Fold laundry or watch A skate.  Sleep or spend quality time with K.  Get some work done or do dishes or help M with homework or do all of the million logistics things that come with parenting (make appointments, talk to therapists, fill out forms, make lunches, etc. etc. etc.).

Among the five kids, some of them tend to get prioritized higher.  The girls and D usually win out because they are the loudest and most demanding with their needs. A is a pretty quiet kid and doesn't complain too much (especially if he is being fed---see decision number one above).  He regularly puts others' needs ahead of himself.  L, being the youngest, is also a pretty "go with the flow" kind of guy.  He is easily distracted by his DS or legos or drawing pad so I can deal with the more pressing need.  Actually, as I was writing this, it dawned on me that A and L usually gravitate to each other during the day, cosed up next to each other playing angry birds or skateboarding together.

My therapist and I have talked a lot about shifting the dynamic in our family and trying to even things out.  I remember writing a while back about thinking of each of the kids as banks and trying to make a deposit each day.  When I really look at it, however, I certainly spend a significant amount of time making deposits with the girls.  As individuals they are so demanding and, M in particular, needs so much support and help.  I know this makes sense.  They both have issues with attachment and feeling secure in our family and in my love. 

I'm not sure, though, about the long term impact this will have on both the girls and the boys (especially my two chill guys).  I worry about this.  I worry about making the right decisions and whether I'm using all the tools (methods) I have to make sure all their needs are met.  There is only one of me and just like the problem we're addressing at work, there is only some much to go around.


  1. I think every parent worries about this. Yours is just an extreme version with complicated variables tossed in to distract you. I think you play it by ear, every day, and you won't always get it right, and you just chalk it up to being human and try again the next day. I confessed to someone yesterday that I was feeling bad that my daughter was struggling with a project at the last minute that I couldn't help her with while I was out of town. My friend looked at me like I was insane and said, "Wow, that mother guilt runs deep." She's right that I had nothing to feel guilty about, but when everything isn't all wonderful with family and home it feels like failure sometimes. You sound like your priorities are, if anything, not skewed enough toward helping yourself.

    Being a mom is not for the weak, is it?

  2. I think Korinthia nailed it. Being a mom is not for the faint of heart, and all the rest of it. It's tough, and I think I'm failing more often than I'm successful. I wince when I think back on things I did with/to Hannah. I cringe. And, I repeat them with Lil and Bean. UGH!

    I was thinking of you as Bean and I cruised around CW today. I took over 120 photos and am posting them in batches over the next few days. :o)

  3. Ive been thinking of this exact thing a lot lately. My six year old is very independent, and is able to understand when i say "not right now", "next time", or "maybe later". My two year old however, needs constant attention, and more constant affection. He doesn't ask though. He just takes (kisses, hugs, snuggles etc.) Its not very easy for him to understand that mom is busy.

    I worry that my oldest feels jipped, left out, or just plain neglected. I know he feels a bit jealous at times. Ive gotten better at delegating to my mom and husband, but it still weighs heavy. Ive been attempting to spend a little more private time with the oldest, which usually his baseball games, abd on the way home.

    I think if you do your best to be sure each kid knows you love them with every last part of you, theyl be just fine. And i think the less needy ones dont notice as. much as we think. Remember, your not the first working mother of five, and you wont be the last. (My dad had four girls and a boy. As the oldest and least needy, i may have felt a little over worked, but never under loved)

    You might try delegating some responsibility of the littles, to the girls? Baby steps of course. Idk, i feel like it might help them if they know you trust them, to help you. Just a thought

  4. I just copied the following into my quote book - it actually comforts me to remind myself that for as overwhelmed as I feel, I'm not alone.

    "In the face of all that life can throw at you there are times when blatant mental imbalance is the sanest, healthiest most healing response.

    We are all embedded in enormous systems, familial, social and planetary, which are also cycling, swinging wildly, falling in and out and passing through imbalance, equilibrium and back again. Living and breathing balance requires and contains imbalance within it.

    We will all lose our footing.

    No one is impervious. We will all drop the ball."

    -- Martha Crawford, What a Shrink Thinks

    1. Wow, thanks so much for that. Definitely needed today.