Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Free Babysitting

While I was pregnant, I had many people ask* me if I was glad I had teenage children so that they could babysit. I honestly didn't know how to answer, so usually nodded and managed a smirk.

I am so fortunate to have three beautiful, well-behaved, respectful teenagers. They are doing well at school, are all busy with sports and they all have a wonderful bunch of friends. They were only 10 and 11 when our last baby arrived, so while they were able to help out, much of their focus was on Spongebob Squarepants repeats on Nickelodeon.

This time around, my husband and I thought carefully about how to handle the whole baby-and-teenager situation. Most parents go through baby stage then the teen stage. Not us. It's all happening at once over here.

I must admit that we were worried for a while about our teenagers. Would having a baby affect them? Will they still want to bring their friends over? Will they get annoyed at me asking them to use their "inside voices"? Would they get stressed over changing one.more.nappy?


All of my fears turned to tears when our eldest son held the baby ever so gently and said "He's so beautiful!" We knew then that the precious bundle had captured their hearts. My son even turned down a date with his girlfriend to watch the baby sleep!

I have tried to make our life feel as normal as it possibly can be with a five week old baby. We still sit around watching OTH (One Tree Hill for all of the non-fans) while talking about our day after the younger kids have gone to bed. I still make them coffee in the morning just before they wake. I still allow groups of teenagers to 'chill' at my house. In fact, the other night I had four 16 year old boys sleepover. My son says this was very 'awesome' of me. Woo! Bonus Mummy points.

Instead of "Son, go change Ethan's nappy, will ya?" we have tried to say "Did you want to help us feed Ethan?" or "Would you like another hold of the baby?" Chances are, they're already in the nursery or wanting to help out, anyway.

I hope my teens love parenting as much as I love to parent them. They bring such joy and happiness into my life.

*along with "Oooooh. How many days to go?" Hrmph. About ten weeks.


  1. Parenting FTW!!!!!!!!
    Big families are a big blessing, Congrats!

  2. I love how you phrase requests so it's really your teens' idea to help out. Sounds like your children are getting excellent experience in the right way to parent.