Raising Big Kids and Little Kids Together

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I stayed up too late. Again. 

I wasn’t marathoning “Downton Abbey”. I wasn’t studying for finals. 

I was giving

I belong to that unique set of moms that is raising both young kids and teenagers. 

This isn’t exactly my comfort zone. I grew up without siblings.

Toys? All mine. 

Attention? Oh yeah, all mine. 

Money for allowance, music camp, car, college? Didn’t have to share that either. 

So why was I up so late last night? Driving a group of teenagers back from a summer fun activity on the other side of the city. (Big city, to give you an idea). 

This is hard, I thought to myself today for the thousandth time as my brain was trying so hard to formulate clear logic through the fog of another sleep-deprived night.

As I care for these kids that range in age from 3 to 17, I sometimes burn the midnight oil with the older ones, only to wake up at the crack of dawn with the little ones.

I came across a copy of my wedding vows today. One particular one I remember well: I will love the ones you love. 

I found out on our second date that my husband had two kids. In another country. 

After we were married, we began praying about bringing the oldest to live with us. 

A few years later, the paperwork finally cleared to bring my stepdaughter here. 

I found myself at once dealing with a very dependent six month-old baby, a two year-old with developmental concerns, and a fourteen year-old in the country for the first time.

Those of you who are also raising kids of varying ages understand the sacrifices involved and that feeling you get of being pulled in many directions at one time.

But here’s one of the biggest hurdles I have faced along this journey: the feeling of failure. 

I spoke with my pastor about it and told him I wasn’t sure I could provide everything that all of my kids needed. 

His answer: “No, you can’t.” 

That’s a tough pill to swallow for a perfectionist. 

I constantly feel that if I give something to one, I am depriving one of the others. 

But here’s the deal. It’s not my job to be everything to my kids. 

Only Jesus can fulfill all their needs and I must point them towards Him.

It’s not my job to be everything to my kids. Only Jesus can fulfill all their needs and I must point them to Him. Tweet: It's not my job to be everything to my kids. Only Jesus can fulfill all their needs and I must point them to Him. @julievascon #parenting

And a teenager seldom screams as loudly as a baby, toddler, or preschooler to get his/her needs met. 

It means it’s easier for her to fall through the cracks. She is an introspective person anyway. 

Therefore, I know I need to take extra special care to check in with her and create a space that is safe for her to come to us whenever something is bothering her.

In order to honor her, I must sometimes do things that are not easy for me and I must also sometimes take the attention away from the little ones. 

Now about last night. 

I knew we would arrive home close to midnight from our excursion. I knew I would be getting around five hours sleep that night. (I need more.) 

But I knew this was important. I haven’t been able to do everything for her that I have wanted to in the three years she has been with us. 

However, I continue to seek the Lord for wisdom and discernment.

I need His help every day to maintain balance in a home that has kids that are potty-training along with kids that are preparing for adult life. 

No matter how much of a failure I may feel like some of the time, I was in fact chosen for this job. 

God picked me to co-parent this amazing blend of ages and cultures.

God picked you to be your kid’s parent because He knew you were the best choice. Tweet: God picked you to be your kid's parent because He knew you were the best choice. @julievascon #parenting

I must keep this in mind the next time I am burning the midnight oil, knowing I will be up at dawn with KP duty, loving on those little ones and teaching them in the way they should go.

Ephesians 2:10 NIV For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Phil 2:13 NIV for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Image courtesy: Pixabay

 About the author: Julie Vasconcelos blogs at www.momonthefly.com She is a wife and mom to a blended, multi-cultural family raising kids from toddlers to teenagers. She is also a former missionary to Brazil. She is currently working on her 2nd fiction book. You can check out her Facebook page as well. Raising Big Kids and Little Kids TogetherRaising Big Kids and Little Kids Together  

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