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babysitting 6 kids

What Babysitting 6 Kids Taught Me About Parenting


I was once left solely in charge of six kids. Well, it was six kids total, but two of them were my own. So, technically, I wasn’t babysitting them—but dads get to claim that all the time. Therefore, I’m keeping it.

For perspective: the children were aged 8, 7, 6, 6, 3 and under 2. And here are five things I learned while I was tasked with watching all of them.

1. I am, in fact, a helicopter mom.

This was the first thing I learned. Maybe not a full blown helicopter, but definitely a heavy duty construction fan, swirling close by to keep an eye out and keep it all circulating. This became most apparent when some of the kids wanted outside and some wanted to stay inside. It was hard to not be near the kids while they were playing cops and robbers, or inside watching the movie with them. But I was proud of myself because I eventually did allow the older ones out of my sight for a little bit of time. My imagination can really do a number on me, so it was tough. But, it was a necessity and we made it through.

2. I could never cook for a large family.

Guys, they had gotten a pizza for me to throw in the oven. All I had to do was put the pizza in the oven. I think I messed it up. If I had six kids, we wouldn’t have money to eat at restaurants every day and I’m pretty sure that pb and j sandwiches would get old. So, how do people do this adulting thing?

3. I’m probably done with having kids.

I say this one with some sadness. I will be clear here and say that the kids were super good. I couldn’t have asked for them to be better unless they had been shot with a tranquilizer dart. However, I felt like my focus was too divided and I worried about giving everyone the attention they needed. Now would adding one more to our family make that much of a difference? Who knows. But I do know that, like Danny Glover famously says in Lethal Weapons 1-27, I’m getting too old for this sh**.

4. Every kid is so different.

How do you know if you are failing one by trying the same thing you do with the other kid? If you do things too differently are you showing favoritism? How can you make everyone feel special without making jealousy a factor? I really feel like I need to give you big family moms and dads a lot of props.

5. I am so thankful.

Last, but not least, I am happy that I was trusted with other people’s most precious treasures. My youngest kept pointing out that I was going to be the only grown up there, then she kept looking at me as if to size me up. She is my scrappy one, so I was a little worried. I don’t think she expected me to be able to do it. I showed her. Everyone survived and flourished during those eight hours.

Whatever happened after: not my problem.

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