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Country living best for kids and moms alike

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I have always been of the mind that children are best raised on the rolling hills of the countryside, singing and dancing their way to the barn each morning, happily milking cows and tending to their daily chores, with only their siblings for companionship.  

My three adult children grew up in this manner. Except the rolling hills were two-and-a-half acres on a slight incline surrounded on every side by corn fields. And the barn was a converted one-car garage.  And the cows were actually two miniature goats and one sheep named Larry.  

I was always afraid that if we had neighbors, my kids would be unduly influenced, or worse yet, bullied.  Back in those days, a lot of my parenting was done out of fear. Like a hawk, I watched over my children and their occasional playmates, making sure they were not introduced to unseemly behavior.  

All in all, it turned out ok. The three older ones look back on their childhood fondly, and, on most days, are very close to each other. But I still have an 8- and a 9-year-old, and after 23 years of country parenting, I’m raising this batch in town. 

At first, I was slightly leery of letting kids into the house. I didn’t really get how this whole town thing worked. I would pepper small innocent children with questions, “What’s your name? Where do you live? Who are your parents? Do they know you’re here? What time are they expecting you home? Are you allowed to have a snack?” 

But here we are, just a few months later, in the first week of summer vacation, and I barely even notice the extra feet running from one end of the house to the other. I came home from grocery shopping the other day and found four random little boys hanging out in the kitchen. Two I had never before seen. They dug through the grocery bags to find snacks and took off on their bikes with my 8-year-old. 

Yesterday, I thought I was home alone, so I was surprised to stumble upon someone playing in my son’s room.  

I asked, “Where’s Hudson?”

“He’s playing at my house.” 

I get it. I’ve had some friendships that work better that way, too. 

When moving into town, I didn’t expect to take so much pleasure in watching my kids ride bikes up and down the street with their friends. I didn’t know how much it would mean to have lots of children running through the yard, their laughter ringing through my kitchen windows. I didn’t know I would look at each face and wonder what they would grow up to be, and hope that by some miracle they stay friends with my children forever and ever.  

Before this summer, I didn’t have a sixth child named Olivia. Now, I don’t know how we ever lived without her. She and my daughter run back and forth between each other’s houses all day long. And I’m good with it. They make me laugh, whether eating racks of ribs or discussing big ideas and plans for the future.

The nice thing about parenting five children is that eventually your fears subside, and you just let your offspring enjoy life. I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to raise children in town and in the country, but I’m going have to say, thanks to the neighborhood kids, town is my favorite. 

 

 

 

Ginger Lumpkin is an author, speaker, and mother of five.  Follow her on Twitter (@GingerTruitt), find her on the web: www.gingertruitt.com or contact ginger@gingertruitt.com.