Day: October 19, 2011

Six Kids

This is missing 2 of my siblings. (L to R) me, Sam, Mom, Anna, Dad, Madeline last October
here I am with my siblings Anna, Ben and Meg. In 2005 at Ben's wedding

I know I’ve done many posts about my childhood and family but I don’t think I’ve ever specifically addressed the fact I am from such a large family.  It’s funny because in the Mormon world six kids doesn’t necessarily feel unusual or particularly large (my brother in law is from a family of 10 kids if that tells you anything).

My situation is even more unique because of the age gaps between all the children.  Many people looking at my family might assume we are a blended, Brady bunch style but that is not the case.  My parents couldn’t have kids for a long stretch of time and then after 10 years of waiting started again.  They literally have been raising kids for over 30 years of their lives.  I don’t know many human beings that can say that (and they still have six years to go with minors at home!).

I will be the first to say I don’t think I could do what my parents have done- especially with my mother’s tough pregnancies (full bed rest for the last 3).  I’m not the best at managing stress and balancing emotions (this is partly why I found my mission so difficult).   I also have never felt like I am the greatest with kids (I know it is different for your own but still 30 years of parenting! I don’t think I could do it!).

I think given I’m 30 and not in a relationship, the likelihood of my having six kids anyway is slim to none . I’m actually kind of weird in the Mormon world because I don’t feel a huge need to have children.  I’ll be happy if the opportunity comes but I’m perfectly content loving my nieces to pieces.

That said, if you are thinking of having a large family I will provide you with a list of the pros and cons.

Pros-

Older kids get provided with many leadership opportunities.

For an independent kid like me it was good to be given meaningful responsibilities towards the survival of the family (cooking meals, cleaning, watching children etc)

The more children in a family the more sacrifice each member must make. Sacrifice can be hard but it also bonds family members together in a way no other type of love can.

Harder to feel lonely in a big family.

Always someone to talk to or play with.

As adults it is wonderful to have siblings to bounce ideas off of and share experiences.  Its different than a friend.

It is also nice to see the diversity within a family and neat to see and share common personality traits and interests between siblings.

Gives many opportunities to serve siblings and work together on projects.

It can be a lot of fun!

Food is cheaper by the dozen

Parents get lots of grandkids to spoil at the end

Cons-

Parent time is stretched

Parent money is stretched

Parent patience can be stretched

Sacrifice can be tough on older children

More kids, more opportunities for fights, jealousy, tantrums, anger, rebellion and tempers

Everything will not be fair between siblings (I don’t know if it necessarily should be)

Because of the stretched resources in both time and money children may miss out on some experiences

It may not be possible for parents to be as involved in the minutia of their child’s life as other parents of small families

That’s some of my thoughts.  Whether you are from a large or small family what do you think some of the advantages/disadvantages are?

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USU Meet

I’ve been a bit delayed in posting about the meet on Saturday because I’ve been super busy and they didn’t release the results until today.  This was my second US Masters Meet and it was a good experience.  I really debated whether to attend or not because it required a lot of driving, but I decided that I need to take advantage of every opportunity I can to improve my swimming and test myself physically.  The meets don’t happen very often so you can’t let one slip away.  (I wish they would advertise the meets more.  It would have been so nice to carpool.)

Compared to all of the open water/masters meets I’ve attended previously the USU meet felt very collegiate, young and competitive.  Indeed, when they released my scores I was the only swimmer in my age group (women 30-34).  This means I technically finished first in all my races!  🙂

It really felt more like Utah State’s swim team and 10 of their friends and while I don’t participate in the meets to win, it is more fun when things are a bit more casual.  My friends Josh and Sabrina came and Josh posted good times, but aside from them there was nobody else to really talk with or get to know.

Anyway, it was still a fun experience.  I swam in 4 races the 200 meter freestyle, 50 meter freestyle, 500 meter freestyle and the 50 butterfly.  The latter two were the most difficult.  The 500 was the longest meet race I’ve done (last time was the 400) and it was tough!  It’s funny you wouldn’t think swimming 500 meters would be hard after swimming 1.2 miles but the pace is faster at a meet and the flipturns drain a lot out of me- especially towards the end when I am gasping for air.

However, I am proud to say I finished all my flipturns and made it under my goal time of 13 minutes with a time of 12 min 22 seconds.  This was particularly satisfying as my swim cap kept riding up my head until I ripped it off and threw it on the pool deck.  Thankfully I had my hair in a pony-tail underneath my cap or the situation would have been bad!   Still, I was proud of myself for maintaining my focus and not letting the cap incident rile me.

It was also funny at the end of the 500 I was at least 2 laps behind anyone else in my heat.  It seemed like the whole pool deck started cheering me on.  I felt like the underdog in a sports movie.  Never mind that they were cheering me because I was last- I’ll take what I can get!

Once I finished the 500 I felt spent and wondered if I could get through the 50 fly.  The meet went along at a fast clip and it seemed I was always rushing to make my heat.  (They didn’t have a loud speaker to announce which heat was going when and that would have been very helpful).  I just wondered if I would have time to regroup and get through it.  It had been since high school that I had competed in a butterfly competition and I knew even a 50 meters was going to be tough.

Never wanting to back away from a challenge or give up, I just had to do it.  Into the water I went and I pushed through the pain to complete my 50 fly.  I know I have tons of work to do but I was proud of my 1 minute 9 second time- only 3 seconds slower than I had done in practice.

My other times are 200 m at 4 min 31 seconds (better than my 4 min 57 sec at the last meet) and my 50 free was a personal best at 49.2o seconds- first time under 50 seconds!

If anyone is reading this and is interested in participating in meets look up the US Masters swim team in your area.  I really wish there was some way I could promote or advertise the masters/open water swim programs in my area.  I know there are people like me who would love to participate but simply don’t know about it.  If anyone has any ideas I’d love to hear them.

In the meantime, I will have to promote events from this blog- sending the word out in the best way I can.  My only wish about US Masters is that they had some kind of participation award or medal- like maybe something for a person who participates in all of the seasons meets? I like looking at my medals for the open water swims and wish I had something for the meets.  Plus, it is fun to show them off to friends and family! Oh well!

ah the self portrait.
Finishing a race
Before the 500